Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
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News Releases
New self-guided tour of Vancouver Barracks introduces visitors to local military history - 06/12/24

VANCOUVER, Wash. — Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park System, has debuted a new self-guided tour of Vancouver Barracks, the first US Army post established in the Pacific Northwest. The tour can be accessed through the NPS App, downloadable on the Apple Store or Google Play. 

Vancouver Barracks was established by the US Army in 1849. In the following decades, it served as a center of the Army’s operations in the Pacific Northwest, and of the local community in the City of Vancouver. This self-guided tour leads visitors along the post’s Officers’ Row and around the Parade Ground, where they will discover stories spanning from the earliest days of the post through World War I.  

“The history of Vancouver Barracks is nationally, regionally, and locally significant,” said Fort Vancouver NHS Curator Meagan Huff. “Understanding the history of this place is so important to understanding our community’s past and the role Vancouver has played in Northwest history. The self-guided format of this tour allows visitors to take the time to absorb these impactful stories.” 

The tour highlights iconic landmarks like the Vancouver Barracks flagstaff, bandstand, and barracks buildings, as well as the stories of people who lived and worked here. Among these, visitors will learn about Irish laundresses like Hannah Hartney, Chinese cook Mick Lai, and the Buffalo Soldiers who served at Vancouver Barracks at the turn of the last century. 

The tour was developed over the course of several months by American Conservation Experience Intern Marie Hashimoto, working with National Park Service staff. “Vancouver Barracks has such a rich, diverse history,” she said. “Throughout my research process, I was constantly uncovering new layers and new perspectives, and I’m excited to be able to share some of those stories in this tour.” 

“Recognizing our annual visitation of one million visitors, we are looking for a full range of opportunities to connect with them,” noted Fort Vancouver NHS Superintendent Tracy Fortmann. “This self-guided tour is user friendly and allows visitors to learn about this historic military post on their own schedule.”  

The NPS App launched in April 2021 and gives the public up-to-date information about every national park from one easy-to-use app. The NPS App helps visitors learn about trails, visitor centers, directions, fees and passes, weather alerts, passport stamp locations, and more. Self-guided tours help visitors learn more about park history. Search “National Park Service” in the iOS App Store and Google Play Store, or go to The NPS App - Digital (U.S. National Park Service to download the app. 

Park Rangers and BSA Scouts raising garrison flag
Park Rangers and BSA Scouts raising garrison flag
2024 Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony (Photo) - 05/17/24

Vancouver, WA - The Community Military Appreciation Committee (CMAC) will present Vancouver's Memorial Day Observance Monday, May 27, 2024, at 11 am. This annual ceremony at the Bandstand on the Vancouver Barracks Parade Ground honors men and women who have lost their lives in service of our country. Visitors may view the garrison flag raising, Mountain Howitzer cannon firing, and a wreath laying ceremony in honor of fallen heroes. Vancouver’s Memorial Day Observance is free of charge.

CMAC organizes this annual event with the support of its partners: the City of Vancouver, National Park Service (NPS), Clark County, Waste Connections, Northwest Natural Gas, and 40 et 8. For over 170 years, the Vancouver Barracks has been a center for military community. The Vancouver Barracks is now preserved by the National Park Service at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. NPS Facility Manager Alex Patterson shared, "Events like Memorial Day showcase the modern relevance of this historic site, and the enduring connection between the military post and this community."

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Superintendent Tracy Fortmann said, “the Vancouver Barracks and the Service Members that called this place home, represent a crucial component of this Park’s history. The Vancouver Barracks is much more than just a collection of buildings; they are a visible reminder of our shared 19th and 20th century military history.” Superintendent Fortmann added, “The National Park Service preserves and shares our nation’s history, including the service of the many soldiers and their families.”

Retired Army Colonel Larry J. Smith will be the Master of Ceremonies. Speakers at the event will include Superintendent Tracy Fortmann, Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle, with a keynote by wounded combat veteran, Staff Sergeant John Kaiser. There will be special remarks by U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel John Toll, Professor of Military Science at the University of Portland ROTC.  Everleigh Paul, from Liberty Middle School, will sing the National Anthem. Bagpiper, John Goff will play Amazing Grace. There will be a dove release and color guards, as well as military medleys played by the 204th Army Band.

Complimentary light lunch items will be available to the public, courtesy of the Vancouver Lions, Red Cross Cascades Region, and the Military Officers Association of America.-

Parking is available at Hudson's Bay High School and the National Park Service South Lot (located on 5th Street), where attendees may ride the dedicated C-Tran shuttle to and from the Bandstand. 

CMAC is an all-inclusive group composed of members representing youth, education, civic, military, veterans’ groups, and local governments. CMAC executes and plans community-wide events, such as Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Our Community Salutes, and POW/MIA Day ceremonies, as well as recognition and support of military families of all services. Learn more about CMAC at www.cmac11.com.

Event Details:

Title: Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony

Location: Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Bandstand located on the North parade field.

Date: May 27, 2024

Time: 11:00am