Friday, April 4, 2008

Friday's Spring Break Adventure

True Confession Time:

I have lived in this area for 16 years and have NEVER been inside the "Fort"
(as the locals call it)

I have been to the Fort grounds for the fireworks,
(for my blog reader who are out of town, Vancouver is home to "the biggest fourth of July fireworks show west of the Mississippi")

and other occasions, but never inside the walls of "the fort".

I learned a little local history today:

I had always envisioned that the fort was built as a protection against the Native Americans when this area was settled. However, the "Fort" was actually the settlement camp and Northwest headquarters for the Hudson's Bay Company.
It was a fur trading post.

The HBC flag is still flown over the Fort

The Fort did not have any operating cannons until after the day when a British ship passed by and offered a 7 gun salute and the fur traders were unable to fire back. This embarassed the Fur traders and so they installed a Bastion (below) and cannons, which were only fired for celebratory reasons (such as the Queens birthday!)

None of the buildings or walls are original. The Hudson's Bay company abandoned the Fort when the fur trades declined. The army moved in and burned all the original buildings in the 1860's because they were useless to them. The existing Fort is a replica. The rebuilding began in the 1960's. Archaeologists have found many artifacts on the grounds, including an 8 foot section of the original fort walls.
There is your FREE history lesson for the day.

The Fort was not our original destination. We were headed to the Pearson Air Museum and just happened to drive by the Fort, since it was not raining at the time I decided to stop. I am glad I did. The boys and I had a great time. There was a blacksmith there demonstrating the making of the traps and tools, and in one of the buildings there was a bunch of animal furs hanging to dry and a Park Ranger there to answer questions and allow the boys to feel the pelts. Their favorite thing to see though was the replica cannons and the piles of cannon balls.

I was a little disappointed to learn that my idea of the purpose for the Fort was all wrong, but it was very fun learning about the history of this area and we will be heading back down to the Fort this summer when they are having an "old tyme" baseball game!

We did head over the the Pearson Air Museum after the Fort. We got there just about 45 minutes before closing. It was "First Friday", with an art exhibit of one mans collection of WW I & II plane prints. Because it was "First Friday" the admission was free! The boys were not that excited by the old planes, but there was a couple of hands on activities for them to do. The 45 minutes was a perfect amount of time for us there.

We had another FUN afternoon!

Ben even said, "it's like we are tourists in our own hometown."

Stay Tuned for Saturday's Adventure!

Little Hint: It includes a certain fast food restaurant, that is exactly 30 miles from my house!

1 comment:

Debbie said...

First...I love this song by Rascal Flatts. Second, we literally live on opposite ends of the US from each other. Third, I have lived in the DC area for 30 years and I can honestly tell you there are LOTS of places I haven't been because the tourists take over when I want to go there ;) And lastly, hope you had fun at Sonic!