We didn’t really know what we wanted to do on Saturday other than have a Family Day. So we got in the car and hubby started driving. We ended up in Fort Vancouver. Neither hubby nor I had been there in years, so it was a fun experience for all of us.
The day we were there was a great day to have gone; almost all of the attractions were open and staffed by volunteers in period clothing from the 1840s.
The kids loved seeing real (though no longer functional) cannons. We studied the Revolutionary War earlier this school year and are studying the Civil War now – plus they’re boys – so cannons are fascinating to them.
Both Seahawk and Munchkin reminded me as I was taking their pictures, “Don’t ever do this!”
Munchkin was fascinated by the old-fashioned wheelbarrow.
At one point in history, John McLoughlin lived at the fort. His house has been recreated for people to look at. The dishes behind the rope (so the ones in the photograph) are the real ones from the time; the ones the volunteers use (not pictured) are replicas.
Here’s the bastion. This is what I always picture when I think of an old military fort, but I now know there’s much more to it than this! We were actually able to go inside the bastion. It’s a 3-story building that’s empty except for the top floor, which you can tell from picture is much bigger than the bottom floors – the top houses several cannons.
I didn’t take pictures inside the two main “lessons” we had, but we learned all about 1840s medicine and the fur trade in the area at the time. The military fort was actually built to protect the assets – the furs. It turns out it was never needed; they were never challenged.
Just outside the fort was an amazing garden. They had loads of flowers, vegetables, and herbs growing. These are used for a summer camp they host: for a fee, people (kids and adults) can come to the fort and learn about the time, eat period food, wear period costumes, and stay the night.
Outside, there was a huge anchor that was drawn out of the Columbia River. They don’t know much about it except that it was made sometime between 1815 & 1850 and it is so huge it was from a ship likely weighing around 1,000 tons. What they don’t know was whether this ship was a freighter, a passenger liner, or something else.
To end the day, I bought a triangle that was actually made on the grounds by a real blacksmith (as opposed to a fictional one :p). I love that it’s made from completely natural materials – cast iron with a leather strap – and not plastic. I plan to use it to call the kids in from outside when they’re playing, like a dinner bell. It’ll be a real voice saver!