Columbia River Gorge

Thursday, July 26, 2018

We left Olympia this morning and headed to Vancouver, Washington, to visit the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, from which we had a good view of Mount Hood.


Established in 1824, the British Fort Vancouver was a major trading post for the Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading network. The fort remained under British control until the 1846 Oregon Treaty, and Hudson’s Bay continued operations there until 1860. The US Army built barracks next to the fort in 1849, and took it over after the British abandoned it in 1860. The fort was destroyed by fire in 1866.

Fort Vancouver became a National Monument in 1949, and it was maintained strictly as an archaeological site until the 1960’s. All of the buildings at the current site were reconstructed based on photos and archaeological evidence. The only structure that remains from the original fort is the well.

The British were not concerned with defense at this site when they originally built the fort. Relations with the local natives were friendly, and there was little or no fear of attack. However, as US settlers began to arrive, Governor George Simpson began to worry about an assault on the fort. He wrote: “I fear that the undisciplined and ungoverned Americans might plunder the post if they became desperate for supplies.” In 1845, employees of the Hudson’s Bay Company constructed the Bastion, with three-pound canons. These canons were never fired in anger.

There were several volunteers on hand to demonstrate cooking and blacksmithing skills, and explain the fur trade.

After leaving Fort Vancouver, we drove to Hood River. We had hoped to see Multnomah Falls on the way, but it was so busy that access to the site was closed when we came by. Oh well, we’ll try again tomorrow.

However, we did see a sign for the Bonneville Lock and Dam National Historic Landmark, so since we had time, we decided to stop. The Bonneville Dam was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1933, as the first federal lock and dam on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. When the lock was completed in 1938, it was the largest single-life lock in the world. That lock became outdated and was replaced in 1993.

The dam has two powerhouses, with 18 generators, and it generates over 1,200 megawatts of energy, enough to supply the power needs of approximately 900,000 homes.


Because the construction of the dam obstructed the migration of adult fish from the sea upstream to spawn, fish ladders were constructed to simulate the waterfalls and pools that would be found in natural streams. Also, millions of juvenile fish (fingerlings) are transported downstream in barges and tanker trucks.

So, even though we missed the falls today, we still saw plenty of moving water.

About kcbernick

I love to travel.
This entry was posted in Bonneville Dam, Columbia River, Fort Vancouver, Hudson’s Bay Company, Oregon, Road Trip, USA Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

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