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Posted by on in Events

Walk & Talk: A Week of Free Tours

The Fort Vancouver National Trust announces a new summer's-end, weeklong series of free tours and talks about local history, August 21 through 27. "Walk and Talk" will be kicked off by the August 21 solar eclipse, with activities occurring daily.

Scheduled tours include the Post Cemetery, Providence Academy, Officers Row and the West Barracks, and the chance to be a kid again with the activities at the Pearson Field Education Center. A botanical tour of historic 19th Century plants will be scheduled adjacent to a film presentation on Scottish botanist, David Douglas, on Sunday, August 27. These are free events and tours, but an email RSVP to is required to guarantee a spot. The complete calendar of events, times, and links to RSVP for each activity may be found at

On the morning of August 21, observation of the solar eclipse will be organized in the parking lot across from Grant House at the Fort Vancouver Historic Site. Free eclipse glasses will be provided to the first 100 people to RSVP. Beginning at noon, the Fort Vancouver Tapestry will be on display every afternoon for the entire week at the Artillery Barracks building. Local historian and author, Jeff Davis, will present military history talks and Spirit Tours in the evenings.

"We want to invite everyone to celebrate the end of summer with the Trust," said Director of Community Outreach and Programs, Richard Burrows. "It's a chance to gather with other community members, and perhaps see the old in a new way. The pace of a walking tour changes our perspective and allows us time to hear stories more completely."

To sign up for the free tours, RSVP at indicating the tour(s) selected, the time(s), and number attending. The Trust will send a confirmation, which guarantees the spot. Dress to walk, have good shoes, plenty of fluids, and a thirsty curiosity.

Walk and Talk Schedule 

Syzygy Transit for the National Solar Eclipse
Monday, August 21, 2017; 8am-12noon
On August 21, 2017, America will be treated to its first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in nearly 100 years. It will also be the first total eclipse exclusive to the U.S. since before the nation's founding in 1776, hence the National Eclipse. From Oregon to South Carolina, the eclipse will trace a 67 mile-wide path of totality across the country for millions to witness as the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun and day turn to night for up to almost three minutes. Here in Vancouver the eclipse will view at 93% of total.
Walking distance: 500 feet from parking lot
Check-in: In front of the Grant House, 1101 Officers Row, Vancouver, WA 98661
Parking: Several parking lots on Evergreen, and elsewhere on the Fort Vancouver National Reserve
Tour Leader: Trust Staff

Providence Academy Tour
Tuesday August 22, 2017; 10-11am and 2-3pm
The House of Providence, also known as The Academy, is a former orphanage and school. It was built in 1873 by Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart who along with 4 other Montreal nuns traveled to Vancouver to serve the social and religious needs of locals. She raised money for the construction of the House of Providence and 32 other charitable institutions by leading begging tours of local mining camps. The building has three stories, constructed in brick in a neo-Georgian style, and closed as a school in 1966.
Walking distance: Inside the building, but involves climbing stairs. Physically challenged may use a small elevator by prior request.
Check-in: 10am and 2pm; 400 E Evergreen Boulevard, Vancouver, WA 98660
Parking: Front facing parking lot on Evergreen Boulevard has a few free visitor spaces; street parking or public transportation
Tour Leader: Richard W. Burrows, Director of Community Outreach & Programs

Marshall House Tour
Wednesday, August 23, 2017; 10-11am and 2-3pm
This home's Queen Anne architecture is the most popular of high Victorian Styles with ornate features including stained glass, decorative woodwork and a round turret. It is named in honor of General George C. Marshall, who lived there from 1936-1938, serving as Commander of the Barracks and the regional Civilian Conservation Corps. The museum-like setting focuses on traditional furnishing, military memorabilia and Marshall's study.
Walking distance: Inside the building. ADA entrance at the back of the building.
Check-in: 10Aam and 2pm; 1301 Officers Row, Vancouver, WA 98661
Parking: Several parking lots on Evergreen, and elsewhere on the Fort Vancouver National Reserve
Tour Leader: Julie Kummer, Marshall House Event Manager

Officers Row and West Barracks Tour
Thursday, August 24, 2017; 10-11am and 2-3pm
For over a century, these late 19th and early 20th century homes along the northern edge of Evergreen Boulevard in the Historic Reserve area served as residential housing for many soldiers, officers and families stationed at Vancouver Barracks. Of particular note are Grant, Marshall and Howard houses. As well, the old U.S. Army Reserve buildings in the West Barracks have been renovated into beautiful residential and commercial mixed-use properties that feature unique historical touches in the Artillery Barracks, Red Cross Building, Dental Surgeon Building, Infantry Barracks, Spruce Division Records Storehouse (formerly Quartermaster Building).
Walking distance: 1 ?1/2 miles on sidewalk. Persons with physical challenges will require assistance.
Check-in: 10am and 2pm; 750 Anderson Street, Vancouver, WA 98661
Parking: Large parking lot south of Howard House on Anderson Street
Tour Leader: Richard W. Burrows, Director of Community Outreach and Programs

Pearson Field Education Center Activities
Friday, August 25, 2017; 10am and 2pm
Pearson Field is the oldest continuously operating airfield in the Pacific Northwest and one of the two oldest continuously operating airfields in the United States. Secured in the Pearson Field Education Center hanger are historic period planes, aviation memorabilia, and a host of flight simulators. Examples of the principles of flight abound. Information about pioneer pilots in the Vancouver area is available, as well as the signature Soviet polar route by Chkalov.
Walking distance: Inside the building; 500 feet from parking area. ADA accessible.
Check-in: 10am and 2pm; 201 East Reserve Street, Vancouver, WA 98661
Parking: Adjacent to the hanger in designated spaces
Tour Leader: Deborah Bessette, Aviation Programs Coordinator

The Vancouver Barracks Post Cemetery Tour
Saturday, August 26, 2017; 10am and 2pm
No matter what someone's rank or social station, death finds us all. The Vancouver Barracks Post Cemetery is the last resting place of many of the people who lived and served at the Vancouver Barracks. This includes a spectrum ranging from prisoners of war, to Medal of Honor recipients; from the "unknowns", to larger than life characters; from soldiers to their families, and everyone in between. Take a walk through the cemetery and meet some of its more notable residents.
Walking distance: ?1/2 mile; uneven ground
Check-in: 10am and 2pm; At Cemetery entrance; Just north of East 4th Plain Boulevard & East of I-5; across the street from Clark County Public Health
Parking: Inside the cemetery or street parking
Tour Leader: Jeff Davis, Vancouver Barracks Military Association

The Botanic Tours
Sunday, August 27, 2017; 10am-12noon and 2-4pm
Two tours in one. The first is the Land Bridge and its "Ethno-botanical Garden" of native plants, most of which were used by the indigenous people of the area for food, medicine, crafts, building materials, and more. The second is plants typical of mid-19th century England as well as native Pacific Northwest specimens. Expertly guided by knowledgeable botanic enthusiast, Jim Pestillo.
Walking distance: 2 miles; some uneven ground. ADA accessible with assistance.
Check-in: Old Apple Tree Park at 112 SE Columbia Way.
Parking: Park on south side of Columbia Way in Waterfront Trail parking lot.
Tour Leader: Jim Pestillo, Botanical Volunteer

"David Douglas, Scottish Botanist" Preview/Q&A
Sunday, August 27, 2017; 12noon-2pm
This is the first film ever produced about David Douglas (1799-1834), the remarkable plant hunter from Scotland. He was commissioned by the Royal Horticultural Society to explore the perilous western parts of North America in the 1820s and 1830s. He is the namesake for the Douglas fir, and Vancouver's David Douglas Park. He was an environmentalist before his time, and encouraged an appreciation of the natural world and how one person's efforts can make a difference. Produced by Lois Leonard, who will take questions at the end of the presentation of the 1 hour film. Combine this with The Botanic Tours, either after the morning session, or before the afternoon session. Make a day of it and bring your brown bag lunch.
Walking distance: Easy access from street parking. If combined with The Botanic Tour, it is about ?1/2 mile to and from the reconstruction stockade.
Check-in: 12 noon at the Red Cross Building; 605 Barnes Street, Vancouver, WA 98661
Parking: Street parking on Barnes Street or Hatheway Road
Event Moderator: Lois Leonard, Historian, Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission

The Fort Vancouver Tapestry
Monday through Sunday, August 21-27; 12noon-5pm
The Fort Vancouver Tapestry is a surface design embroidered wool on Belgian linen textile narrative of the history of Clark County Washington. The finished piece consists of 70 connected panels of varying widths measuring 28" high and with a total length of 108 running feet. A total of sixty-nine stitchers volunteered in excess of 100,000 hours of creative effort over a six-year period to produce this one of a kind work of art. The upper border includes words of greeting from some of the many ethnic groups that settled the region. On display, again, after a multi-year absence, the Tapestry is seeking a permanent home. Don't miss this rare opportunity to see a piece of history and meet the original stitchers.
Walking distance: Inside the building
Check-in: Between 12 noon and 5pm daily; Artillery Barracks (East Entrance); 600 East Hatheway Road, Vancouver WA 98661
Parking: Street parking on East Hathaway
Tour Leaders: Sherry Mowatt, Artistic Director and Linda Caton, President of the Board; Sophie Muro, Trust Intern

Military Talks at the Marshall House
For the past two years, the Vancouver Barracks Military Association has partnered with the Fort Vancouver National Trust to present a series of military history talks to the public. These talks regularly take place between January and June each year. Three of the most well-received talks make a repeat visit this summer for those who missed them the first time. Pick one, pick two, pick all three!
Monday, August 21, 2017; 6-8pm: The Vancouver Barracks, Proving Ground for Generals
Wednesday, August 23, 2017; 6-8pm: Custer's Sister, Maggie Custer Calhoun, and his other brother-in-law, Fred Calhoun
Friday, August 25, 2017; 6-8pm: The Congressional Medal of Honor
Walking distance: Inside the building; 500 feet from parking
Check-in: 6pm; Marshall House; 1301 Officers Row, Vancouver, WA 98661
Parking: Across the street from the Marshall house on Evergreen Boulevard or elsewhere on the site
Tour Leader: Jeff Davis, The Vancouver Barracks Military Association

Contact Info:
Contact: Richard Burrows
Director of Community Outreach and Programs

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RealWear, a rapidly growing Silicon Valley company, has signed a letter of intent with the Fort Vancouver National Trust to occupy 12,000 square feet in the newly renovated Artillery Barracks at the Fort Vancouver National Site. The announcement was made Thursday during Mayor Tim Leavitt’s State of the City address, held in the space that RealWear will occupy.

President and CEO of the Fort Vancouver Trust, Mike True said, “This is a very exciting partnership for the Trust and a welcome addition to the Historic Site. The presence of RealWear in the West Barracks will create new vitality for downtown Vancouver. Bringing new technology-based business into a freshly renovated historic building is a perfect way to sustain and honor our community’s history, while looking toward the future.”

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The Fort Vancouver National Trust has been awarded a grant from the Vancouver Energy Community Fund, a charitable fund at the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington, in the amount of $5,019.

The funds will be dedicated to the Pearson Field Education Center’s STEM-based aviation education programs, which introduce students and the public to potential careers in aviation through a curriculum steeped in the rich history of Pearson Field. Specifically, the grant will be used to purchase model airplane and toolbox kits for teaching students metalwork and riveting skills needed to build a full-sized kit airplane.

In March, 2016, the Pearson Field Education Center received a generous donation of a partially assembled Zenith 701CH kit airplane. Youth aged 12-20 years old who are interested in acquiring the skills to assemble an airplane will be invited to participate in completing the project.

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A donation in the amount of $10,000 was presented to the Fort Vancouver National Trust during its Board of Directors meeting on Tuesday, September 6. The gift was from the Honorable Frank L. and Arlene G. Price Foundation, and presented by Foundation Executive Director, Kay Dalke/Sheadel.

"The Trust's historic preservation work represents one of the three areas the Price Foundation supports," said Dalke/Sheadel. The Foundation serves nonprofits within Clark and Cowlitz counties.

Arlene Price grew up in Vancouver, and was a graduate of Vancouver High School in 1943. She later became an art teacher in Kelso, where she met her husband, Frank, who obtained his law degree after serving as a Naval officer in WWII. He was a superior court judge in Cowlitz County for several years. According to Arlene's sister and Vancouver resident, Joanne Galloway, Frank and Arlene believed in the importance of historic preservation, and Arlene always felt especially closely tied to Vancouver.

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Employees from Providence Health and Services will volunteer to conduct a cleanup and planting of colorful flowers on the property of the Providence Academy (400 E. Evergreen Blvd., Vancouver WA.)from 2 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 26. The employees are members of ProvNext, an organized networking group of professionals within Providence Health & Services.

"This planting not only gives the historic Providence Academy a springtime facelift, it symbolizes new beginnings for the property," said Fort Vancouver National Trust President and CEO, Mike True. The Academy was awarded $1 million out of the Washington state supplemental budget in April, to replace the roof and repair the front porches of the 143-year-old building. That work is scheduled to begin this summer. "We are grateful for our friendship and partnership with Providence, and for their heartfelt commitment to this beautiful Vancouver landmark."

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Tickets are now available for Independence Day at Fort Vancouver presented by Bank of America, on Saturday, July 4 at the Fort Vancouver National Site. It is a full day of family fun with live music, games and entertainment, culminating in a spectacular fireworks show. The event is produced by the nonprofit, Fort Vancouver National Trust.

Fort Vancouver has over a 50-year history of providing one of the region’s most memorable fireworks displays. This year, the fireworks will be even bigger and better, with an increase in shell size of 25%. The larger fireworks will launch to 500 feet high, cover a radius of 500 feet wide, and will feature special effects never before seen at the Fort Vancouver fireworks show. The 2015 display will once again be staged from Pearson Air Field, and synchronized to music. Fireworks may not be visible from Portland or the Columbia River.

“Independence Day at Fort Vancouver is a beloved event that our community has enjoyed for more than 50 years,” said Craig Christenson, Bank of America SVP & small business banking manager in Oregon and Southwest Washington. “I’m proud that Bank of America recognizes this as an important economic engine and local tradition, and this is just one of many investments we’re making toward strengthening our communities. I grew up watching the fireworks here, and I’m excited that this year’s show will be bigger than ever before!”

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