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Step back in time in Vancouver, WA and visit historic Fort Vancouver, the Lewis and Clark trail, or Pearson Air Museum—the oldest active airfield in the West.

The wood frame Vancouver depot was constructed in 1907-1908 for the Northern Pacific Railroad. It is rather unique in that passengers board north-south bound and east-west bound trains on different sides of the building. Passengers board the Empire Builder on the southeast side of the depot while the Coast Starlight and Amtrak Cascades trains are boarded on the northwest side of the facility.

When Lewis and Clark arrived in 1806 in what would become Clark County, the Chinook and Klickitat nations occupied the land in permanent settlements, where Vancouver is located on the Columbia River. The Europeans returned to create their first permanent settlement, in 1824. Sadly, the native population was largely decimated soon thereafter by diseases such as measles, malaria, and influenza that swept through the area beginning in 1830.

The first permanent European settlement in the area arrived when the Hudson Bay Company established the Fort Vancouver fur-trading post on the north bank of the Columbia River in 1825. From that time, the British and U.S. jointly occupied the territory, until the Oregon boundary dispute was settled, with the U.S. taking full control of the Oregon Territory by treaty in 1846. The city of Vancouver was incorporated on January 23, 1857. It is the oldest continuous settlement in the Pacific Northwest.

U.S. Army Captain (and future President) Ulysses S. Grant was stationed at the Columbia Barracks in 1852, for a 15-month tour. The Columbia Barracks, which had been set up in 1849, lay above the Fort Vancouver trading post, fronting 1,200 yards on the river, with the buildings set back 2,000 yards from the water. When, in 1860, the Hudson Bay Company finally vacated their trading post, the U.S. Army first named their installation Fort Vancouver. This fort was in continual use until 1946; two years later it was designated a National Historic Site. It is still possible to tour the fort. It is also the site of a yearly Fourth of July fireworks display said to be the largest west of the Mississippi. The Army still uses portions of Fort Vancouver for reserve unit training.

In the 1800s,Vancouver’s economic base consisted of wood and paper mills, ship-building, food canning, aluminum manufacturing and grain shipment. Subsistence agriculture in the region gave way to export crops such as apples, strawberries, and prunes. In 1879 the Northern Pacific connected Vancouver to Puget Sound, and in the 1880s, railroad ferry service crossed the Columbia River to link to Portland and California by rail. In 1908, a railroad swing bridge across the river allowed even greater development. With World War I, the world’s largest spruce mill came to supply the wood for the new warplanes, and with World War II, ship-building. Today, high-tech and service industries make up a good portion of the economy as well, with many people commuting to Portland across the arms of the Columbia River.


  • accessibleWheelchair accessible
  • wcPublic washrooms
  • people_altTicket agent
  • microwaveTicket vending machines
  • luggageChecked baggage
  • local_parkingFree short-term parking
  • local_parkingFree overnight parking
  • bentoSnack machines
  • child_careUnaccompanied Minors








1301 West 11th Street
Vancouver, WA
98660 United States
Map of 1301 West 11th Street in Vancouver
How to get there