Just across the river from Portland, Vancouver
is a city of stunning views, unmatched outdoor activities, and charming downtown destinations. Surrounded by mountains and dotted with rivers and lakes, its neighborhoods provide residents with serene settings and outdoor activities. With shopping destinations like the Vancouver Mall and a vibrant foodie scene, there is no shortage of modern amenities to enjoy. However, Vancouver is best known for its historical significance. Whether you're planning a vacation or hope to make the city your home, these historic Vancouver, WA, landmarks are not to be missed.
1. Fort Vancouver
Established in 1825 as a fur trading post, Fort Vancouver was one of the first permanent settlements west of the Rocky Mountains. The fort later became the center of political activities and a place where new settlers procured essential supplies.
Today, the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site encompasses nearly 200 acres along the north bank of the Columbia River. Guests can explore the Fort Vancouver Village, tour the gardens, or enjoy scheduled demonstrations. Staff members are dressed in period-specific clothing and share information about artifacts displayed indoors and out. Visitors can see a blacksmith shop in action, watch a cooking demonstration from the 1840s kitchen, and witness ongoing archaeological explorations.
2. Officers Row
Adjoining Fort Vancouver, and part of the 366 acres that make up the Vancouver National Historic Reserve, Officers Row is made up of 22 perfectly preserved Victorian homes from the 19th century. Builders constructed these homes for US Army officers and their families during the period from 1846 to 1906. However, neglect led to substantial deterioration over time until their renovation during the 1980s. Today, the tree-lined street stands out as one of the city's biggest attractions.
The homes on Officers Row feature high ceilings, long staircases, bay windows, and stately columns. While the Clark County Historical Museum offers guided tours of Officers Row only during summer and fall, you can always walk the boulevard on your own to admire the houses. The Marshall House and the Grant House restaurant are open to the public, offering guests the option to purchase keepsakes, take tours, and more.
The Grant House is the oldest building at Vancouver Barracks and the first built on Officers Row. It now serves as a restaurant that features many attributes from its historic roots, including original logs that are still visible in several areas of the house. The Marshall House was built in 1886 to replace the Grant House as home for the commanding officer. It is now one of the most popular attractions on Officers Row. Adorned with antiques from the 1880s and open to the public for tours, the elegant home can also be reserved for special occasions.
3. Pearson Field and Museum
Known as the birthplace of West Coast aviation, Pearson Field and Museum is a must-see for aircraft enthusiasts and history buffs. Just east of Fort Vancouver, the 3,275-foot runway was used in the early 1900s and is currently one of the oldest operating airfields in the US. Operated by the City of Vancouver, the airport is home to the Pearson Air Museum and the Jack Murdoch Aviation Center. Visitors can see five early-20th-century airplanes, including a full-scale replica of a World War I French Voisin III bomber. Hand-painted murals and exhibits share additional details to provide a chronological view of the aviation events that occurred at Pearson Field. Visitors can access the museum for free, and it hosts numerous events throughout the year.
4. Clark County Historical Museum
Located just off Main Street between downtown and Uptown Village, the Clark County Historical Museum features rotating exhibits that reflect the cultural history of the county. Guests can see award-winning exhibits and view featured programs that bring history to life with detailed information about past eras. Special events are held on the first Friday of each month, and the museum hosts the popular summer downtown walking tours highlighting a different destination each Saturday.
5. Vancouver Land Bridge
Connecting the Columbia River waterfront to the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, the Vancouver Land Bridge is a 40-foot-wide pedestrian bridge lined with indigenous plants and Native basket weavings. It is an architectural marvel and a historic landmark that marks where European and native cultures came together.
The curved bridge arcs over State Route 14 and features three overlooks, native plant species, and Native American words and imagery. At the Southern entrance, a welcome gate designed by Lillian Pitt greets visitors with a striking image composed of two cedar logs topped with crossed canoe paddles embellished with a cast glass image of a Chinook woman's face. Spirit baskets decorate the bridge's overlooks, along with imagery and descriptions in nine indigenous languages that tell the story of the site's significance.
6. Cedar Creek Grist Mill
Builders constructed the Cedar Creek Grist Mill in 1876, and it operates today just as it did during the 19th century. A national landmark and a working museum, it is the only one in Washington state that features its original construction and runs without electricity. The mill is located on a steep rocky slope at the bottom of Cedar Creek in a scenic wooded environment.
Visitors can participate in a tour that shows how the mill runs using huge pulleys and belts that turn to produce flour, corn meal, and apple cider. You can even take home samples of fresh-milled flour and cornmeal to create delicious baked goods at home. The location also hosts many free events throughout the year, including Strawberry Shortcake Day, Apple Cider Pressing, and Blueberry Pancake Day.
Find your place in Vancouver with assistance from David Merrick
Vancouver, WA, is a charming town brimming with historical treasures and iconic landmarks. It's also home to vibrant, friendly communities, a wealth of outdoor activities, and desirable amenities. If you're considering a move to the Portland-Vancouver metro area, the neighborhoods of Vancouver provide a delightful mix of waterfront and mountain properties featuring homes in diverse architectural styles.
When you're searching for available homes in Vancouver
, David Merrick
can help. With more than 25 years of corporate retail experience, David knows how to listen to clients and help them achieve their goals. He will work diligently to find a home that best matches your needs at the best possible price. His passion for everything the neighborhoods have to offer makes him the ideal partner for navigating the local real estate market and learning about local attractions and communities. Learn more about how David Merrick can help you find your dream home in Vancouver.