You are standing on the site of a once-bustling riverfront complex at Fort Vancouver. A boat building operation, blacksmith shop, and tannery filled the air with the sights, sounds, and smells of industry.
A busy place is this. The blacksmith is repairing ploughshares ... the tinman is making cups for the Indians ... the wheelwright is making wagons, the cooper is making barrels for pickling salmon and packing furs.
Thomas Jefferson Farnham, American visitor, 1839
Vessels large and small moored at a wharf here to collect northwest cargo bound for distant ports. Hawaiian laborers loaded flour, butter, and lumber onto ships. American Indian women cleaned and prepared hundreds of barrels of salted salmon each year for export. Paddlling and singing, French Canadian voyageurs arrived each spring with the winter's fur returns.
Today there is no visible evidence of this once-busy place. Its remains lie buried beneath 150 years of change.