Introduction to Vancouver, Washington
The city of Vancouver, county seat of Clark County, is located in the southwest corner of the state of Washington, just north of the Oregon border. The city lies on the north bank of the Columbia River, and is surrounded by Mount St. Helens to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Cascade Mountains to the east. Major thoroughfares servicing the city include Interstates I-5, I-205, and I-84; as well as Washington State Highways 14 and 500. Vancouver is situated only 10 miles north of Portland, Oregon.
Originally called Fort Vancouver, the community served as the center of all fur trading in the Pacific Northwest during the first half of the 19th century. Incorporated in 1857, the new city renamed Vancouver enjoyed a period of steady development lasting throughout the rest of the century. During the First World War, the site later named Pearson Field became the world’s largest spruce lumber mill for construction of airplanes used in the war effort. During World War II, Vancouver’s Kaiser Shipyard served as a major shipbuilding center for a variety of craft used by the U.S. Navy. Since that time, the Vancouver industrial base has shifted to high tech and service industry jobs, which dominate the city's economy today.
Visitors to the Vancouver area can find several places of interest to enjoy. Some of these are listed here:
- Fort Vancouver National Historic Site: Headquarters for the British Hudson’s Bay Company and once the center of political, cultural and commercial activities in the Pacific Northwest.
- Pearson Air Museum: Aviation history is on display at the oldest continually operating airfield in the U.S.
- Clark County Historical Museum: Exhibits feature a Native American gallery, railroad exhibit, American military memorabilia and other artifacts dating back to the 13th century.
- Old Slocum House Theatre Company: Vancouver's oldest non-profit community theater.
- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge: Over 5,000 acres of vital migration and wintering habitat for spring and fall migrating birds.
- Cedar Creek Grist Mill: Built in 1876 and now the only grain-grinding mill in Washington that has maintained its original structural integrity.
- Cathlapotle Plankhouse
- Pomeroy Living History Farm
- Chelatchie Prairie Railroad
- Water Resources Education Center
- Salmon Run Bell Tower and Glockenspiel
- Ilchee Monument & Waterfront Renaissance Trail
- Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens
- Pendleton Woolen Mills
- Vancouver Farmers Market
- Two Rivers Heritage Museum
- North Clark Historical Museum
Only minutes away from Vancouver is the city of Portland, Oregon, home to basketball's Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA. Portland also hosts a minor league baseball franchise known as the Portland Beavers. The Beavers compete in the Pacific Coast League and are the Triple-A affiliate of Major League Baseball's San Diego Padres. Hockey fans can take in the games of the Portland Winter Hawks, a member of the Western Hockey League (WHL).