Recently I took a trip to Portland’s near abroad, across the Columbia river to Vancouver, Washington. It was a celebratory day of the history of Vancouver’s role in the history of the Oregon Trail, the Cold War and the founding of the Roadfood legendary local chain Burgerville.
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site celebrates a brigade encampment every year where reenactors dress up as British workers and soldiers serving at the fort. This year’s celebration featured newly reconstructed homes of the fort’s non-British employees, a multi-cultural proletariat of Hawaiians, American fur traders and artisans, first nation peoples from all across North America, French Canadians. It was a fine addition to the Fort to see the lives of ordinary folks added to the National Park Service’s interpretation of the historical record.
Also new is a trail through a couple natural gardens featuring plants used by the area’s first nation people for food and medicinal purpose. A pleasant stroll.
The park was also the site of a major thaw in U.S.- Soviet relations. In 1938, three Soviet pilots made the first flight over the North Pole and ended their flight at Pearson Air Field in Vancouver, roughly 1/2 mile from the site of the reconstructed Fort Vancouver. My visit coincided with the anniversary of the flight and there were Russian and state governmental dignitaries marking the anniversary. Incidentally Vancouver may be the only U.S. city with streets named after Soviet military heroes.
Roadfood history started in Vancouver. The first Burgerville is also about a mile from Fort Vancouver. Burgerville is a group of places committed to only local Pacific Northwess products and features Rogue valley Bleu Cheese and smoked salmon salads, , seasonal Hazlenut, strawberry and pumpkin shakes, Walla Walla sweet onion rings and fresh asparagus. it is a place of which I am quite proud and i felt there could be no better way of celebrating a historical day than by eating at the first Burgerville.
It was a good day and one of my first extended days out of the house in a while