NPS Photo by Troy Wayrynen
Walking into the reconstructed Carpenter Shop today, you may be greeted by the shushing sound of a hand plane smoothing a board and the smell of fresh cut lumber. This experience is not much different than you may have experienced in the 1840s. Historically, the carpenters at the fort would have been very busy. Their responsibilities included not only building the actual structures of the fort but also fashioning doors and windows as well as much of the furniture used in the buildings.
Working alongside the carpenters would have been wheelwrights, shipwrights, and coopers producing implements for the farms, ships and warehouses of the Hudson's Bay Company.
To supply the wood workers with material, the Company constructed and operated a water powered sawmill upstream from the fort in 1828. This was the first saw mill operated in the Pacific Northwest. The mill provided all the lumber necessary for the carpenters and produced enough surplus lumber to provide material for export to places such as Hawaii and Mexican California.
Visit the Carpenter Shop and talk with the staff and volunteers to learn about the importance of the woodworker’s occupation at the Hudson's Bay Company's Fort Vancouver.