• Image of the reconstructed stockade at Fort Vancouver and Pearson Air Museum looking northeast from the Land Bridge.

    Fort Vancouver

    National Historic Site OR,WA

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  • Vistor Center Temporarily Relocates to Pearson Air Museum on Sep 15, 2014

    The Visitor Center operation will temporarily relocate to Pearson Air Museum, beginning on Monday, September 15, 2014, while the visitor center is rehabilitated. More »

  • The McLoughlin House Site Will Close at 2:00 pm This Saturday, October 18, 2014.

    The McLoughlin House unit of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site will close early this coming Saturday, October 18, to prepare for a community partnership event. The McLoughlin House will be open from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm this Saturday.


Volunteers demonstrate nineteenth century lifeways in many buildings at Fort Vancouver, including the Kitchen.

Park volunteer Pam Cundy is one of many who demonstrates nineteenth century cooking techniques in the Kitchen.

NPS Photo

The original Kitchen must have been a busy, bustling place throughout the day, from well before sunrise until late evening: steaming kettles, cuts of meat roasting over glowing embers, the rhythmic sound of vegetables being chopped, stacks of dishes awaiting washing in wooden tubs, servants scurrying about, and the air fragrant with cooking smells, pipe tobacco and sweaty bodies.

Many activities vital to the good order of the fort’s daily routine would have taken place in the Kitchen. Not just cooking, but also dish washing, heating shaving water for the residents of the Big House and Bachelors Hall, candle making, pickling meats and vegetables, and polishing the clerks’ shoes, to name a few.

There is no record of how many people actually worked in the Kitchen other than the two stewards and the gardener, but a half-dozen or more doesn’t seem unrealistic in view of the staggering amount of work that had to be accomplished every day.

You are invited to step into the reconstructed Kitchen and perhaps catch the fragrance of roasting meat or maybe the tantalizing aroma of a freshly baked tart. The staff and volunteers that work in the kitchen are constantly busy, demonstrating the ways of cooking in the early 19th century and telling about the farms, gardens, and orchards that supplied the meat, vegetables, and fruit to the table.

Did You Know?

Black and white image of Dr. John McLoughlin

Did you know that John McLoughlin, Chief Factor at Fort Vancouver, is known as the “Father of Oregon” for his aid to American immigrants arriving over the Oregon Trail? His home in Oregon City, Oregon is a unit of the national park system administered by Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. More...