II. FORT VANCOUVER: TRANSITION, 1829-1846 (continued)
The period between 1829 and 1846 encompasses the principal period of development of Fort Vancouver under the Hudson's Bay Company. During this time, which begins with a major site development--the move of the fort proper from its original site to the location of the present reconstruction--Fort Vancouver's economic, political and social influence in the region reached its peak. The boundaries of the site were at their greatest extent. The Fort's administrative importance, as vested in Chief Factor John McLoughlin, was supreme in the Pacific Northwest While fur-trading activities declined throughout this period, agricultural activity under the Hudson's Bay Company flourished, with Fort Vancouver as the administrative and producing hub. In addition, many early industrial activities were initiated and developed at the fort--including large-scale timber milling, salmon fisheries, grain milling--which led to its prominence in Pacific Coast trade, with trading connections in Hawaii, California, and Alaska. The fort was the social center for the region throughout most of the period, with balls, plays, picnics and dinners attracting settlers from many miles away. During the latter years of this period, the Company's stores at the fort and cattle, seed, and produce from its fields, provided the first waves of American settlers in the region with the means to establish their farms--in some cases with the means to survive their first winter; these operations had a significant influence on the settlement of the region, from Puget Sound in Washington to the Willamette Valley in Oregon, and east as far as the Dalles, Oregon. Against a backdrop of the influx of American settlers, with attendant political and economic agendas and under a threatened imminent settlement of the northwest boundary dispute between Great Britain and the United States, the period ended with two events of particular significance: first, the signing of the Oregon Treaty of 1846, finally resolving the boundary issue; second, London's decision to terminate McLoughlin's superintendency of Fort Vancouver.
Last Updated: 27-Oct-2003