Fort Vancouver
Historic Furnishings Report: Bakery
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The bakery which was in operation at Fort Vancouver during 1845-1846, the period to which the fort is to be reconstructed, was completed during the fall of 1844. What is known of the appearance and physical structure of this building is outlined in volume I of the Historic Structures Report, Historical Data, Fort Vancouver, which was submitted during June, 1972. That same document also reproduces such meager inventories of the bakery's furnishings as exist for the general 1845-1846 period.

It was subsequently determined that additional information about early 19th century bake ovens and bakery furnishings was required before architects and curators could actually prepare plans for rebuilding and refurnishing the strucure. The present study is intended to provide additional data "needed to determine the nature and extent of historic furniture and furnishings of this building, including ovens." The work was conducted under authorization of Professional Services Contract No. CX-2000-3-0092.

In preparation for the writing of this study, further research was conducted in the Hudson's Bay Company Archives through the use of the microfilm copies in the Public Archives of Canada. For permission to use and quote from these records the writer extends his thanks to the Hudson's Bay Company and, in particular, to Mrs. Joan Craig, Archivist, Hudson's Bay Company, London.

This report owes much to the generous assistance of many persons. A special debt is acknowledged to Mr. Wayne Colwell, Curator, Canadian National Historic Sites Service, whose vast store of knowledge concerning thee techniques of the fur trade was freely made available. He supplied source references of major importance and assisted with the illustrations. Mr. William M. Pigott, President, and Miss Joan Halloran, Research, of National Heritage Limited, Toronto, also made a major contribution toward this study by providing access to that firm's comprehensive research files.

In Washington, D. C., Dr. A. R. Mortensen, Chief Historian, and Mr. Harry W. Pfanz, of the Office of History and Archeology National Park Service, facilitated the use of the Library of Congress; and Mr. Mike Musick, of the NMO staff of the National Archives, was particularly efficient in finding pertinent materials. Mr. James Sheire, National Park Service historian in Washington, provided copies of his earlier studies of United States Army bake ovens at Fort Laramie.

At the Denver Service Center, National Park Service, Mr. Merrill J. Mattes, Manager, Historic Preservation Team; Mr. F. Ross Holland, Jr.; and Mrs. Helen Hoy have facilitated this study in numerous ways. Particular thanks are extended to Historian Erwin N. Thompson, who not only provided copies of his fine reports on the structures at the Grand Portage depot of the North West Company but supplied illustrative and research materials of major significance.

Mr. J. A. McGinnis, Managing Director, Toronto Historical Board, generously provided photographs of the equipment used in operating the bake oven at Fort York. At Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Project Archeologist J. J. Hoffman assisted with sound advice and valuable information derived from the excavations conducted under his direction.

Special thanks are given to Miss Caroline Dudley, Keeper of Archaeology, Art Gallery and Museums Department, The Royal Pavilion, Brighton, England, who generously supplied photographs and drawings of biscuit stamps in the collections under her care. Mr. John S. Creasy, Assistant Keeper, Museum of English Rural Life, Reading, provided valuable information concerning sources of information relating to baking and bakeries in nineteenth century England, as did Mr. D. Campbell, Department of the Environment, London. Mr. David Fleming of the Historical Research Section, Canadian National Historic Parks and Sites Branch, assisted with information on the bakeries at Lower Fort Garry, Manitoba. Consultations with Mr. A. Lewis Koue, retired National Park Service architect and expert on Hudson's Bay Company building techniques, were most helpful in formulating recommendations regarding the bakery structure.

John A. Hussey

Piedmont, California
December 1, 1973

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Last Updated: 28-Nov-2005