National Park Service Continues Preservation Efforts at Vancouver Barracks with Historic Post Headquarters Project

View of the Post Headquarters, Bldg 991, from the south, showing crews preparing it for painting.
A National Park Service contract worker (left) scrapes old paint from the west side of the historic Post Headquarters building prior to repainting while other workers (center, right) repair the building's gutters prior to re-roofing.

NPS Photo


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Date: September 25, 2013
Contact: Alex Patterson, Chief of Maintenance, 360-816-6221

What: Historic preservation work, including repainting and re-roofing the historic Post Headquarters building

Who: National Park Service Staff and Contractors

Where:  Vancouver Barracks Unit of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, 991 McClellan Road, Vancouver, WA

When:  Preservation project underway September 25, 2013

VANCOUVER, WA – The National Park Service has announced that additional historic preservation efforts have begun at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, the only national park in the Portland-Vancouver Metro Area. This week, National Park Service staff have begun overseeing the repainting and re-roofing of the historic Post Headquarters building (Building 991) within Vancouver Barracks. Army contractors first constructed the building in 1906.

As part of the project’s roofing component, the historic building’s side-hipped gabled roof structure--and its distinctive cupola--will receive upgrades that will address seismic deficiencies.

In preparation for the project, National Park Service staff labored this summer to remove intrusive masonry block on the northwest corner of the building’s exterior façade. Although the reason for the masonry block is still unknown, it is believed to have been installed during the 1950s, perhaps as a reinforced barrier for military communications equipment.

Despite its intended function in the 1950s, the masonry block was allowing for moisture intrusion on the north side of the building--moisture that was causing the wooden walls to decay. “We are always trying to be as cost-effective as possible when approaching a project,” said Patterson. “In this case we knew the masonry block needed to be removed to reveal the condition of the original wood siding before the painting contractor began their work. And, removing the masonry block also restores the building to its historical look.”

“It’s important to note that we’ve worked with the City to ensure that the exterior paint colors match those used for Officers’ Row and West Vancouver Barracks,” Superintendent Tracy Fortmann added. “The cohesive look will help to connect these adjacent post areas, particularly when viewed from the historic parade ground.” The project is expected to be completed this fall.

During this project, the immediate area around the Post Headquarters, Building 991 will be fenced off to allow the contractor a safe and secure work area and to protect park visitors.

This painting and roofing project is the first of many preservation projects to come within the East & South Vancouver Barracks for the NPS.  “This project is an important step in the preservation of the buildings in the Vancouver Barracks and the entre Vancouver National Historic Reserve,” said Alex Patterson, Chief of Maintenance for Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. “Peeling lead-based paint will be stabilized and a leaky roof will be replaced, ensuring that the Post Headquarters Building stands—in good condition—for years to come,” added Patterson.

The East & South Vancouver Barracks transferred to the National Park Service from the US Army in May 2012. Since the transfer, the National Park Service has implemented a multi-phased caretaking strategy for the 16 historic buildings within the East & South Vancouver Barracks.

“Caretaking, including protecting historical windows, protecting them against the elements, and other actions are designed to protect these historical structures while the necessary planning and upgrading of infrastructure takes place,” said Ray Cozby, National Park Service Project Manager for Vancouver Barracks.


Background: Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is one of the 397 national parks which make up the National Park System and it is located in both Washington and Oregon. This national park is also the heart of the Vancouver National Historic Reserve which is located in Vancouver, Washington. The Vancouver National Historic Reserve brings together a national park, a premier archaeological site, the region's first military post, an international fur trade emporium, one of the oldest operating airfields, the first national historic site west of the Mississippi River, and a waterfront trail and environmental center on the banks of the Columbia River. The partners of the Reserve teach visitors about the fur trade, early military life, natural history, and pioneers in aviation, all within the context of Vancouver's role in regional and national development. The National Park Service's vast array of public programs -- including living history events, festivals, cultural demonstrations, exhibits, active archaeology, and other special activities - serve communities in Washington and Oregon and create a dynamic, fun, and unique tourist destination for people of all ages.


Historic photograph of Building 991, taken after its completion in 1906.

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

Photo of Building 997, Post Headquarters, in May 2013, prior to the removal of the clay tile cladding from the right (northeast) side.

NPS Photo by Greg Shine

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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