The 160th anniversary of the establishment of the U.S. Army post known today as Vancouver Barracks will be commemorated through several living history events this weekend at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Vancouver, WA. All activities are free of charge.
On Friday, July 17, 8:00 pm, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site will be presenting, for one time only, the dramatic performance “The Life and Times of General George E. Pickett” at Clark College’s Foster Auditorium (1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, WA 98663). The program, featuring historian Mike Vouri as Pickett and musical accompaniment by folksinger Michael Cohen, interprets Pickett’s life — and his Vancouver and other Pacific Northwest connections — through drama, comedy and song. For more than sixteen years Vouri — historian and chief of interpretation at San Juan Island National Historical Park — and Cohen have been interpreting Pickett’s life, but this is the first time the performance has been scheduled in the Vancouver area.
On Saturday, July 18, and Sunday, July 19, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site will be hosting the annual Soldiers Bivouac special event. The event, an encampment of living history reenactors portraying different soldiers and units from the site’s 160 years of Army history, helps interpret the camp and community life of the soldiers stationed at Vancouver Barracks and the Army’s broader role in the region. Reenactors will host open camps throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday, and several scheduled programs will also be available to the public (see schedule below).
Also on Saturday, July 18, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site will be hosting the annual 1860s Vintage Base Ball Match Game on the Parade Ground of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site at 6:00 p.m. The game will be played by the rules of the 1860s, with wooden bats and without gloves.
Prior to the game, the Whiskey Flats Band play will period music and reenactors will portray ladies of the 1860’s trying their hand at the new game of the time, croquet.
Hot dogs and other refreshments will be available for sale at the base ball match game, provided by the Restaurant at the Historic Reserve. The Fort Vancouver National Historic Reserve Trust will have souvenirs available, including books, base balls, team shirts, and more.
Soldiers Bivouac 2009 – Schedule of Events Saturday, July 17 10:00 a.m. – Camps open to the public 11:30 a.m. – Historic Weapons Demonstration: Mountain Howitzer drill and firing 12:30 p.m. – Historic Weapons Demonstration: Drill and musket firing by First Oregon Volunteer Infantry 1:00 p.m. – Interpretive Talk: The 21st Infantry at Vancouver Barracks in the Indian Wars era 2:00 p.m. – Interpretive Talk: Pickett’s Irish 3:00 p.m. – Interpretive Talk: Fox Company & WWII American GI Camp Life 4:00-5:30 p.m. – Living History Event: Reenactment of 1860s Ladies Croquet Game (North of the Bandstand) 5:00 p.m. – Camps close 5:30 – Concert: Whiskey Flats Band 6:00 pm – Historic Weapons Demonstration: Mountain Howitzer drill and firing
6:05 p.m. – Living History Event: 1860’s Vintage Base Ball Match Game
Sunday, July 18
10:00 – Camps open to the public
11:30 – Historic Weapons Demonstration: Mountain Howitzer drill and firing 12:30 – Interpretive Talk: Fox Company & WWII American GI Camp Life 1:00 – Interpretive Talk: The 21st Infantry at Vancouver Barracks in the Indian Wars era 2:00 – Interpretive Talk: 7th Infantry Camp Life in the World War II era 3:00 – Historic Weapons Demonstration: Drill and musket firing by First Oregon Volunteer Infantry 4:00 – Camps close
COSTS: All activities are free, including entrance into the Fort in conjunction with its Free Fee Day initiative. As part of the National Park Service’s initiative, the organization wants to reinforce that national parks are places for everyone to have fun, reconnect with nature and history and build a sense of ownership and stewardship toward parks and the environment. Entrance fees will be waived during this weekend as well as on August 15 & 16.
For additional information about this and other special events offered by the National Park Service at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, please visit our website http://www.nps.gov/fova or call the Visitor Center at 360. 816.6230.
Background: Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service, is the heart of the Vancouver National Historic Reserve. 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 Reserve’s vast array of public programs — including living history events, festivals, cultural demonstrations, exhibits, active archaeology, and other special activities — create a dynamic, fun, and unique tourist destination for people of all ages.