"Of course, only the Chief Factor's family enjoyed this level of luxury," the guide reminded us. "The officers and other high-ranking employees lived in barracks, and hundreds of other low-ranking, non-British employees lived in an encampment outside the Fort walls known as 'the village'."
I turned to the guide. "Is there a reconstruction of this village?"
He laughed. "No. Most people would rather learn about the leaders. But we hope to have something in the future."
I left with a unsettled feeling in the pit of my stomach. How much of our history is colored by our reverence for the wealthy and powerful? Most of the work of building this nation was done by the working class folks, but what do we know of them?
Fort Vancouver's web site. Apparently in recent years, the Park Service has focused resources at the Fort researching these forgotten peoples, uncovering a wealth of information that it now shares in its educational programs, tours, and brigade encampment events. Park rangers and volunteers dress in period clothing and demonstrate what life was like for ALL the employees of the Hudson Bay Company.
There are only a few days left in the school year. I'm thinking it might be time to bundle the kids into the car, re-visit this park and see what's changed.
What about the historical parks in your area? Do they do a good job of telling everyone's story? Tell me about your favorite museums and historical sites.
(Photos courtesy of the NPS).