History comes alive at fort site during Public Lands Day Promenade

first_imgFew historic sites are truly as historic as our own Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, which has been everything from a British fur trading post to a U.S. Army base, a mill for warplane parts, an historic airfield and regional headquarters for the Civilian Conservation Corps.On Saturday, you can meet and greet the historical folks who lived those experiences — or, anyway, you can meet and greet the educated volunteers who will promenade about the place in character and in costume. The annual Summer’s End Promenade is set for 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, during which volunteers of all ages will stroll up and down Officers Row and along the Parade Grounds, stopping on the veranda of the Grant House. That’s a great place for interviews, by the way, but so is anywhere else along the route; you are encouraged not to be shy, but to ask these historical figures what was going on in Vancouver, and throughout the Pacific Northwest, during the time they’re dressed for — and what role they played in it.Photography is absolutely welcome, and so are specific questions about clothing styles and construction for volunteers from the park’s Costume and Textile Department. It’s “the largest historic costume collection in the National Park Service,” said Eileen Trestain, a noted expert, author and speaker on textiles and quilts through history who volunteers to manage those important assets for the fort.A few years ago, Trestain told The Columbian that she found “accuracy issues” when she first took the gig; she weeded out 250 inauthentic pieces from the then-500-piece collection, then built it all back to a collection of many thousands of items that have all met with Trestain’s critical approval — not just coats, dresses and uniforms but also jewelry, pipes, hats, gloves, underwear and eyeglasses.“This year the event will have a special focus on uniforms and costumes from 100 years ago, and the centennial of the end of World War I,” said Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Superintendent Tracy Fortmann.last_img