Clark County, Washington, is home to the city of Vancouver, WA which is on the north bank of the Columbia River. Vancouver, Washington is the fourth-largest city in Washington State with a population of 190,915 as of the 2020 census. It was incorporated in 1857. Clark County’s county seat, Vancouver is a major city in the Portland-Vancouver metro region, the 25th biggest in the United States.
Vancouver, Washington is a city in Washington and Oregon, situated along the Columbia River to the north of Portland and originally founded in 1825 around Fort Vancouver, a fur-trading station.
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Many Native American tribes called the Vancouver region home, including the Chinook and Klickitat nations, who built permanent communities of timber longhouses. Known as “land of the mud-turtles” in Chinookan and Klickitat lore, the location was purportedly given the names Skit-so-to-ho and Ala-si-kas by those peoples.
In 1792, William Robert Broughton was the first European to make contact with the area; by 1806, over half of the local people had died from smallpox. The Chinookan population, originally estimated at 80,000, was reduced to “a few dozen exiles, landless, slaveless, and swindled out of a treaty” within another fifty years due to measles, malaria, and influenza.
From 1910 until 1926, the Sifton area was served by an early electric trolley run by the Northcoast Power Company. This trolley also stopped at the neighboring community of Orchards. Trolleys only stopped every hour and cost 15 cents one trip. The painting is located in the middle of Orchards and represents the trolley and the rural atmosphere of the region while it was in operation. Sifton, after Doctor Sifton, who was instrumental in getting the town’s trolley service started.
Archives of the Vancouver Columbian newspaper reveal that the Orchards-Sifton route followed Vancouver’s Main Street to 26th street (now known as Fourth Plain Boulevard), then continued north along 26th to K Street, and finally continued north along K Street to 33rd Street. It continued on 33rd Street, crossing Burnt Bridge Creek and outside the city boundaries. The trolley then took a shortcut through the woods and resembled a real train.
Between Vancouver and Orchards, I saw hardly any homes. People’s increasing fondness for automobiles in the 1920s spelled the end for the city’s beloved trolley system.
Vancouver, WA was cut off from Oregon until the new Interstate Bridge replaced ferries in 1917; the city’s three shipyards immediately downstream built ships for World War I; and the city had a huge economic boom during World War II. In 1940, Alcoa’s aluminum mill built nearby, powered by cheap energy from the New Deal hydropower turbines at Bonneville Dam.