Fort Langley (1827-1886) - Established by the Hudson's Bay Company on the Fraser River in present day Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada as part of a network of fur trading Forts. The fort was named for Thomas Langley, a director of the Hudson's Bay Company. Abandoned in 1886.
First Fort (1827-1839)
Construction began 1 Aug 1827 at a site on the south bank of the Fraser River near the Salmon River. The fort was 135' by 120' with an enclosed palisade 15' high and two bastions equipped with artillery. Inside the fort were the Big House that quartered the officers, a building for the other ranks, a large store and two houses.
During this period Fort langley dominated the trade with the Indian tribes of Vancouver Island, the Fraser River and Puget Sound. The indians provided fur pelts and salmon in exchange for blankets, vermillion and toacco.
Second Fort (1839-1840)
The original fort was replaced with a new one in 1839 to facilitate a contract with the Russians for wheat and butter. The site was moved 2.5 miles upstream close to a large prairie. The second fort had been in operation for only 10 months when it burned down.
Third Fort (1840-1886)
Construction was started on the third fort in May 1840. The new fort was 630' by 240' with 3 or 4 bastions and about 15 buildings. This is the site of the reconstructed fort.
During this period the fort transitioned from a fur collecting post to a provisioning role. The fishing, farming and dairy operations increased and a distribution system was established in support of a growing number of posts and vessels.
Gold was discovered in the sand bars of the upper Fraser in 1858 and 30,000 prospectors had poured into the area. Fort Langley became the center of the resulting gold rush and its sales shop thrived in the provisioning business. As a result of the flood of miners, navigation on the Fraser River was then extended to Hope and Yale and Fort Langley was suddenly no longer the terminus and the transhipment point and business evaporated. This same year the governance of British Columbia transitioned from a Hudson's Bay Company monopoly to British Crown Colony status and competition for the fur, farm and fisheries trade began to emerge. The fort fell into decline as the land and the buildings were sold off. In 1886 a Hudson's Bay Company sales shop was built in the village and the fort ceased to function.
In 1923 the site was declared to be of historic importance. In 1955 Fort Langley was established as a National Historic Park and restoration was begun.
Must See! The one original 1840s building, the storehouse, has been restored and contains displays of furs and trade goods. A 1950s replica of the big house stands at the head of the parade on the high point of the fort. Two replica blockhouses with a connecting gallery stand at the northern corners of the palisade overlooking the Fraser River. In all there are ten buildings inside the palisade not counting the blockhouses. The cooperage, blacksmith shop, storehouse, slave quarters, and the big house offer period furnishings and displays. One building houses a period cafe and another offers an informative video production.
Visited: 1 Jun 2014