McLoughlin House, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

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OVERVIEW: About this Audio-Described Brochure

Welcome to the audio-described version of the official print brochure of the McLoughlin House Unit of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. Through text and audio descriptions of photos, illustrations, and maps, this version interprets the two-sided color brochure that McLoughlin House visitors receive. The brochure explores the history of the park, some of its highlights, and information for planning your visit. This audio version is divided into 13 sections, as a way to improve the listening experience. Sections 1 to 2 include overview information about this brochure. Sections 3 to 6 cover the front of the brochure and information regarding the McLoughlin family before they reached Oregon City. Sections 7 to 11 cover the back of the brochure and information about the McLoughlin family's lives in Oregon City. Section 12 discusses accessibility, and Section 13 covers more information about the national park. 

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OVERVIEW: McLoughlin House, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

The McLoughlin House Unit of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, located in Oregon City, Oregon, is a part of the National Park Service, within the Department of the Interior. The historic McLoughlin House and the historic Barclay House nearby are located within a City of Oregon City municipal park. This unit became a part of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, headquartered in Vancouver, Washington, in 2003.

Each year, visitors from around the region and the world come to the McLoughlin House to learn about the later life of Dr. John McLoughlin, who served as the chief factor of Fort Vancouver from 1825 to 1845. The stories of his wife, Marguerite McLoughlin, and his daughter Eloisa's family are also told here. At the Barclay House, visitors learn about the life and family of Dr. Forbes Barclay, who retired here in 1850 and had previously served as a physician at Fort Vancouver. When the McLoughlin and Barclay families moved to Oregon City, it was known as the terminus point of the Oregon Trail. Here, thousands of American emigrants made their homes and started businesses as Indigenous peoples were forced to leave the area and move to reservations.

For those seeking to learn more about the park during their visit, information can be found at the Barclay House. Docent-led tours of the McLoughlin House are available and are free of charge. To find out more about what resources might be available or to contact the park directly, visit the "Accessibility" and "More Information" sections at the end of this audio-described brochure.

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OVERVIEW: Front Side of Brochure

The front of the brochure includes historic paintings of Oregon City, the Oregon Trail, and Fort Vancouver. Along the top edge of the front of the brochure is a black bar characteristic of national park brochures. This bar includes the text "McLoughlin House, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Oregon/Washington." At the right end of the bar is the National Park Service's arrowhead logo.


The text includes a description of the life and career of Dr. John McLoughlin, the assistance he provided to Oregon Trail emigrants while he was Chief Factor of Fort Vancouver, and the years leading up to his retirement in 1845.

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IMAGE and TEXT: Oregon City in 1852

DESCRIBING: A landscape painting showing Oregon City in 1852.

SYNOPSIS: A landscape painting showing Oregon City as it appeared in 1852, facing south. In the foreground, a Native American woman sits on the ground and a man stands next to her. Down a hill behind them, the city of Oregon City is located on a flat plain on the west bank of the Willamette River, which runs from the right side of the photo into the middle distance, at the 12 o'clock position. The city consists of a central earthen street and many boxy, two-story buildings. In the center of the painting is a white, three-story mill building sitting just north of the Willamette Falls.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: In the foreground of the painting, in the 7 o'clock position, a Native American woman sits on the ground next to a standing Native American man. The woman is wearing a red sleeveless dress. She has black hair and bronze-colored skin; sunlight reflects off her shoulder and the right side of her face. Next to her on the ground is a bundle wrapped in white cloth and a cylindrical bark basket with a shoulder strap. Her right elbow is bent and her hand is raised slightly toward her chin. To her left, the viewer's right, a man stands beside her. He is wearing buckskin pants and a long sleeved shirt with fringe hanging from the arms. White feathers with black tips decorate his black hair. He is leaning on the end of a rifle, with the butt of the rifle touching the ground. The couple is surrounded by leafy green vegetation, and seem to be standing on a rise to the north of Oregon City. Along the entire left edge of the painting beside them is a rocky bluff topped by a two sparse evergreen trees.


Behind the Native American couple, in the center of the painting, is the City of Oregon City. The city has a wide earthen road running through the center of it. This road stretches from the lower right corner of the painting, in the 5 o'clock position, diagonally up to the left, towards 10 o'clock. Three covered wagons pulled by oxen are traveling along this road, accompanied by the small figures of people. 


On the east side of the road, which to the viewer facing south is the left side, there are many boxy two-story buildings, fenced areas, and some buildings that appear to be barns or have other agricultural functions. At the far end of the road that reaches up to the 10 o'clock position is a white church with a gabled roof and a small church tower at its front. Green deciduous trees line the road in front of the church. Just beyond the church is a square two-story building, painted white, with a gray hipped roof. This is the McLoughlin House. Near the McLoughlin House are two other, smaller buildings, also painted white with gray roofs. At the far end of the street is a pond with blue water. Behind these buildings, the landscape slopes up to the large hill and rocky bluff on the left side of the painting.


On the west side of the road, which to the viewer facing south is the right side, are several more buildings and fenced in areas. To the west of these buildings is the Willamette River, which runs almost parallel to the main street that runs through Oregon City. In the 3 o'clock position, a large blue-gray two-story building with a veranda coming from its second story faces the river; this building has two red brick chimneys at either end. Many more buildings of varying sizes surround this building, some with similar chimneys. Further along the road, these scattered buildings become more uniform and face the main street. In almost the exact center of the painting is a large, three-story white mill building with a gambrel-style roof. Next to this mill building is a large mill wheel, which is catching water from the Willamette River. Behind the mill building is the Willamette Falls.


Willamette Falls is a waterfall that extends the width of the Willamette River at the south end of the City of Oregon City. A large island in the center of the river divides the fall into a longer eastern stretch and a rockier western side. On the eastern side of the island, water flows over the waterfall in white sheets. On the western side of the island, white foamy rapids rush around jutting rocks. Some small tents can be seen on the island. The Willamette River on the south side of the falls is wide and placid. Its waters reflect the rolling, forested hills that surround it, and the blue sky above. On the north side of the falls, where the Willamette River winds past Oregon City, five small figures are navigating a canoe, which can be seen here from the side.


The opposite (west) bank of the Willamette River, in the 1 to 2 o'clock positions, is a rocky, low-lying landscape with some roughly-built wooden structures and tents. One more finished white, two-story building with a large porch and veranda is situated at the 3 o'clock position on the west bank. Beyond these buildings is a rocky bluff with some low-lying vegetation. On top of the bluff is a grassy area that leads into a large forest.


CAPTION: Oregon City in 1852, by John Mix Stanley. The McLoughlin home is behind the church.

CREDIT: Amon Carter Museum


RELATED TEXT: 

John McLoughlin retired to the home he built at the falls of the Willamette River after directing the fur trade at Fort Vancouver for its first and most influential 20 years. He had come to the Northwest to turn the bounty of the land into profit for the Hudson s Bay Company and to promote British interests.

McLoughlin’s domain reached from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean and from Russian-held Alaska to Mexican California’s northern border—a land area equal to about one-fifth of today’s contiguous United States. By the time his career ended, he was famous for his efforts, intentional or not, in securing most of that territory for Americans.

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IMAGE and TEXT: Emigrants Crossing the Plains

DESCRIBING: A painting of American emigrants traveling the Oregon Trail.

SYNOPSIS: Painted in a romantic, sweeping style, the painting shows a sunset scene of American emigrants traveling the Oregon Trail in covered wagons. Some travelers ride horses, sit on wagons, or walk alongside the wagon train. Herds of cows and sheep accompany the emigrants. In the background are tipis and a large cliff reflecting the early-evening sunlight.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The Oregon Trail stretches from the lower right corner of the painting in the 5 o'clock position towards the left side of the painting, the 9 o'clock position. The trail is earthen with patches of grass and leads into a wooded area that glows with late-afternoon light. Behind the trees, the sun is a radiant yellow, and lights the clouds overhead in shades of orange, pink, and purple. 


Traveling along the trail are two wooden wagons with large, spoked wheels and canvas covers. One wagon is disappearing into the forest. The other is on the trail in the foreground. It is pulled by six oxen; a man walks alongside the oxen. At one end of the wagon is an opening in the canvas cover through which we can see a person sitting inside. In front of the covered wagon is a wooden cart piled high with supplies. Two figures sit atop this wagon, holding reins that are attached to two horses. Behind the wagon, in the right corner of the painting, are three men riding brown horses. They are wearing long sleeved shirts and wearing hats. One of the men is pulling a rope attached to another horse's bridle. The horse he is pulling has a heavy load of supplies on its back and seems reluctant to follow. Behind these men and the reluctant horse is a narrow creek. The sunset overhead is reflected in the water.

In the foreground of the painting, from the 6 o'clock to 8 o'clock position, are groups of cows and sheep. The cows are brown with white markings; some have small curved horns. The sheep are small and white. Near the edge of the forest is a small pond where a few of them are drinking. A walking man and a man on a horse guide the animals along the trail towards the forest.

In the background, beyond the Oregon Trail and the emigrants traveling it, are a gathering of at least four tipis, made of light brown hide pulled over wooden supports into a conical shape. 

In the left part of the background, from the 1 o'clock to 3 o'clock positions, are enormous cliffs that reflect the brilliant colors of the sunset. At the cliffs' base, in the 3 o'clock position, is a clump of trees and what appears to be a small white building.

CAPTION: Albert Bierstadt, Emigrants Crossing the Plains

CREDIT: The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum


RELATED TEXT: 

Born into a Quebec farming family in 1784, McLoughlin was 19 when he signed on as a physician for the North West Company, a British fur company. He soon worked his way up to company partner. After the merger in 1821 with the Hudson’s Bay Company, also a British fur company, McLoughlin was sent to the Oregon Country to preside over the vast lands on which the organization pinned its hopes for expansion. As the chief factor (superintendent of trade), McLoughlin oversaw construction of the new headquarters at Fort Vancouver, promoted agriculture, opened new trapping routes, and took in an impressive profit. In doing business with the Indians, key players in the fur trade, he kept peace and won respect.

As successful as it was, the Hudson’s Bay Company operated without a clear title to the land. The Oregon Country was caught in a tug of war between Britain and the United States. An 1818 treaty settled the dispute temporarily by establishing joint occupation. Thereafter both sides maneuvered to be in a position of strength when the treaty was to be renegotiated. McLoughlin foresaw that Britain’s dominance of the region, based as it was on control of the fur trade, was doomed in the long run. The fur supply was dwindling, as was demand. In 1842 emigrant wagon trains began arriving in the Oregon Country. The presence of thousands of American settlers would inevitably tip the balance of power. Defying Company orders to discourage American settlement, McLoughlin extended credit for food, seeds, and farm tools to the newcomers, then steered them southward into the Willamette Valley. Many emigrants regarded him as a paternalistic figure who would never turn away those in need; others thought him a tyrant. But one transplanted Pennsylvanian expressed gratitude: “He is always on the lookout for an opportunity to bestow his charity, and bestows with no sparing hand.”

Though kindhearted by many accounts, McLoughlin had practical reasons for his generosity. Ill treatment of weary, poor new arrivals would reflect badly on the Company. Moreover, if the Oregon Country were divided along the course of the Columbia, as the English hoped, the land to the south would cede to the United States no matter what. While the Hudson’s Bay Company asserted its claim to the territory, reported one British observer, “it appears that their chief officer on the spot was doing all in his power to facilitate the operations of those whose whole object was to annihilate that claim altogether.” Gov. George Simpson, the top Hudson’s Bay official in North America and an old rival of McLoughlin’s, battled continually with the chief factor. In 1845 McLoughlin was forced to retire. The following year the Oregon Country was divided along the 49th parallel. The Company continued to trap and trade south of the boundary for 14 years, but British notions of acquiring the land permanently were squelched.

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IMAGE and TEXT: Fort Vancouver

DESCRIBING: A painting of Fort Vancouver as it appeared in the 1840s.

SYNOPSIS: A painting showing a southern-facing view of Fort Vancouver as it appeared in the 1840s. In the background is the Columbia River with a sailing ship on it, and forests beyond. On the north bank of the river is Fort Vancouver: many buildings surrounded by a rectangular wooden stockade. To the west of the fort is a village made up of many small cabins. North of the fort, a road runs east to west. In the foreground is a man with a cart and horse, and a Native American man and woman.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The Columbia River, a wide river with blue-gray water, runs across the painting from the 9 o'clock position to 3 o'clock. Near the 9 o'clock position, a sailing ship with white canvas sails is traveling up the river, towards the left side of the painting. Beyond the river, on its south bank, is a densely forested area. Beyond this forest are blue-green hills that fade into the distance.

On the north bank of the river, in the left side of the painting, is Fort Vancouver. The fort is surrounded by a rectangular wooden stockade wall made of vertically-positioned logs. The tops of many buildings' roofs can be seen poking out from above the stockade wall. Along the leftmost wall, the brick ovens of the fort's Bake House stick out through the stockade wall and attach to the white-painted building. A tall flagpole rises from the center of the fort, topped by a red Hudson's Bay Company flag. Just beyond the fort is a glimpse of the white sails of a second ship on the Columbia River. Another mast can be seen nearby from another ship that has docked along the north bank of the river. In the northwest corner of the fort, a wooden bastion - an octagonal tower with small windows and a pointed roof - is located. 

To the west of the fort, nearer the 3 o'clock position, is a collection of rectangular wooden buildings and small cabins making up the Fort Vancouver Village. 

To the north of the fort's stockade walls is a large orchard with many trees. The trees are hastily-painted, without much detail. To the northeast of the fort is a large, grassy field that covers the area from the stockade wall to the road closer to the foreground.

A wide earthen road runs from east to west along north of the fort, running almost parallel to the Columbia River, from the 3 o'clock to 9 o'clock positions. The road is lined on the south side by a split rail fence. Two low rectangular sheds are located along this road as is a square shed. A person on a horse rides travels west on this main road, and two walking individuals are traveling east. Nearer the 3 o'clock position, another road runs perpendicular to this road and leads to a gate in the fort's stockade wall. 

North of east-to-west road is a grassy area that leads up a slight hill closer to where the viewer is standing. In the 3 o'clock position, north of the road, are two two-story wooden buildings with hipped roofs. Two evergreen trees and some shrubbery partially obscure our view of these buildings. 

Closest to the viewer, in the 6 o'clock position, is a wooden two-wheeled cart to which a white horse is hitched. In the bed of the cart is a man wearing brown pants, a red voyageurs' sash tied around his waist, a blue shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, and a soft red cap. He is turned as though to check on something in his cart.

To the left, in the 5 o'clock position, is a Native American couple. The man is wearing brown, buckskin clothing and has long black hair. His head is covered by a light brown cap. He is riding a brown horse with a black mane and tail and a white marking on its nose. The horse's flank is decorated by a red and brown banner. Slightly behind the horse, a woman with long black hair is hunched over, reaching towards a large pack she is carrying on her back. She is wearing a light brown dress that falls to her knees.

In the 4 o'clock position, two shepherds stand in the grassy field north of the road. One is holding a long shepherd's crook. A small group of sheep feed on the grass nearby.

CREDIT: Yale Collection of Western America, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library


RELATED TEXT: 

The Hudson’s Bay Company wanted furs and land. The Columbia watershed offered both. McLoughlin’s first task as administrator of the Company’s Oregon Country holdings was to build a headquarters for marketing the region’s natural wealth. Fort Vancouver, named for the British captain who explored the Columbia River, was built on that river near the mouth of the Willamette. Living quarters, factory, storge depot, seaport: Fort Vancouver was the hub of the Northwest Coast fur trade in its early-1800s heyday. It was the administrative headquarters and supply depot for more than 20 posts in the Columbia Department. By 1845 Fort Vancouver’s location near the end of the Oregon Trail placed it squarely in the path of American westward expansion, and its role in shaping Oregon’s destiny had changed. Emigrants stopped here on their way to claiming Willamette Valley farmland. At this British out- post McLoughlin gave supplies and encouragement to the people who later came to own much of the Oregon Country.

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OVERVIEW: Back Side of Brochure

The back of the brochure includes historic photographs of John and Marguerite McLoughlin and photographs of the interior and exterior of the McLoughlin House. At the bottom of the brochure is a section titled "Planning Your Visit" with a map of Oregon City showing the location of the McLoughlin House.

The text discusses the later life of Dr. John McLoughlin in Oregon City, following his retirement from the Hudson's Bay Company.

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IMAGES and TEXT: John McLoughlin house

IMAGE 1 of 5: McLoughlin House

DESCRIBING: A color photograph of the McLoughlin House.

SYNOPSIS: A color photograph of the McLoughlin House, a rectangular, white, two-story house with a hipped roof. The photo shows the McLoughlin House from the street in front of it. An American flag flies on a flagpole in front of the house. White signs along the sidewalk between the house and the street indicate that it is the McLoughlin House.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The McLoughlin House is set in a city park. On either side of the house, we get a glimpse of a grassy park with paved sidewalks, large bushes, and deciduous trees. The photo has been taken at wintertime, as the trees surrounding the house have no leaves. It is a sunny day, and the shadows of tree branches crisscross the front and sides of the house.

The McLoughlin House fills the center of the photograph and is angled slightly to the viewer's right. It is a two-story house, painted white. On the side of the house facing the street, there are four windows in the upper story. The lower story has two windows on either side of a central door, which is painted dark brown. The door has a brass doorknob, lock, and a small knocker. There is a small transom-style rectangular window over the door. 

On the side of the house visible from this angle, there are three upper story windows. This shorter side of the house has two windows framing a central door, similar to the door facing the street. This second door is just barely visible behind a large bush.

The roof slopes downward toward the walls on each side of the house. The house has two brick chimneys at either end of its roof.

At the street side of the house, in front of the door is a small patio with two steps going down to the sidewalk level. To the left of the door, on the sidewalk, is a small stone monument, about 3 feet high. The monument is a boulder with one flat side into which a metal plaque is set. To the left of this monument is a white wooden signpost that holds a sign reading "Dr. John McLoughlin Home." About five feet to the left of the signpost is a flagpole flying an American flag. At the flagpole's base are blooming yellow daffodils.

To the right of the door is a bush, and next to that a tree. In front of the tree is a small square garbage can. To the right of the garbage can is a white wooden sign post with two signs that are too far away to read.

CAPTION: McLoughlin House

CREDIT: NPS/Russell Lamb


IMAGE 2 of 5: Dining Room

DESCRIBING: A color photograph of the McLoughlin House dining room.

SYNOPSIS: A color photograph of the McLoughlin House dining room. The photographer is standing at one corner of the table facing the table and the rest of the room. The table is long, rectangular, and wooden with small brass wheels on its feet. One chair is positioned at each end; four chairs are on each longer side. The table is bare, with no tablecloth. White dishes with blue-black floral decorations sit on the table. The room has two large windows with dusty-rose colored drapes, a large china cabinet, and a mirror.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The chairs are mahogany balloon back-style chairs with dark colored horsehair seats. In addition to the chairs at the table, five chairs line the room's wall as though waiting to be used. 

The dishes we can see on top of the table include place settings at each chair with napkins and plates, and at least three tureens. All the dishes are a matching floral pattern. At each end of the table are tall silver candlesticks with even taller white taper candles.

On the wall on the left side of the photograph is a large mirror with an ornate gilt frame.

To the right of the mirror, in the corner of the room, is a tall wood china cabinet with two glass cabinet doors. Inside are an assortment of dishes and other items. On the walls to either side of the cabinet are large windows with dusty-rose colored drapes. Out of the window to the right of the cabinet, we can see part of the Barclay House next door.

The floor of the room is dark wood. The wallpaper is cream-colored with a light beige leafy design. The ceiling overhead is made of white painted wooden slats. One small metal sprinkler head can be seen on the ceiling.

CAPTION: Dining Room

CREDIT: NPS/Russell Lamb


IMAGE 3 of 5: Bedroom

DESCRIBING: A color photograph of a bedroom at the McLoughlin House.

SYNOPSIS: A color photograph showing the interior of a bedroom in the McLoughlin House. The photographer is facing the room at an angle, towards one corner. On the right side of the photo is the elaborately carved wooden footboard of an enormous double bed. A child-sized wooden trundle bed with a patchwork quilt is partially pulled out from underneath the end of the bed. There is a brown bear rug on the floor. In the right half of the photo we can see part of a baby cradle, two chairs, and a round table with a plant on it. In the corner of the room is a large wardrobe with its double doors open. Clothing hangs inside.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The wooden bedstead has two posts at its footboard, which are carved with an elaborate curving design. 

The baby cradle in the right side of the photograph has a round shape to it, like a large long basket made of wood slats. There are white sheets inside the cradle. From this angle, we can see two feet that show that it the cradle will rock when pushed.

One chair sits with its back to the wall behind the cradle. Above this chair on the wall is a square framed print. The image in the print is round, and appears to be a black and white drawing of an angel.

To the right of the cradle is a round table made of light wood. A fern-like plant in a planter and a large open book sit on top of the table. Another chair is next to the table, facing the book. Behind this chair, in the corner of the room, is a huge wooden wardrobe with its doors open. Inside the wardrobe are shelves and hangers. Brown and gray items of clothing can be seen hanging inside. Below this section are two drawers. On the walls to either side of the wardrobe are windows to the outside. The windows are framed by frilly white fabric curtains.

The floor of the room is dark wood. The wallpaper is cream-colored with a small repeating floral design. The ceiling overhead is made of white painted wooden slats. Two small metal sprinkler heads can be seen on the ceiling.

CAPTION: Bedroom

CREDIT: NPS/Russell Lamb


IMAGE 4 of 5: Marguerite

DESCRIBING: A black and white photograph of Marguerite McLoughlin.

SYNOPSIS: A black and white photograph of Marguerite McLoughlin, cropped to show just her head and shoulders. She is an elderly Native American woman with sleek dark hair parted in the center, pulled down over her ears and back. She is wearing a dark, high-collared dress with a small white lace collar and a brooch at the throat. Marguerite McLoughlin looks at the camera with a neutral expression. She has dark, piercing eyes, arching eyebrows, and a wide nose. Her mouth is turned down at the corners, but her expression appears neutral rather than frowning. 

CREDIT: NPS


IMAGE 5 of 5: John McLoughlin

DESCRIBING: A black and white photograph of Dr. John McLoughlin.

SYNOPSIS: A black and white photograph of Dr. John McLoughlin, cropped to just show his shoulders and head. The photo is edited so that it looks as though the photo of Marguerite is in front of him. He is a white, elderly man with a stern expression. He is facing slightly left. His brow is furrowed and his gaze is intent. He has white hair that is somewhat long, and mutton chops leading from his sideburns down his cheeks. His chin and jaw are otherwise clean shaven. He is wearing a thick necktie that looks velvety and covers much of his neck and chest. It is layered over a high collared white shirt. Over his shoulders, he is wearing a coat with a wide lapel.

CAPTION: John McLoughlin built his home below the falls of the Willamette and lived here with his wife Marguerite and other family members until he died in 1857. Many of the present furnishings were here in McLoughlin’s time.

CREDIT: Oregon Historical Society


RELATED TEXT: 

In 1829 Chief Factor McLoughlin and Governor Simpson claimed land along the Willamette River 25 miles south of Fort Vancouver. This was part of the Hudson’s Bay Company strategy to diversify as fur supplies dwindled. McLoughlin envisioned a company town as the center for subsidiary industries. The falls were ideal for powering mills and the river convenient for shipping manufactured goods and agricultural products. McLoughlin retired from the Company before he could fully implement his plans. He placed the land in his own name in 1845 by paying the Company $20,000 for the claim and built his family home on a piece of this property.

Simple in design, with two stories and a root cellar, the house was elegant for the Willamette Valley, where most emigrant families lived in crude log cabins. It was built completely of finished lumber—local timber and prefabricated trim shipped from a Boston factory. The first floor consisted of a large parlor, dining room, reception room, and McLoughlin’s office. Upstairs were three bedrooms, as well as a sitting room and a hallway that often doubled as a guest room. The kitchens were separate buildings out back.

The McLoughlin home was known locally as “the house of many beds,” a reference to the hospitality the family extended to just about anyone passing through Oregon City. The steady stream of house guests included relatives, friends, business associates, new emigrants, a traveling artist, and many retired Hudson’s Bay Company employees to whom McLoughlin felt a special responsibility. McLoughlin’s wife Marguerite, of Cree-Swiss descent, opened her home to the needy and was thought of as “one of the kindest women in the world.” Other permanent residents were daughter Eloisa and her family, and the Indian servants who had been in McLoughlin’s employ at Fort Vancouver.

Known throughout the valley as “the Doctor” because of the vocation that had started him out in the fur trade, McLoughlin built a new career promoting economic prosperity for the territory he had helped establish. In part to smooth over a controversy arising from an American claim to his property at the falls, McLoughlin took US citizenship in 1851. That year he served as mayor of Oregon City. To help emigrants become established McLoughlin loaned money for small commercial ventures. His own businesses included two sawmills, a grist mill, granary, general store, and shipping concern. He also donated land for schools and churches. 

John McLoughlin died in 1857. His house now occupies some of the sites he set aside for public use when he helped to plat the town in the 1840s. The home is restored to honor the life and accomplishments of a man well deserving of the title “Father of Oregon.”

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TEXT: Planning Your Visit

John McLoughlin lived in this house from 1846 to 1857. The home changed hands many times after Marguerite’s death in 1860. In 1909 the McLoughlin Memorial Association saved the home from demolition. It was moved from the original location near the falls to the bluff. The house is restored to its 1846–1857 appearance. Furnishings belonged to the McLoughlin family, Hudson’s Bay Company, or area residents.

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TEXT: Visiting the House and Related Sites

The house, part of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, stands in McLoughlin Park at 713 Center Street, between 7th and 8th streets.

For days and hours of visitation, contact Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. For firearms regulations check the park website.

We strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all. The site has no public restrooms.

This neighborhood is a local historic district, part of McLoughlin’s original plat. At 719 Center Street is the home of Dr. Forbes Barclay, a McLoughlin associate. McLoughlin’s step-granddaughter lived in Ermatinger House, 619 6th Street. The first territorial legislature met in the late 1840s at Rose Farm, 536 Holmes Lane.

Oregon history is on exhibit at the Museum of the Oregon Territory, 211 Tumwater Drive, and at End of the Oregon Trail Historic Site, 1726 Washington Street.

McLoughlin House is on the Oregon National Historic Trail. Visit www.nps.gov/oreg.

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MAP and TEXT: Fort Vancouver National Historic Site surrounding area

DESCRIBING: A map showing the locations of the McLoughlin House and Barclay House in Oregon City

SYNOPSIS: A square map inset into the lower right corner of the brochure. The map shows parts of the city of Oregon City, the Willamette River, and the city of West Linn. The map includes a scale for 0.5 mile and 0.5 kilometer measurements, as well as an arrow indicating that the top of the map is north. The McLoughlin and Barclay Houses are located on Center Street in Oregon City, near its junction with 7th Street. Additional text on the map explains that visitors should use Exit 9 from I-205 to access the park.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The map shows Oregon City on the south side of the Willamette River, which is a large blue area running from the lower left corner of the map (the 7 o'clock position) to the top of the map (12 o'clock). Near the 7 o'clock position, the Willamette Falls is labeled.

I-205 is a large freeway that runs from the upper right corner (1 o'clock) to the left side of the map (8 o'clock). I-205 crosses the Willamette River just north of Oregon City, at which point it heads towards and past West Linn on the river's north bank. A white square marks the location of Exit 9, just before the freeway crosses the river. Just above Exit 9 is text that reads "To Portland," indicating that traveling north on I-205 from Oregon City will lead to Portland, Oregon. Along I-205 in West Linn, another white square marks the location of Exit 8. Exit 8 from I-205 connects to Highway 43, which turns into 7th street, which connects to McLoughlin Boulevard, a street that runs along the Willamette River in Oregon City. 

Exit 9 also connects to McLoughlin Boulevard, which leads south along the Willamette River and connects with many streets. It's junction with 10th Street is highlighted, as 10th street would lead up Singer Hill Road and towards the McLoughlin House. Singer Hill Road crosses a railroad track before it begins its ascent up the hill and towards the McLoughlin House.

The McLoughlin House and Barclay House are shown with green squares and green text. Other nearby attractions are also labeled with black dots and text. The Stevens Crawford Heritage House and Ermatinger House are located on 6th street, between Washington and John Adams Streets, just two blocks away from the McLoughlin House. The Municipal Elevator and observation deck are located at High Street and 6th, about a block away from the McLoughlin House. The Willamette Falls Locks is located on the north side of the Willamette River in West Linn. The Museum of the Oregon Territory and Falls viewpoint are located on Tumwater Drive, in Oregon City about a half mile south of the McLoughlin House.

Additional text on the map indicates that traveling north on Washington Street would lead to the End of the Oregon Trail and visitor center.

A label shows that McLoughlin Boulevard will turn into Highway 99E at the south end of Oregon City, 

CREDIT: NPS


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Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is one of over 400 parks in the National Park System. To learn more about national parks and National Park Service programs in America’s communities, visit www.nps.gov.

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OVERVIEW: Accessibility

For more information on accessibility visit www.nps.gov/fova.

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OVERVIEW: More Information

ADDRESS: 612 East Reserve Street, Vancouver, WA 98661-3811

PHONE: 503-656-5151

WEBSITE: www.nps.gov/fova

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