If you have driven through this portion of Evergreen Boulevard, you have seen some beautiful historic homes with nicely manicured lawns. The area is lined with mature, stately trees, there are often events happening in some of the buildings, and you’ll oftentimes see tourists and even Vancouver residents walking through the area to immerse themselves in history. Officer’s Row is one of Vancouver’s greatest assets.
What’s the history behind Officer’s Row?
For over 100 years, the homes along this row were used as residential housing for soldiers, officers, and families that were stationed in Vancouver at the Barracks. The oldest homes date back to the mid-1800s! In the 1970s, there was an effort started to save the site and restore the properties. In 1987, there was a $10.9 million rehabilitation effort approved and the following year, tenants began moving in. Today, there are 34 residential units, office space, as well as business space in the various buildings. Windermere Real Estate is a proud tenant of the building on the entrance to the Row at the traffic circle and the company also occupies another building to the west. In addition, many of the homes were originally duplexes that housed two military families, and today you can still see that mirror image as you visit the office space.
What are the specific houses used for?
There are three houses that have been designated for specific use. The first is the George C. Marshall House. This home was built in 1886 for the commanding officer of the Department of the Columbia. In the 1880s and 1890s, it was a popular social destination for military and civic people. George C. Marshall (commanding officer at the Vancouver Barracks from 1936 to 1938) lived in the home. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953 for his efforts in helping rebuild economies in Europe and the Pacific Nations after World War 2. Today, the Marshall House is open to the public and is often rented out for weddings, ceremonies, conferences, and other social gatherings.
The second home is the Ulysses S. Grant House. This was the first home that was built on Officer’s Row and it was frequented many times by Grant when he was visiting the Vancouver Barracks. It served as an officer’s club for more than 25 years. After his incredible military successes, the home was named after him and today it is available to the public. The building also houses The Grant House Restaurant, which is open to the public.
The last home is the Howard House, which is named after the first General that lived there, General Oliver Otis Howard. He received a Congressional Medal of Honor in the Civil War and he worked to help aid former slaves. He also served as the U.S. Army’s Department of the Columbia Commander. The home boasts beautiful Italianate-style architecture.
If you haven’t experienced the beauty and rich history of Officer’s Row, head down there for a walk and visit some of the buildings.