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Feb. 16, 2023

Park Yourself in Vancouver's Past: Esther Short's Historical Playground!

Dive into the heart of downtown Vancouver with Esther Short Park, a place where the past meets the present, roses greet glockenspiels, and relaxation is just a water cascade away!

Whether you are a long-time resident or relocating to Vancouver, you should explore Esther Short Park. This oasis in the heart of downtown is not just any park; it's a historic symbol of the community's rich past and vibrant present.


A Storied Past

Nestled between West Columbia and 8th Street, Esther Short Park is more than just a serene oasis in the midst of urban hustle; it's a living testament to Vancouver's rich history and evolving community spirit. Holding the title of one of the oldest public parks in the Northwest and the oldest public square in the state of Washington, this space is a testament to Vancouver's legacy. It was named after an early Vancouver resident underscoring its historical significance. As a vibrant reflection of the city's past and present, Esther Short Park is as much about community tales as it is about bringing community together, weaving together the story of Vancouver's evolution within its verdant landscapes.


More Than Just Greenery

Spread over a sprawling 5 acres, the park provides residents and visitors with a multitude of features. Whether you're an avid rose lover, eager to explore the rose garden, or a family looking for an ideal playground for the kids, Esther Short Park caters to all. Its pavilion, gazebo, and serene walking paths make it an idyllic spot for both relaxation and recreation.

Salmon Run Bell, Vancouver, Washington

Salmon Run Clock Tower and Glockenspiel
Vancouver, WA by Doug Kerr (edited) CC2.0

One of the park's main attractions is the Salmon Run Bell Tower, standing proudly on its southeast corner. This unique bell tower isn't just an architectural marvel but also houses a glockenspiel. Delve deeper, and you'll discover a diorama within the clock that narrates the rich stories of the Chinookan peoples.


Tick-Tock Goes the Glockenspiel

Standing tall at 69 feet, the iconic Salmon Run Bell Tower has been an emblematic part of Esther Short Park since its construction in 2002. Designed by the talented architect Cindy Sterry, it doesn't just chime with the hour but also narrates history. Its clock, a masterpiece by the Verdin Bells & Clock Company, is paired with a glockenspiel and a diorama that recounts tales of the Chinookan peoples. 

But that’s not all! Showcasing the fluidity and essence of the Pacific Northwest, the tower also boasts the mesmerizing art installation "Spiraling Salmon" by Jim Demetro. Each sculpture, each chime is a homage to the culture and spirit of Vancouver.


A Hub for Cultural Events

But Esther Short Park is not just about relaxation and history. It pulsates with life and culture. Throughout the summer, the park becomes a venue for outdoor concerts and festivals, many of which are free, making it the perfect place for music lovers. From gatherings to festivals, Esther Short Park is at the heart of Vancouver's cultural scene.

 On weekends throughout the summer the park is surrounded by Vancouver Farmer’s Market. 


A Market for the Locavores

If you're someone who appreciates fresh produce and artisanal products, the Vancouver Farmer's Market, held around Esther Short Park from mid-March through October, is your haven. Spend your weekends browsing through stalls, picking up local treasures, and savoring the essence of Vancouver where you will find over 200 vendors offering fresh and local produce, flowers, plants, baked goods, delicious food, and unique artisans from around the area. 


Splash and Relax

For families and kids, Esther Short Park offers more than just a walk-through history. The kid-friendly water feature, complete with a cascading waterfall that meanders down a path of boulders, is both an architectural marvel and a playground. These naturally designed seats invite parkgoers of all ages to sit back, relax, and enjoy the gentle splash and serene environment.


A Living Testament to Vancouver's Spirit

Esther Short Park is more than just a geographical location; it's the soul of downtown Vancouver. It's where history resonates with every chime of the glockenspiel, nature meets architecture, and the community comes together in celebration and relaxation. For those considering a move to Vancouver or even for long-time residents, the park is a gentle reminder of the city's rich tapestry of culture, history, and natural beauty. From its historic trails to contemporary events, Esther Short Park exemplifies the very essence of Vancouver, making it a must-visit for anyone looking to truly understand and immerse themselves in the city's spirit. Whether you're a history buff, a nature lover, or someone simply seeking a peaceful retreat amidst urban dynamism, Esther Short Park welcomes you with open arms, echoing tales of the past and promising delightful memories for the future.


Posted in Recreation, Vancouver
July 31, 2017

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