Reporter’s Notebook


Did you know?

Most of you probably know Vancouver is home to Washington’s oldest apple tree. In fact, if I look outside one of the Vancouver Business Journal’s office windows, I can probably see it. But there’s a whole lot more to our community than just apples.

In the spirit of getting to know your community, your customers and your clients a little bit better, here are 10 interesting facts about the region we all call home.

10.What La?

We are all familiar with La Center, but did you know that until the early 1900’s, it wasn’t the only “La” around? Believe it or not, the city of Camas was known as “La Camas” until its residents formally dropped the "La" in June of 1906.

9.Burgerville Square

Everyone loves Esther Short Park. After all, it’s considered to be the oldest designated city park in the West. Did you know the park’s entrance is named “Propstra Square” after George Propstra, the philanthropic founder of Burgerville, USA?George is immortalized in a sculpture on a bench in the park, where he sits receiving the gift of a rose.

8.No prunes about it

Did you know that in the 1920’s, Clark County was considered the prune capital of the world? Prunes were in high demand as the nation’s most popular breakfast fruit and growers enjoyed healthy prices, making prunes the county’s leading agricultural commodity.

7.Strange art

Head to the corner of 8th and Main Street in downtown Vancouver and you’ll spot a one-of-a-kind piece of art called “The Phoenix.” Designed by Seattle artist Andrew Carson and dedicated to the memory of the late Carl Dobbs, this brightly-colored always-moving sculpture is known to cause pedestrians to stop and do a double-take before going on their way about town.

6.Name games

Did you know the city of Ridgefield went through a name change back in the day? The original name of the community was actually “Union Ridge,” due to the number of residents originating from the union ranks of the Civil War.

5. Did U-know?

In 1945, at the age of 29, Ridgefield resident Leonard Shoen co-founded U-Haul with his wife, Anna Mary Carty. Shoen started the company in his in-law’s garage and expanded through franchising with gas stations. Today, U-Haul has a network of more than 15,950 locations in all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces. The annual mileage of North American U-Haul trucks, trailers and tow dollies would move a family to the moon and back more than 20 times per day, every day of the year.

4. Wine in the city

You don’t have to travel to the countryside to visit one of our local wineries. Founded in September 2009, Gougér Cellars is the first and only winery located in downtown Vancouver. Nestled on the corner of Washington and West 19th, this family-operated business is making quite a name for themselves at international competitions. For more on Gougér Cellars, check out our “Retail Spotlight” in Friday’s Journal.

3. Heavenly history 

Before being changed to Seattle in 1907, St. James Church in downtown Vancouver was the Cathedral for the Diocese of Nisqually covering all of Western Washington. In the late 1990's a determined effort began to improve, restore and update St. James. In 2008, the interior of the historic church was restored.

2. Green with envy

Built in 2005, downtown Vancouver’s Hilton hotel became the first hotel in the world to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Green Seal certifications. The building utilizes cutting-edge technology including CO2 sensors that can turn off the heating and cooling system by recognizing when people have left rooms and hallways.

1. Gimmie a break

The city of Vancouver has an old law on the books that requires all motor vehicles to carry anchors as an emergency brake. So much for my gas mileage!



Sources: City of Vancouver, Vancouver Downtown Association, City of Ridgefield,, U-Haul, Hilton, Wikipedia, Leadership – By the book: Grace & Glory Publishers


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