The focal point of Officer’s Row, the Grant House was first built in 1849 as the residence of the commanding officer. Although Grant never lived at the house, he did visit the home in 1879 after his public service – (first as a General, then as a two-term President of the United States) was over. Some of the original logs used in construction are still visible throughout the house.
Grant House History
Officer’s Row was constructed in 1846. It was used to house U.S. military officers stationed at the Vancouver Barracks on the banks of the Columbia River. Today it is part of the Vancouver National Historic Reserve. Fort Vancouver was originally a fur trade depot owned by the Hudson’s Bay Company. The U.S. Army arrived in 1849 and officers took up residence in the homes.
The oldest of these homes, built by Captain and Brevet Major John S. Hathaway and his company of 76 soldiers, is The Grant House. Made from hand-hewn logs and sided with wood lap, the house served as both headquarters for the army and as the commanding officer’s residence.
Grant House Name
The Grant name, however, would be added much later. Grant was posted at the site for a year in 1852 with the 4th infantry, before the home was constructed. And while Grant never lived at the home, he did visit it in 1879. Grant was General during the Civil War and later President of the United States (1869-1877.) The home was renamed in his honor after his storied service to this country.
Grant House Occupants
Throughout the years, the Grant House has many purposes. It was at a time quarters for commissioned officers and the Officers Club. It has also served as non-commissioned officer bachelor quarters, and a Post Library. As rumor would have it, the house served as a brothel at some point.
The home was also occupied by the Soroptomist’s Museum for several years leading up to early 1980’s. The women were training in historical preservation and artifact conservation. During this time, much of Officers Row became a burden to the Veterans Administration as many of the homes sat empty and were expensive to heat and maintain.
Current Status of Grant House on Officer’s Row
The City of Vancouver acquired Officers Row and spent eight years and $11 million on a restoration project. It now houses several commercial offices as well as 34 residential rental spaces.
While all of the homes on Officers Row have been restored, a few of the original logs used in the construction of the Grant House are still in place, uncovered, and can be seen in the house.