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Esther Short Park, Vancouver
(4.4/5 based on 400+ reviews on the web)
Esther Short Park is a public park and town square located in downtown Vancouver, Washington. Established in 1853, it is the oldest public park in the state of Washington. and one of the oldest public parks in the West.It is located in the city's downtown between West Columbia and 8th Street. It was bequeathed to the city in 1862, and includes a children's playground, a rose garden, a large fountain system made of columnar basalt, a bell/clock tower, and the historic Slocum House. The park also houses a weekend farmer's market. In the summer of 2007, the park hosted over 30 outdoor summer concerts, many free.Esther ShortEsther Short was an early Vancouver resident, whose husband Amos and ten children "jumped a claim" near present-day downtown Vancouver. This land was originally part of a larger land plot by American Henry Williamson, who mapped out a little town called Vancouver City and registered the claim in the US courthouse in Oregon City. He left his caretaker, David Gardner, in-charge of the land before leaving for California. During a dispute, Amos Short killed Gardner, though he was acquitted of any crime. Short used his courtroom experience to become a judge and claim the disputed land for himself. He died during a return voyage from selling local produce in San Francisco. With Williamson's registered claim intact, Esther Short filed papers to claim the land. Ultimately, she obtained part of the land (including the parcel which includes present-day Esther Short Park), along with the Catholic Church and Vancouver City. She also gave permission to use house ferry boats to land on her property, at the foot of present-day Washington Street, where she operated a restaurant and hotel called The Alta House.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Really pretty park to walk around in. Has an actual bell tower that rings on the hour. There's a sweet little art gallery in one corner of the park that was fun to go through, featuring local artists. 
  • cool little park with a few bums hanging around. It has lights at Christmas and a street fair on weekends 
  • My wife & I spent a week in Vancouver WA hosted by our dear friends. Although I had been to Esther Short Park on vacation on two previous occasions in the 80's & 90's, I was delighted to see how this ...  more »
Google
  • One of the oldest landmarks in Vancouver. Usually well-kept and the variety of flowers are a nice touch. I've been going to this park for many years and have always had good experiences. Many events (Wine and Jazz fest, Concerts) are held are various times throughout the year. During these events a multitude of tents, booths, eateries are set up at your convenience. My favorite event is probably "Hoops on the River" which is a premier 3v3 basketball tournament. All in all a wonderful park that is highly recommended by just about anyone
  • good spot for the farmers market. KIds play area is good. just be mindful of events going on near bye. Earlier in the am you may be explaining what a homeless person is to your kids.
  • This is a great city park. Old growth trees to provide shade. Well maintained and manicured. Has pretty Rose Garden that you can sit in middle of and "stop and smell the roses!" Nice play equipment for kids and cool water features that kids and big Kids can cool off in. Benches throughout to sit and enjoy people watching, enjoy some fresh air and talk to someone quietly. The park is Vancouver's living room. Throughout the year there are events here. Summer has live, free, concerts and movies featuring local musicians and current films. On weekends spring through fall the farmer's market is on the side of the park which is convenient to shop and then enjoy stroll in park!
  • Good park, has a wayer feature that you can cool down at, playground for kids, close by restaurants and Starbucks. The only reason no 5 stars is that there are some homeless but very few. Still a safe place with family and kids.
  • What a lovely park! There is a water feature and a nice play ground. Nicely paved paths and lots of benches. I had the pleasure of going during the Hawaiian festival and a Farmer's market was there too!