1-440 Memorandum for The Adjutant General, April 23, 1937

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: April 23, 1937

Memorandum for The Adjutant General

April 23, 1937 Vancouver Barracks, Washington

Memoriam on Vancouver Barracks Reservation to Hudson Bay Post.

1. There has been some correspondence in the past over the desire of citizens of Vancouver to secure the agreement of the War Department for the erection on the reservation, through congressional appropriation, of a replica of the Old Hudson Bay Trading Post, at the site of an old (and now highly controversial) apple tree.1 (See letter AGO—000.45, Vancouver Barracks, 3-25-35, Misc. D). Recently a committee of Citizens of Vancouver called on me, in the hope of securing a reconsideration by the War Department.

2. I have examined the records on file, including General Parsons’ Statement in his indorsement of April 29, 1935,2 and I have gone over the ground. Also I have had available a map of 1845 furnished from the records of the Hudson Bay Company in London, England (photostat enclosed).

The actual site of the trading post should not be made available for the erection of a replica, and it is not desired. The plot which the citizens desire to obtain is on the lane leading from the old landing to the trading post. It is very conveniently accessible from the town of Vancouver, at the eastern foot of 2nd street, and it is ground once intimately connected with the daily life and activities of the old trading post. That the much advertised apple tree happens to be on this piece of ground, is unimportant to the main issue. In my opinion the history and age of the tree is a matter of conjecture. It is very old and it is located on the edge of the trace of the lane which led (and still leads) up from the landing place on the Columbia to the site of the trading post. The blue print of the military reservation in 1859, made by Captain Geo Thom, topographical engineer, shows a tree or trees at the approximate site of the disputed tree.

3. The plot of ground desired for the replica of the post (blue print attached) is little used and until a few months ago was rather unsightly. It is a portion of the post—or reservation—rarely visited except by the working parties hauling coal or wood. The erection of a replica of the trading post—slightly reduced in size— would actually improve the appearance of the reservation and would introduce a very interesting feature, where now there is nothing to please the eye. I see no inconvenience to the post, provided the necessary stipulations were made to insure that no exits were permitted leading into the reservation from the stockade, and that its maintenance is properly guaranteed.

4. Since the War Department made formal statement in this matter on May 27, 1935, I am submitting this letter direct in rather a confidential manner, to ascertain if there is a possibility of favorable reconsideration before taking up the matter more formally.3

G. C. Marshall

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the Adjutant General’s Office 1917- (RG 407), 000.45, Vancouver Barracks [3-25-35], National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed memorandum signed.

1. In early 1935, a citizens group, led by Mrs. Fay G. Peabody, had asked the War Department to permit them to construct a half-sized replica on a portion of the Vancouver Barracks reservation near what was locally considered to be the oldest apple tree in the northwest. (Peabody to Dern, March 25, 1935, NA/RG 407 [000.45, Vancouver Barracks (3-25-35)].)

2. Responding to Mrs. Peabody’s request, the Vancouver Barracks commander at that time, Brigadier General James K. Parsons, urged rejection of the petition on the grounds that the army would need the proposed site in the event of a mobilization and that there was no evidence that the apple tree in question had any historical significance. (Fourth Indorsement, Parsons to Commanding General, Ninth Corps Area, April 29, 1935, ibid.)

3. When the War Department turned down Mrs. Peabody’s request, it was on the grounds that the actual site of the old fort was on that portion of the reservation “now used for a flying field and for other purposes." (Acting TAG to Peabody, May 27, 1935, ibid.) To Marshall’s memoriam, Major General Edgar T. Conley (U.S.M.A., 1897), the army adjutant general, replied: “It appears that the new location now desired by the Vancouver citizens may meet the objections raised in the former refusal. While it is impossible to state now the final action upon a formal request, it appears worthwhile to have such a request resubmitted.“ (TAG to Marshall, May 22, 1937, ibid.)

Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), pp. 534-535.

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