A five-acre gem in the heart of Vancouver, Esther Short Park is the oldest public square in the state of Washington. It was established in 1853, when it was bequeathed to the city by its namesake. Today, it is anchored at its southeast corner by the 69-foot Salmon Run Bell Tower, made possible by generous donations from Burgerville founder and philanthropist, the late George Propstra and his wife Carolyn. A Glockenspiel diorama emerges from the tower on a regular schedule to depict a story of the Chinook Indians.
Some years ago, Esther Short Park was unkempt and crime- and drug-ridden. Mayor Royce Pollard, responding to citizen complaints, made the park’s renovation his personal project. A little over a decade later, the park had transformed into the inviting community hub it is today. Propstra is credited for spurring new development in the park, first donating $2 million to park improvements and then, later, contributing $1.3 million to build the bell tower. Private donations of $3.6 million and city investment of $2 million were used in 1998 to redevelop the park. The playground equipment, donated by the Angelo family, is constructed in a Victorian theme that reflects the history of the park. The park has proven to be a catalyst that has contributed to a surge of economic development in downtown Vancouver.
The Esther Short Park is the place of the Wine And Jazz Festival featuring WAR, Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers, The Brubeck Brothers Jazz Quartet, Yellowjackets, The Rippingtons, Marcia Ball, Diane Schuur, and the legenendary Jose Feliciano.
8th and Columbia Sts, Esther Short Park, Vancouver, Washington 98660