Did you know Astoria is the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies? Astoria is a beautiful place to visit. Mike and I strolled along part of the Astoria Riverfront Walk which is about 5 miles long.
Clatsop Indians lived here for 1000’s of years before Captain Robert Gray, in 1792, sailed up the river in his ship Columbia Rediviva. He named the Columbia River for his ship! A few years later in 1805 Lewis & Clark spent the winter just south of Astoria at what would be called Fort Clatsop. By 1811 John Jacob Astor sent men to open a fur trading post and they named the settlement after him calling it Astoria. The war of 1812 brought a British war ship into the Columbia River to capture the fur trading post. But Astor’s men were one step ahead of them and had already sold the post to the British NorthWest Company. The settlement was renamed Fort George and British owned between 1813 and 1818 when a treaty was signed with England establishing joint occupancy of Oregon Country. By 1846 the British were gone from Astoria.
Two major fires have devastated Astoria – the fires of 1883 and 1922. In 1883 the Clatsop Mill was in the center of town and all of downtown was built on pilings on the river. A fire started at the mill destroying it, two docks and all structures east on Commercial Street between 14th and 17th. The fire of 1922 burned 32 city blocks (40 acres), and 33 buildings. Amazingly, none of the three churches in town were touched by the fire. The wind sifted each time the fire got close.
We visited Maritime Memorial Park.
The great Columbia River, the mouth of which is known as ‘The Graveyard of the Pacific’. More than 200 ships and over 2000 boats have been wrecked by the notorious Columbia River bar.
More than 2,000 large ships enter the river each year, headed to Portland, Vancouver, Kalama or Longview. The Columbia is the world’s second largest grain export gateway.
Travel times in days: Australia 17; Taiwan 16; Korea 14; Japan 12; Los Angeles 3; San Francisco 2; Seattle 1; Portland 1/2.