"ASTORIA - FIRST IN OREGON" Top 5 Page for this destination Astoria by mtncorg

Astoria Travel Guide: 77 reviews and 255 photos

The first European settlement in Oregon was established here with John Jacob Astor’s Fort Astoria in 1810. Fort Astoria was to be the main fur trading post for Astor’s Pacific Fur Company, but timing is everything. Two years later, the US and Great Britain were at war and there was little Astor could do when the British, and rival Hudson Bay Company, occupied the fort. After the War of 1812 was settled, the Pacific Fur Company was able to eventually reclaim their fort, but Astoria took its time taking off, even with the good public relations work delivered by novelist Washington Irving’s book, “Astoria”. The first post office west of the Rocky Mountains was established here in 1847, but the ensuing Gold Rush to California, the focus of new settlement in the better agricultural lands of the Willamette Valley and the ability of sea-going vessels to push up river closer to these new settlements all combined to put Astoria on the backburner. It was not until 1876 that the town was incorporated, by which time Portland and other upriver ports had quashed the Astorian dream of becoming the great port of the Columbia. The town turned successfully to timber and fishing. These industries fueled the development of the town until both industries in Astoria collapsed in the mid to late 20th century - the legendary salmon runs dried up with the development of hydroelectric dams upriver that Woody Guthrie sang about in the 1930’s while the forest industry ran out of prime old growth timber. Astoria hit the skids and people began to move away. But its earlier era of glory helped the town stem the bleeding somewhat in recent years. The combination of art deco and Victorian architecture as well as a pretty setting when it is not raining - and since most tourists show up in the summer, the weather is not all bad - resulting in a modest tourist boom. The town has helped make the town somewhat of a destination with the development of its riverfront and with the advent of the trolley. The main problem remains, however. What to do after October 15?! Tourism dies quite quickly with Fall rains and not everyone in town can find work as a Columbia Bar Pilot. That said, Astoria is my favorite town on the Northwestern Coastline of the US - not including the Puget Sound here. There is no beach, but you are not far from it. You have a fascinating town that is still a working town, but with those fringes, like brewpubs, nice restaurants, restored theaters and an eye to the past and future.

  • Last visit to Astoria: Jul 2008
  • Intro Written Jul 31, 2008
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Reviews (9)

Comments (1)

  • travelfrosch's Profile Photo
    Aug 10, 2008 at 2:29 PM

    We visited Astoria awhile back. The column was nice, but it was foggy that day, so no nice views. Sara really liked the sea lions. I wish I knew about the brewery! ;) Nice page!

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