Astoria is the cradle of civilization in the Pacific Northwest. The town has prospered from a dramatic location between high forested hills and the mighty Columbia River near its outlet to the Pacific Ocean. In this favored locale, it’s not surprising that this was once the “salmon canning capital of the world.” The lively downtown still meets the needs (from bawdy and basic to upscale) of mariners and loggers as well as visitors.
Lewis and Clark wrote about the very wet winter of 1805-6 at the nearby site of Fort Clatsop. The oldest permanent American settlement west of the Rocky Mountains dates back to the erection of Fort Astoria in 1811. John Jacob Astor chose this townsite as the westernmost of his fur trading posts extending back to St. Louis. Fishing, canning, and maritime activities were Astoria’s most important industries, along with logging, for well over a century. The completion of the Astoria Column in 1926 with its observation deck overlooking the Columbia River, the waterfront’s striking Maritime Museum in 1962, and the graceful bridge to Washington in 1966, each reinforced Astoria’s growing role as a travel destination.
Today, Astoria is endowed with one of Oregon’s greatest collections of buildings on the National Historic Register. Many Victorian structures now house museums, restaurants and lodgings. Recent complete restoration and upgrade of the Hotel Elliott heralds the emergence of upscale tourism while the history, architecture, natural grandeur, and maritime industries continue as key ingredients to Astoria’s bright future.
For more information, go to Astoria-Warrenton Chamber of Commerce.
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