One of the more incredible places I have ever been has to be Astoria, Oregon. There are so many interesting things to see and the setting couldn’t be more beautiful. The mighty Columbia river ends it’s 1,243 mile journey here as it meets the Pacific Ocean. Downtown Astoria hugs the waterfront and its steep streets and neighborhoods rise precipitously from the river and carpet Coxcomb hill.
Everywhere there is green and an incredible view of the mighty Columbia or the Pacific Ocean. Astoria was named for John Jacob Astor. His American Fur Company established an outpost here in 1811. The Lewis and Clark expedition finally reached the Pacific Ocean here in 1805 and constructed Fort Clatsop not far from present day downtown Astoria where they hunkered down for the winter. The site is now a National Monument.
Astoria has seen it’s ups and downs as it was destroyed by fire several times just like most western towns. Once upon a time there was a very large fishing and processing industry presence in Astoria but that industry packed up bit by bit and moved along. Timber was king for a time and even brought in the railroad but eventually that industry died off too in the local area.
The economy of Astoria is now mostly dependent upon tourism and the arts community. The area has such an incredibly rich History. First, the Clatsop Indians inhabited the area for thousands of years. These Indians enjoyed abundant fish and fur and had few enemies. If there was a paradise for Native Americans, the Clatsop Indians were living in it.
In 1792 Captain Robert Gray, an American Merchant sea captain, came upon the entrance to the Columbia river and he named it in honor of one of his ships, the Columbia Rediviva. Astoria is the oldest American settlement west of the Rocky Mountains and it had the first U.S. Post Office west of the Rockies established in 1847.
Today there are so many interesting things to do in Astoria that it is hard to capture them all in one article. The waterfront downtown is a must visit as the Columbia River Maritime Museum with it’s lightship Columbia, is located there along with numerous shops and restaurants.