July 26 2016 – Astoria, OR … Reminiscent of a Mini San Francisco

We spent the day visiting Astoria, a city of 10,000 people at the mouth of the Columbia River, just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean.  Founded 200 years ago at the beginning of Oregon’s North Coast, Astoria was named after the American fur trader, John Jacob Astor in 1811 and was the first permanent United States settlement on the Pacific Coast.

A replica

Fort Astoria - Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26sits on the site of the original for whose erection began on April 12, 1811 by thirty-three members of the Astor party who had sailed around Cape Horn to establish a fur trading post at the mouth of the Columbia River.

We first visited the Flavel House Museum,

Flavel House (a) - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26the home of Captain George Flavel (1823-1893), one of Astoria’s most influential citizens; a noted Bar Pilot on the Columbia River and prominent businessman.  The mansion was built as a retirement home for he and his wife, Mary (1839-1928), whom he married when she was just 14 years old.

Flavel House (Mary and George Flavel's Portraits) - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26

The Flavel House rests on a park-like setting covering an entire city block.  Its Queen Anne architectural style, popular during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, can be seen in it steeply pitched roof of irregular shape, a front-facing gable, asymmetrical facade, patterned shingles, cut-away bay windows, a one-story porch that extends along one or two walls and a stain-glass window.

Flavel House (Stain-glass Window) - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26Over the Front Door

It is approximately 11,500 sf and consists of two and one-half stories and four-story tower and full basement.  The Douglas Fir doors, mouldings and wainscoating were faux wood grained by a master craftsman to look like exotic hardwoods such as mahogany and burl rosewood.

Flavel House (Music Room) - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26Music Room

Flavel House (Parlor) - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26Parlor

Flavel House (Library) - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26Library

Flavel House (Dining Room and Breakfast Nook) - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26Dining Room

Flavel House (Kitchen) - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26Kitchen

Flavel House (George Flavel's Bedroom) - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26George Flavel’s Bedroom

Flavel House (Mary Flavel's Bedroom) - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26Mary Flavel’s Adjoining Bedroom

Six fireplaces grace the home and feature different imported tiles from around the world and elaborate hand-carved mantels.

Flavel House (Music Room Fireplace) - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26

Flavel House (Library Fireplace) - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26\ Flavel House (Dining Room Fireplace) - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26

The home also had the most modern conveniences of its day, including hot and cold running water and indoor plumbing and central heating.

Directly across the street is the Oregon Film Museum, housed in the former County Jail.

Clatsop County Heritage Museum - Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26It was interesting to see how sets are photographed … complete with LCD screens in from of the actors with their lines

Table in front of a Window

Studio Set, Oregon Film Museum - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26

Shooting a Car Scene

Car Set (a), Oregon Film Museum - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26From the outside

Car Set (b), Oregon Film Museum - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26From inside the car – script for driver and passenger appears on the screen to the left

and green screens behind them to set the environment.

2016-07-26 - Dick and Debbie in from of a Green Screen (a), Oregon Film Museum, Astoria, OF

The first documented film made in Oregon was a short silent film titled The Fisherman's Bride, shot in Astoria and released in 1909.  Since then, numerous major motion pictures have been shot in whole or in part in the state, including City Girl (1930), One Flew Over the Cookoo’s Nest, Animal House, Goonies, Stand By Me, Free Willy, Free Willy II, Wild, Drugstore Cowboy, Elephant, and Kindergarten Cop.

We considered taking the

Riverfront Trolly - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26 - Copy

for an informative ride along Astoria’s five mile Riverwalk but opted to do a self-guided tour of the city.

Maritime Memorial Park

Maritime Memorial Park (a) - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26 - CopyDesigned to commemorate the lives of the people who were intimately involved with maritime activities

Maritime Memorial Park (b) - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26

Maritime Memorial Park (c) - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26

Maritime Memorial Park Fountain - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26

Port of Astoria

Logs for Overseas Shipment (a), Port of Astoria - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26As we’d seen in Olympia, the export of forest products to Asia is a huge business

Logs for Overseas Shipment (b), Port of Astoria - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26

Logs for Overseas Shipment (c), Port of Astoria - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26Each log individual identified and tagged

The Clatsop County historical Museum

Clatsop County Heritage Museum - Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26Astoria's Old City Hall building, a neoclassical structure is home to the Historical Society's Archive and local history museum. Objects on display include a 1,000 year old hunting implement, finely crafted 19th century Chinook and Clatsop Indian baskets, and a sea otter pelt and beaver hat which illuminate the early history of Fort Astoria. Logging and fishing, the two economic mainstays since 1870, are represented in collections of tools, equipment, and photographs. The stories of the many diverse ethnic groups that settled in the area are depicted in the Emigrants Gallery.

A recent addition to the Heritage Museum's exhibits and located on the second floor is Vice and Virtue in Clatsop County: 1890 to Prohibition.

Clatsop County Heritage Museum (Savoy Saloon Bar) - Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26Savoy Saloon’s Bar

The gallery contains a partially reconstructed famous Astoria saloon and illustrates Astoria's seedy past when the town was known along the West Coast for its infamous saloons and brothels.

Clatsop County Heritage Museum (Love Seat from a local Brothel) - Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26Love seat from a famous Astoria Brothel

There is also an extensive exhibit of the Astoria-Megler Bridge

Astoria–Megler Bridge - Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26The Astoria-Megler Bridge stretches 4.1 miles from Astoria, Oregon, across the mouth of the Columbia River, to Point Ellice, Washington. The bridge replaced previous ferry lines running form Astoria to Washington.  The cantilever-span section, which is closest to the Oregon side, is 2,468 feet long, and its main (central) span measures 1,233 feet, through truss, and is flanked by five steel deck trusses, one hundred forty 80-foot concrete deck girder spans, and, at the Washington end of the bridge, seven 350-foot steel through truss spans; and is the longest truss bridge in North America. 

Freighter Passing Under the Astoria–Megler Bridge - Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26Freighter passing under the Bridge from Astoria Column Hill


While we did not visit any of the many churches in Astoria, their steeples were prominent throughout the city

Chruch Steeple (a) - Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26

Chruch Steeple (b) - Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26

Chruch Steeple (c) - Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26

Chruch Steeple (d) - Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26

Purple Sidewalk Glass

Sidewalk GlassWhen the streets were widened in 1923, the area under the sidewalks was retained for basement use and the glass blocks are skylight windows to the underground.

Astoria Column

Astoria Column - Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26The crown jewel of the city, Astoria Colum, rising 125’ atop a 600’ hill, was modeled after the Trajan Column in Rome.  The Astoria Column was designed to celebrate three historic events: the discovery of the Columbia River by Captain Robert Gray; the end of the Lewis and Clark Expedition; and the arrival of the ship Tonquin. Each of these events contributed to the states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and parts of Montana and Wyoming becoming part of the United States. It features a hand-painted spiral frieze that would stretch more than 500 feet if unwound.

Astoria Column  (Observation Deck)- Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26Observation platform (reached after 164 steps) from which children are actually encouraged to fly balsa wood airplanes (sold in the nearby gift shop)

Astoria Column  (Upper Third)- Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26

Astoria Column  (Middle Third)- Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26

Astoria Column  (Lower Third)- Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26

The artwork was created using a technique called sgraffito (“skrah-fee-toh”), an Italian Renaissance art form. Immigrant artist Attilio Pusterla, hired for his expertise in the technique, began transcribing the artwork onto the surface of the Column on July 1, 1926, with the help of his assistants. The work of transcribing the artwork was completed October 29, 1926.

Memorial to Chief Comomly


Memorial to Chief Comcomly, Astoria Column Hill - Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26Commemorating Chinook Chief Comcomly, is the likeness of a native canoe into which the deceased were placed together with all of their possessions and let float away … with their names ever to be mentioned again.

Maritime Museum

USCGC Albert (WMEC 630) - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26Berthing port for the U.S. Coast Guard’s Cutter “USCGC Albert” (WMEC 630)

Lighthouse Ship Columbia - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26Lightship “Columbia”

USCG Pilot Boat Peacock - Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26Ocean Pilot Ship “Peacock”

2016-07-26 - Dick with Anchor, Columbia River Marine Museum - Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26Freighter’s Anchor

Pilot Boat in Action

We were able to see an actual pilot boat at work

Pilot Boat Headed to Freighter - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26Leaving its berth

Pilot Boat alongside a Freighter - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26And coming alongside a freighter

Pilot Transferring to a FreighterPhoto of hos the port and river pilots still transfer from the pilot boats to and from the ships they will be guiding into the port of Astoria and/or up the Columbia River

The Mystery of the Old Pilings

Entering Astoria and all along the waterfront, we were taken by the slowly decaying pilings

Grassed-tufted Pilings, Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26

Freighters Lying(a)  off Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26

Pilings on Waterfront - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26

Pilings and Several Freighters - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26Most of the pilings once supported fish canneries, packing houses, warehouses and wharfs.  Some of the pilings supported flourmills. Still others provided the foundations for other businesses, bars and restaurants, brothels and even private homes.  Many of these building were lost in one of teh city's tragic fires.

Pier 39

J.N. Hanthrone Cannery - Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26The J.O. Hanthorn Foundation’s preservation of the Columbia River Cannery (accessible only over a narrow wooden-planked bridge),

Wooden Bridge to the Pier 39 Hanthorn Cannery Museum - Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26A company best known for its

 J.N. Hanthrone Cannery (Columbia River Fishery Bumble Bee Logo) - Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26is the oldest cannery still standing on the Columbia River.  Although the processing lines have been removed, J.N. Hanthrone Cannery (Columbia River Fishery Bumble Bee Canning Line) - Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26

many artifacts are on display

J.N. Hanthrone Cannery (Columbia River Fishery Cannery Line) - Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26as are two really informative videos, one taken from an old television show showing the lines in operation and interviews with plant owners and workers, and the other a series of interviews with men who fished for a living, often in small boats.

J.N. Hanthrone Cannery (Columbia River Fishery Boats) - Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26

J.N. Hanthrone Cannery (Gill Net Fishing Boat Bumble Bee 47) - Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26

J.N. Hanthrone Cannery (Columbia River Bow Picker) - Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26

And of course …

Interesting Buildings

Hotel Astoria - Astorra, OR - 2016-07-26Astor Hotel

Liberty Theater - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26Liberty Theater

Courthouse Architecture - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26Courthouse


Gull on Piling - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26

Immature Gull on Piling - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26




[Unknown] Blue Flowers  - Flavel House - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26

Daisies  - Flavel House - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26

Public Trash Receptacles

Whereas other cities display painted horses, cows, dolphins or other animals, Astoria celebrates it history of the Salmon industry with decorative trash receptacles made in the image of former can of salmon canned in the city.  

Salmon Can Shaped Trash Cans (b) - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26

Salmon Can Shaped Trash Cans (a) - Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26

Building Murals

Sailing Building Mural, Astoria, OR - 2016-07-26

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