Astoria & Fort Clatsop
Astoria stands on the Oregon side of the mouth of the Columbia River. This was where the 1804 to 1806 Lewis & Clark expedition reached the Pacific Ocean and they built Fort Clatsop as their base for the winter of 1805-6 before they commenced their return journey. In 1811 fur trader John Jacob Astor had Fort Astoria built as a trading post at the mouth of the Columbia River. As Oregon was settled, Astoria grew as a port and it attracted many settlers from Scandinavia. In the early 20th century it became a major centre for fishing and fish processing with canneries lining the banks of the river. The last cannery closed in 1980, and tourism is now the main industry.
'Arrival' by Stanley Wanlass, Fort Clatsop
The place where Lewis and Clark built their 1805-6 winter quarters lies about 6 kilometres (4 miles) south of Astoria. Forming part of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, the Visitor Center at Fort Clatsop tells the story of their famous expedition. On display in the Visitor Center is this life-size bronze statue called ‘Arrival’, which was commissioned for the 175th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark expedition. In this statue Stanley Wanlass depicts Lewis with his arms spread out, Clark with quill pen sketching a flounder being shown to him by a Clatsop Indian, and Lewis’s dog Seaman looking on. We visited in really wet weather and were advised by the rangers that the weather had not changed. Lewis and Clark were here for 106 days and it rained on all but 12 of them.
Astoria-Megler Bridge & Cannery Pier Hotel, Astoria
With the fish processing industry dying, Astoria could easily have become a remote backwater isolated from the main transport routes further east that go through Portland. The opening of the Astoria-Megler Bridge in 1966 ensured that this did not happen, making the Route 101 a through route from the Canadian border to the Mexican border. At 6,545 metres (21,474 feet) long it is the longest continuous truss bridge in North America. Beside the bridge the Cannery Pier Hotel gives it guests a grandstand view of the passing shipping.
Workers building reconstruction of Fort Clatsop
A replica of the fort built by the Lewis and Clark expedition was constructed in 1955 from sketches in the journals of William Clark. In 2005 the replica of the fort burned down, an unfortunate accident to happen during the bicentennial of the expedition. The destruction of the replica enabled a new one to be built that took account of more recent research. This picture shows the new replica under construction in October 2006 and it was completed in December 2006.
Derelict wharf, Astoria
Based on its foundation back in 1811 Astoria lays claim to being the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies, although the Fort was actually owned by the British from 1813 to 1818. By the beginning of the 20th century it had a population of nearly 9,000. The glory days when canneries lined the river bank have long gone, but there are still some signs of Astoria’s fishy past. Many of the old wharfs have been demolished or, as in the background of this picture, redeveloped. One or two old wharfs have been left to crumble into the sea, including this one by the Cannery Pier Hotel.
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