From Furs to Fun: Astoria, Oregon


Astoria, Oregon, spreads alongside the financial institution of the Columbia River, 10 miles upstream from the Pacific Ocean. Established in 1811 as an outpost of John Jacob Astor’s Pacific Fur Firm, Astoria, named for the industrious German immigrant who had based the enterprise, was the primary American settlement west of the Rockies. When the fur commerce’s luster pale, the city turned to lumbering, transport, and fishing. Cannery and mill staff, sailors, and fishermen packed Astoria’s brothels and 57 saloons. Per capita, the town was “maybe probably the most depraved place on earth,” wrote the Oregonian. A growth/bust sample set in. World Warfare II introduced prosperity—and peril. One of many conflict’s few seaborne assaults on the Decrease 48 got here in June 1942 when the crew of Japanese submarine I-25 shelled close by Fort Stevens. Within the Fifties, Astorian Maila Nurmi gained fame as TV horror flick hostess Vampira. Native inventor Eben H. Carruthers revolutionized fish canning in 1960 with a machine that sliced tuna into uniform shapes however by 1980 almost all of Astoria’s canneries had closed. As we speak, tourism has introduced new life to the waterfront. Guests can stroll the 6.4-mile Riverwalk, pattern the wares of micro-breweries and boutiques that occupy refurbished warehouses, and be taught extra about Astoria on the Columbia River Maritime Museum (crmm.org). —Richard J. Goodrich writes in Spokane, Washington

Industrial Road, displays the town’s boomtown days. (darryl brooks/alamy inventory picture)

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