city of Astoria is the
county seat of Clatsop
County, Oregon, United States. Situated near the mouth of the Columbia River, the city was named after the
(and first millionaire) John Jacob Astor. His fur trading
company founded Fort
Astoria at the site in 1810.
incorporated by the Oregon
on October 20, 1876.
Located on the south shore of the Columbia, the city is served by
the Port of Astoria with a deep-water port. Transportation
includes the Astoria Regional Airport with U.S. Route 30
and U.S. Route 101 as the main highways, and
the 4.2 mile Astoria – Megler Bridge connecting to neighboring Washington across the river.
The population was 9,813
at the 2000 census
. As of
2007, the state estimate raised it to 10,045 residents.
The Methodist Mission at Astoria in
Lewis and Clark
Expedition spent the winter of 1805-1806 at Fort Clatsop, a small log structure south and west of modern day
View of Astoria in 1868
The expedition had hoped a ship would come by to
take them back east, but instead endured a torturous winter of rain
and cold, then returned east the way they came. Today the fort has
been recreated and is now a national monument
John Jacob Astor's Pacific Fur
Company sent the Astor
Expedition that founded Fort Astoria as its primary fur-trading post in the Northwest,
and in fact the first permanent U.S. settlement on the Pacific
It was an extremely important post for American
exploration of the continent and was influential in establishing
American claims to the land.
British explorer David
was the first European to navigate the entire length
of the Columbia River
Thompson reached the partially constructed Fort Astoria at the
mouth of the Columbia, arriving two months after the Pacific Fur
Company's ship, the Tonquin
The Pacific Fur Company failed, however, and the fort and fur trade
were sold to the British in 1813. The house was restored to the
U.S. in 1818, though the fur trade would remain under British
control until American pioneers following the Oregon Trail
began filtering into the port town
in the mid-1840s. The Treaty of 1818
established joint U.S. - British occupancy of territory west of the
to the Pacific
Ocean. In 1846 the Oregon Treaty
the Oregon Boundary Dispute
with Britain ceding all right to the mainland south of the 49th Parallel
, a prominent
American writer with a European reputation, was approached by John
Jacob Astor to mythologize the three-year reign of his Pacific Fur
(1835), written while Irving was Astor's
guest, cemented the importance of the region in the American
psyche. In Irving's words, the fur traders were "Sinbads of the
wilderness," and their venture was a staging point for the spread
of American economic power into both the continental interior and
into the Pacific.
Territory grew and
became increasingly more settled, Astoria likewise grew as a
port city at the mouth of the great river that
provided the easiest access to the interior.
The first U.S.
Post Office west of the Rocky
was established in Astoria in 1847. In 1876, the
community was legally incorporated. It attracted a host of
immigrants beginning in the late-nineteenth century: Scandinavia
settlers, primarily Finns, and
Chinese soon became significant parts of the population. The Finns
mostly lived in Uniontown, near the present-day end of the
Astoria-Megler Bridge, and took fishing jobs; the Chinese tended to
do cannery work, and usually lived either downtown or in bunkhouses
near the canneries. In 1883, and again in 1922, downtown Astoria
was devastated by fire, partly because it was mostly wood and
entirely raised off the marshy ground on pilings. Even after the
first fire, the same format was used, and the second time around
the flames spread quickly again, as collapsing streets took out the
water system. Frantic citizens resorted to dynamite, blowing up
entire buildings to stop the fire from going further.
has served as a port of entry for over a century and remains the
trading center for the lower Columbia basin, although it has long
since been eclipsed by Portland, Oregon and Seattle,
Washington as an economic hub on the coast of the Pacific Northwest.
economy centered around fishing, fish processing, and lumber. In
1945, about 30 canneries could be found along the Columbia;
however, in 1974 Bumblebee
moved its headquarters out of Astoria, and gradually
reduced its presence until 1980 when the company closed its last
Astoria cannery. The timber industry
likewise declined; Astoria Plywood Mill, the city's largest
employer, closed in 1989, and the Burlington Northern and
Santa Fe Railway
discontinued service in 1996.
the Astoria-Megler Bridge was opened; it completed U.S. Route 101
and linked Astoria with Washington on the opposite shore of the Columbia.
Today, tourism, Astoria's growing art scene, and light
manufacturing are the main economic activities of the city. It is a
port of call for cruise ships
1982, after $10 million in pier improvements to accommodate cruise
ships. To avoid Mexican ports of call during the Swine Flu outbreak of 2009
, many cruises
were re-routed to include Astoria. The residential community
Astoria in June 2009.
addition to the replicated Fort Clatsop, a popular point of
interest is the Astoria
Column, a tower high built atop the hill above the town,
with an inner circular staircase allowing visitors to climb to see
a panoramic view of the town, the surrounding lands, and the
Columbia flowing into the Pacific.
The column was built by
the Astor family
in 1926 to commemorate
the region's early history.
Since 1998, artistically-inclined fishermen and women from Alaska
and the Pacific Northwest have traveled to Astoria for the Fisher Poets Gathering
, where poets
and singers tell their tales to honor the fishing industry and
Astoria is also the western terminus of the TransAmerica Trail, a
route created by the
As of the census
of 2000, there were 9,813
people, 4,235 households, and 2,469 families residing in the city.
The population density
1,597.6 people per square mile (617.1 per km²). There were 4,858
housing units at an average density of 790.9 per square mile (305.5
per km²). The racial makeup of the city was:
5.98% of the population were Hispanic American
of any race.
were of German, 11.4% Irish, 10.2% English, 8.3% United States or American, 6.1% Finnish, 5.6% Norwegian, and 5.4% Scottish ancestry according to Census 2000.
There were 4,235 households out of which 28.8% had children under
the age of 18 living with them, 43.5% were married couples
living together, 11.2% had a female
householder with no husband present, and 41.7% were non-families.
35.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.6% had
someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average
household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.93.
In the city the population was spread out with:
- 24.0% under the age of 18
- 9.1% from 18 to 24
- 26.4% from 25 to 44
- 24.5% from 45 to 64
- 15.9% 65 years of age or older.
The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 92.3
males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.9
The median income for a household in the city was $33,011, and the
median income for a family was $41,446. Males had a median income
of $29,813 versus $22,121 for females. The per capita income
for the city was
$18,759. About 11.6% of families and 15.9% of the population were
below the poverty
, including 22.0% of those under age 18 and 9.6% of those
age 65 or over.
Geography and climate
Astoria is located above the equator .
According to the United
States Census Bureau
, the city has a total area of
10.6 square miles (27.5 km²), of which, 6.1 square
miles (15.9 km²) of it is land and 4.5 square miles
(11.6 km²) of it (42.18%) is water.
Astoria lies within the Marine
west coast climate
zone, with very mild temperatures
year-round, some of the most consistent in the continental United States
winters are mild for Astoria's latitude
generally above freezing, and wet. Summers are cool, although short
heat waves can occur. Rainfall is most abundant in late fall and
winter, and lightest in late summer. Snowfall is relatively rare
but does accumulate in small amounts in winter.
John Jacob Astor Elementary
The Astoria School District
has four schools, each of which serves a different age group of
- John Jacob Astor Elementary School, for K-3;
- Lewis & Clark Elementary School, for 4-6;
- Astoria Middle School, for 7 and 8;
- Astoria High School for 9-12
Astoria in popular culture
Shanghaied In Astoria
musical about Astoria's history, that has been performed in Astoria
every year since 1984.
Astoria was the setting of the 1985 movie The Goonies
, which was filmed on location.
Other movies filmed in Astoria include Overboard
, Short Circuit
, The Black Stallion
, Free Willy 2: The Adventure
, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
, Benji the
, The Ring Two
Into the Wild
The early 1960s television series Route 66
filmed the episode entitled
"One Tiger to a Hill" in Astoria; it was broadcast on September 21
An album by the rock band The Ataris
So Long, Astoria
cover art and a title song depicting the city.
Astoria is the first setting of the novel The Traveling Death
and Resurrection Show
is mentioned in Neal Stephenson's
novel Snow Crash as the best
place at that point in the novel to get to the USS
Astoria is also mentioned in the movie Eight Below
; it is the current hometown of
character Jerry Shepherd. Most recently it is mentioned in the
movie about the Coast Guard "The Guardian" with Kevin
The monster movie It
Came from Beneath the Sea
(1955) has a reference to
Astoria. The Navy tracks the beast (a giant Octopus), first to
Astoria, where it attacks people on shore, leaving sucker imprints
in the sand.
Other points of interest
Astoria has one sister city
designated by Sister Cities
- Brian Bruney, New York Yankees
- Clark Gable, actor, began his career
at the Astoria Theatre in 1922.
- Michael Hurley, American
- Ranald MacDonald, first man to
teach the English language in Japan
- Holly Madison, one of Hugh
Hefner's ex-girlfriends, born in Astoria but left before 2nd
- Donald Malarkey, World War II
U.S. Army soldier of the 101st
Airborne Division was portrayed in the TV series Band of Brothers.
- Joshua Marquis, District
- Maila Nurmi, aka 1950s TV horror
hostess Vampira and co-star of Ed Wood's Plan 9 From Outer Space
attended Astoria High School in the late 1930s.
- Elma MacGibbons reminiscences about her travels in the United
States starting in 1898, which were mainly in Oregon and
Washington. Includes chapter "Astoria and the Columbia River."
- PSU:Population Research Center
- In his Introduction to the rambling work, Irving reports that
Astor explicitly "expressed a regret that the true nature and
extent of his enterprizeand its national character and importance
had never been understood."
- The Ring (2002) - Filming locations
- "Route 66" One Tiger to a Hill (1962)
- Sister Cities International