It is the oldest town site west of the Rockies! So, let the celebration begin. The best parties take the right people who offer planning with enthusiasm and experience.
Like Astoria residents Mac Burns and Paulette McCoy who teach listeners something new about their 200 year old hometown each week. Their radio program, “Adventures in History,” is heard on KAST AM radio each Saturday.
The Astor party arrived in Astoria just three months ahead of a British scouting party, led by explorer David Thompson. The party planted the US flag smack in the middle of town where a replica Fort Astoria stands today.
These day, the Fort George Brewing Company has set up shop near the fort replica and produces a namesake brew that’s caught on with a nation-wide crowd. Just like the nearby Liberty Theatre: a fully restored city centerpiece where there is always something new to see and do. Like the Fern Hill Glass Studio where anyone can stop in to watch molten glass take form as vases, mugs – even sea creatures.
It’s all rather remarkable when you consider that not so long ago, the entire town was wiped away in a devastating blaze that lasted for days. The Great Astoria Fire of 1922 destroyed 40 city blocks at a time when the country was already on the ropes. But the city fathers rebuilt the town – a sign of resilience, commitment and a true Oregon spirit.
This time they built on land, not wood, and shaped the town into what we see today: a place that draws folks from all over the world – including 19 cruise ships a year. That is no surprise really since Astoria’s front step is the mighty Columbia River and it’s enduring influence.
Outdoor recreation is easy to come by in this corner of the state –like razor clamming. It is so easy anyone can try with a clam gun on a low morning tide across a 12-mile long stretch of beach that you can drive across too.
For more information on Astoria’s Bicentennial, visit http://www.astoria200.org/
About the Author: Grant McOmie
Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.
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