Poised at the mouth of the Columbia River, Astoria has seen and made a lot of history. This year the city celebrates its bicentennial, marking 200 years of importance — not just to Oregon but to the country as a whole.
These four Astoria residents offer an introduction to the historic character of this misty port town and the countless stories that await visitors. Perhaps no one in Astoria has more to say about its significance than Mac Burns, the executive director of the Clatsop Country Historical Society and the Oregon Film Museum. His enthusiasm and insight alone make both sites worth visiting. Burns tells the captivating tale of Astoria’s discovery, founding, and role in early American history.
Enthusiastic is an understatement for how Robert “Jake” Jacob feels about his hometown. Born and raised in Astoria, Jacob’s adventures took him to bigger cities before leading him back. His vision and abiding love of Astoria helped bring the city’s now-beloved trolley to life, restore and reinvigorate the historic Liberty Theater, and create the Cannery Pier Hotel, a boutique hotel perched right on the river at the base of the Astoria-Megler Bridge.
A sense of hospitality and a can-do attitude brought beer lovers Chris Nemlowill and Jack Harris to Astoria’s classic Fort George and Lovell Buildings, where they now run Fort George Brewery & Public House. Serving up serious beer and delicious pub grub for locals and visitors alike, Fort George is a perfect example of the new energy in an old town.
The heart of the Astoria’s history is Fort Clatsop, where legendary explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark spent a brutal winter. Jill Harding, chief of Visitor Services at Fort Clatsop, loves to share this rich narrative of our state’s first great port city with visitors to Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.