Today on the Land Use Trail: Astoria

Throughout the year, we'll be featuring stops on our Land Use Trail. Today, November 12: Astoria, a city with deep history and a bright future.

About: ‚ÄčAstoria is located in the most northern tip of the coast, near the mouth of the Columbia River. A popular filming location, Astoria’s coastal small town charm can make a person feel right at home. Local residents have also banded together to promote the downtown, reviving the elegant Elliot Hotel and restoring the famed Astoria Column. It's no wonder Astoria was recently named among Smithsonian Magazine's Best American Small Towns.

Our Policy Director, Mary Kyle McCurdy, says Astoria is one of her favorite places in Oregon. She writes: “One of the most breathtaking views in Oregon is from Coxcomb Hill, where the Astoria Column stands, overlooking the mouth of the Columbia River. One can view the powerful confluence of the river and ocean, from the Cascade Range to the horizon, and imagine what this region looked like to native peoples and explorers hundreds of years ago.

Astoria has successfully  invested in its history and location, and focused on keeping a vital downtown.  This is apparent in things like the Columbia River Maritime Museum, Aquatic Center, riverfront trolley, farmers' market, and preservation and restoration of its beautiful stock of historic homes and retail buildings. Astoria honors its place in geography and time.”

Key Fact: Astoria is sometimes called “Little San Francisco,” thanks to its hills and Victorian architecture.

Another Cool Fact: Astoria is named after John Jacob Astor, who actually never visited Astoria. Astor commissioned an American fur-trading post at the site, sending two parties (one by sea and one overland) to found it. (It didn’t go so well.) During the War of 1812, British troops occupied Astoria and it was known as Fort George. In 1818, a treaty with England established joint occupancy of the Oregon Country, as it was called then. The British did not completely vacate Astoria until 1846.


Learn More:

Going to Astoria? Share your photos with us! We'll pass them on.

See the whole Land Use Trail, featuring exceptional Oregon natural places, communities, and working lands from every corner of our state.

Help us create more walkable communities across Oregon at Or, through December 31, 2013, make your gift through the Willamette Week Give!Guide and earn great rewards like free wine tastings.

Text (except McCurdy quote) by Communications Intern Laura Waddick. Photo by David Grant, via Flickr. Creative Commons.