95 miles NW of Portland; 20 miles S of Long Beach, WA; 17 miles N of Seaside
Astoria, situated on the banks of the Columbia River just inland from the river's mouth, is the oldest American community west of the Mississippi. More a river port than a beach town, Astoria's greatest attraction lies in its hillsides of restored Victorian homes and the scenic views across the Columbia to the hills of southwestern Washington. The combination of historical character, scenic vistas, a lively arts community, and some interesting museums make this one of the most intriguing towns on the Oregon coast. Although it still has seamy sections of waterfront, the town has been busy the past few years developing something of a tourist-oriented waterfront character.
Astoria's Euro-American history got its start in the winter of 1805-06 when Lewis and Clark built a fort near here and established an American claim. Five years later, in 1811, fur traders working for John Jacob Astor arrived at the mouth of the Columbia River to set up a fur-trading fort that was named Fort Astoria. During the War of 1812, the fort was turned over to the British, but by 1818 it reverted to American hands. When the salmon-canning boom hit in the 1880s, Astoria became a bustling little city -- the second largest in Oregon -- and wealthy merchants began building the ornate, Victorian-style homes that today give Astoria its historic character.
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