Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
What do you do with a charming town like Astoria when the industry is essentially gone? It becomes a tourist attraction, although it is certainly not a ghost town. And what is more interesting to tourists than something they couldn't see at home? As a resident and having talked with many visitors, I believe Astoria's interesting and unusually picturesque waterfront is a big part of the draw. So most of the pilings will be left alone - at least, I hope so. I believe that many of the ones you see in this photo are slated for demolition at some time in the near future due to plans to build a controversial 4-story condo, both taller and wider than the existing building. I won't get into that here. Let's just say that many people enjoy Astoria's waterfront for its unique and picturesque qualities, including the dilapidated areas where buildings once existed. You can see a concrete pad in this photo, no longer flat, but slanted several directions. The sea birds, and especially the seagulls, congregate here until the tide comes up high enough to cover the cement, which it does frequently. A sign along the bank tells us that a church was one of the buildings occupying this location. At one time many of the the buildings on the waterfront were built over the river, and people could actually fish through holes in the board streets.
The imaginatively-designed building on the far right is the office and dispatch station for the River Pilots, and is connected by a wooden walkway to the shore just out of sight on the right. The docks beyond, at 17th Street, are home to the Coast Guard ship Steadfast and to the decommissioned Columbia Light Ship and Columbia Buoy. You can barely see the white peak of the roof of the Maritime Museum. More on that later, and also more of Astoria's watery ruins in days to come.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
The location is the corner of 13th Street and Exchange. In fact, this building and the small parking lot next to it take up the entire length of 13th Street (see the photo below). The most coveted locations for small businesses are a block and a half away on Commercial Street, so at the moment, this charming building sits empty.
This is the entirety of 13th Street. Or at least I think so. If you go just to the right outside this photo there's a narrow passage for foot and bike traffic that goes for one block, connecting Duane and Commercial, and may qualify as an extension of 13th Street. I'll save that photo for another day. Because of the disagreement between Shively and McClure in the 1800s, 12th and 13th Streets do not fall into a regular pattern in the city grid, as they would if it had all been gridded by one person or on one system. Thirteenth Street became a strange anomaly in the grid because of it.
I took this photo on a recent bright, clear day. Today it's overcast and, thankfully, cooler.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
We're also having red tide, which I understand is typical of August. It's not an illusion, but the water you see further out is really green, and the water close up is deep red-brown. It flows in and out on the tide almost as quickly as the clouds change formation. From the back deck today I could see the red come in and flow out several times in a matter of hours. I'd never watched this happen so closely before, and I was surprised by how discretely the colors remained separated. In the space of a couple of feet, the water changed color dramatically from red to green.
Many of the boats were out today because the salmon are making their way upstream. The gulls seemed to find the whole thing interesting, too, as you can see.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I believe that the building behind the float is a care facility for geriatric patients, but I'll check on it, or if you know, please tell me! It may have been part of the original St. Mary's hospital. I hate to throw info out there without checking, but business is calling. . . .
. Today is Watery Wednesday, and I'm using this photo as my contribution. After all, who can picture a Viking ship without thinking of water? See all the blue? You've seen plenty of water around Astoria. Today the water is representational and imaginary :)
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
This sunset photo is especially for Vogon Poet and my personally-chosen sister city of Livorno, an Italian port on the Ligurian Sea.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Here's a link recommended by Lee at Bend, Oregon, Daily Photo showing the old port building. Thank you!
Saturday, August 15, 2009
However, you can get an idea from this photo of what the houses are about in our town. I'm looking forward to posting many photos of whole houses and architectural detail. I love the details. They're everywhere you look, and most houses are unique and interesting in some way. It's hard to get bored while walking down (or up) the streets. Most of the homes are older, and, as I said, unique, if not quirky. While the buildings downtown include a lot of Art Deco or semi-Deco, the residential structures are often some form of Victorian or Craftsman Style (Arts and Crafts Movement), or a Scandinavian design. When a real estate agent can't pin down the style, the home is usually referred to as "Astoria Classic." There are a few that could actually be called Classical, or have elements of that style. I have some vague knowledge of these style, and I'll enjoy getting an education in the process of posting photos.
Notice that there's a round blue and white plaque just to the left of the door. This house has been designated as one of Astoria's historic homes. Unfortunately, the blue and white plaques are generic and don't give the reason the house was singled out. There are a number of homes around town that bear larger plaques describing the history and ownership of the buildings.
This home was once owned by the Thiel family, who owned various businesses in Astoria in previous decades. We'll see more of them later.
Friday, August 14, 2009
The bridge on the right goes to Washington, and the one crossing Young's Bay leads to the the towns of Warrenton and Hammond, then down the coast to Gearhart, Seaside, and points south along US 101.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Someday I'll be investigating the "steeper routes." I do know where some of them are!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I think this photo is wet enough for Watery Wednesday, with the river and the rain. Note the crewman in an orange slicker.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
As it turns out, there are quite a number of cemeteries within about 20 minutes of downtown Astoria, and many of them have older graves in them. Greenwood was established in 1891, and birth dates go back to the 1840s, and some probably earlier.
Monday, August 10, 2009
I'd been wondering what you call the style of the building behind the traffic, and I still don't know. It has a few pieces of ornamentation that remind me of the late 1800s and early 1900s, yet the clean lines look a bit like Art Deco without the flair. Here's an evening photo of the building I really like. It was taken from 12th Street, the cross-street at the left of this photo. Bronze Koi Beads is a cool business occupying the ground floor. It deserves its own photo one of these days. A medical supply store takes up the corner at the left. It's useful, but not as picturesque. Obviously, the top floor is up for grabs!
I chose this photo today for Mellow Yellow Monday, where you can find lots of photos featuring this happy color!
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Happy Scenic Sunday, everyone.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
The bridge looks like it has a nice coat of paint, but recently bids were taken to repaint it due to the lead used in the old paint. This is going to require hanging canvas or some other method of capturing the contaminated paint chips and dust, so it doesn't go into the river. I don't know how this will affect our scenic icon, but it will be a huge job, as the bridge is just over four miles long.
Although I've used this photo for Skywatch Friday, our skies have not been uniformly blue. In fact, typically our current weather is heavily overcast all morning with blue skies seen only in the late afternoons.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
There is history here, too. Thirteenth Street was the dividing line between land owned by John Shively and John McClure, both of whom arrived in Astoria in 1843 with land claims filed in Washington, D.C. The story goes that the men didn't like each other and could not agree on what size a lot should be. Because of this, the lots west of 13th ("McClure's Astoria") and east of 13th ("Shively's Astoria") did not align evenly, and you can still see a number of odd curves in certain streets and other streets that don't go through from one block to the next. Thirteenth Street is only half a block long in the downtown area, with another block made into a narrow passageway. But in the residential section, 13th Street doesn't exist at all. There's a very wide block between 12th and 14th Streets, with the cross street of Grand stopping and starting again at a different latitude. Someone connected the pieces with this intriguing leafy path.
My thought for Think Green Thursday is this: Wouldn't it be "grand" if half our city streets looked like this? Maybe we'd all be walking more!
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
The pilings you see here are from earlier buildings, now gone. The seagulls, cormorants, herons, and (in season) ducks love to roost here.
For other photos featuring red, take a look at Ruby Tuesday.
Monday, August 3, 2009
For more photos featuring yellow, check in with Mellow Yellow Monday.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
I hung around Astoria Pioneer Cemetery long enough to catch this photo of the sun going down. I described the cemetery in some detail in yesterday's post and I loved the comments you all made! There were also some great comments including an eerie personal experience (quite a coincidence) on the Astoria, Oregon, Daily Photo's Facebook Page.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
The marker above gives a brief history of the cemetery. I was glad it was there, answering some of my questions. It says:
"Astoria Pioneer Cemetery. Deeded by James Welch to Astoria on April 22, 1865. By 1891, 498 burials were recorded. There were also numerous unlisted interments. Bodies from abandoned cemeteries were brought here. Many graves and markers were later removed by the families. Use was discontinued around 1900."
The fact that this information is delivered on a grave marker gives an eerie sense that the location is more like a theme park than a real cemetery. The park, like so many older cemeteries, is a peaceful and beautiful place to visit. But unlike so many older cemeteries, there is very little to see or read here. Most of the ground simply looks like a park with grass and trees, robins and squirrels. There are few markers, and no flat headstones at paced intervals. There's an attractive split-rail fence surrounding the green. The short history makes me think of the Catacombs of Paris, and the city's small cemeteries being emptied out for reasons of overcrowding. Our own little cemetery is one more thing on my research list. I expect that bodies were moved here for many reasons, including, perhaps, a lack of regulation in this frontier town in the early days. Unfortunately, many of the few remaining markers are almost impossible to read, or at least they were almost impossible in the low light when I visited one evening.
I was happy to find this wonderful page online, part of a much larger web site called "findagrave.com." The Astoria Pioneer Cemetery page shows several photos of the cemetery and gives a complete list of the people interred there with photos and descriptions of the markers. A woman named Renee did a remarkable job of supplying information and photos to add to the history of Astoria's pioneers.