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Monday, August 31, 2009

Summer colors: Custard King

The purple and lavender building is Custard King. It's very popular during summer, when you can see people sitting at the sidewalk tables lapping at their ice cream cones before they melt. I took this photo from the River Walk near 16th Street. It's hard to tell here, but Marine Drive, the main thoroughfare, runs behind the trees and in front of Custard King. The big white building behind it is the Heritage Museum of the Clatsop County Historical Society, a substantial Classical building which was built in 1904 as Astoria's City Hall. The blue building is the Shallon Winery. The wood deck on the right was built by the city with picnic tables on the platform for anyone to use while enjoying a view of the river. Oddly, the only time I've gotten flea bites in Astoria was when I sat here eating sandwiches one day. I've never been back to use the tables, although I walk past often, because it's near home!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Pitted driftwood on the shore

I found this captivating log cast up on the rocks on the Columbia's banks the other day while walking along the River Walk somewhere between Safeway and the Maritime Museum. I don't know that I've ever seen a log with pitted, trailing patterns quite like this. I must have seen one at some time, since I doubt that its such an exotic species that its like hasn't been found on these shores before, but I really can't place it. If anyone knows, I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts. Coming across a picturesque piece of natural art like this just added to the beauty of the day, the calm and peaceful sense of having the good fortune to be able to stroll along the banks of such a beautiful river.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Boards and rails

The River Walk has been extended east and west of the main part of town in the last couple of years, and is a favorite place for locals and visitors to enjoy the river. You can see the rails of the waterfront trolley, and of course, the Astoria-Megler bridge. To the right are more pilings, as shown in the last few posts, although these are at the west end of town, and the ones I showed previously are located downtown. The walk goes under the bridge and continues along the West Mooring Basin and the boat yards. Visitors who come by cruise ship can walk this way into town if they prefer walking to taking the buses provided. The River walk consists of different types of paving in different places. Here we see the boards that bridge the river. In other places the walk is paved or includes concrete sidewalks. I can remember not long ago when there was no boardwalk on the far west end of the walk, and you traversed the water by walking on the ties of the tracks.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Clark Gable in Astoria?

Clark Gable Plaque, Astoria, Oregon I know I was surprised when I first found this plaque a number of years ago. It didn't compute. Why here? Actually, there's been some question about whether the Clark Gable story is really true, but I looked up the answer on this web site, and they give some of their fascinating research. The building itself is a replacement for the Astoria Theatre that burned down in the big city fire of 1922; it's now a small one-story hospice connected with Columbia Memorial Hospital.

The plaque, located at the corner of 12th Street and Exchange, reads:

Located on this site, the building was
destroyed by fire in December, 1922

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pilings and more pilings along Astoria's waterfront

Yesterday Steffe wondered why the pilings and posts in this blog entry were left in place and allowed to decay. That photo was taken from the River Walk at 14th Street. Just two blocks up from there at 16th Street, you can see more of Astoria's typical waterfront scenery in today's photo. There are areas along the waterfront where the pilings and beams are thick like this and areas where they are less so. In the past, there were many buildings over the water. Once the huge cannery and fish-packing industries lost their exuberance here, they were no longer needed and they disappeared. I'm sure that it simply wasn't worth anyone's time and trouble to remove the pilings (and for what reason?). The town doesn't grow so fast that it needs this space, in fact, Astoria remains fairly static at about 10,000 people, probably due to its historically slow economy. There may be other factors that people will mention in the Comments, but I'm not an economist, and I'm still new to the area.

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

Where the ferry docked

Remains of the Ferry Landing, Astoria, Oregon These disintegrating pilings, posts, and pulleys are all that's left of the Astoria's old ferry landing. Located between today's U.S. Customs building and the 14th Street Dock, you can also see the edges of the slip where the Ferry loaded and docked. The ferry service crossed from Astoria to Washington between 1921 and 1966. There was no bridge during those years, and it was left to modern steel technology to devise one. The first ferry boat, called The Tourist, was built locally and carried fifteen cars and, of course, passengers. Originally begun and operated by a colorful Swede (Captain Fritz Elfving), the business was purchased and run by the State of Oregon in 1946.

Captain Elfving had a rival in the Union Pacific Ferry, docked just across the river. The "Ferry Wars" included the Union Pacific driving pilings in the water to block Elfving's boats, and Elfving ramming those pilings apart with his third boat, Tourist 3, to get them out of his way. Oddly enough, these drifting logs floated back to cause serious damage to the Union Pacific's landing. Elfving finally bought out his competitors in 1934. After Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941, Tourist No. 2 was commandeered and used to lay mines in the Columbia River.

Interesting photos and information on the history of Astoria's ferry operation can be found on a plaque at the 14th Steet Dock; in the book, Astoria, by Karen L. Leedom; and in the Astoria Heritage Museum.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The sea lions of Astoria

Sea Lions on the Dock, Astoria, Oregon These are Astoria's sea lions. Some call them famous, some call them infamous. Just don't ask a salmon how it likes sharing the same river.

Sea Lions, by Sheryl Todd Taken on Sunday, August 23, 2009.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Swimming upstream or down?

Salmon weather vane, Astoria, OregonI love the London Daily Photo's "London's Elephants" theme. As far as I know, Astoria has nothing quite so incongruous or unexpected on which to build a theme. I can think of anchors and salmon. I found this salmon weather vane overhanging the Columbia River on the Doc's on 12th building. As it happens, they're re-siding the facade, and the salmon got "caught" (visually) in the scaffolding. There was enough breeze blowing to cool the air and cause the metal salmon to shift directions almost as fast as a wriggling wet fish might do if it found itself out of its element (not elephant, sorry . . . see above). The real salmon are swimming upriver at the moment, and the water is full of them. As it happens, the scaffolding fits in nicely with Mellow Yellow Monday's color theme :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Where the pilot boat lives

Pilot Boat in dock, Astoria, Oregon This dock is home to the green and white pilot boat that takes pilots to and from the big ships on the Columbia River. The building has just had a new coat of paint and is looking quite picturesque and bright. A number of the buildings along the waterfront use the same color scheme. I think they look nice. I took this photo from the shoreward end of the dock at 12th Street, almost where I took this photo of Doc's on 12th, the building that houses Baked Alaska Restaurant and Lounge. In that photo, I was facing across the river. In this photo I'm facing upriver (east). Here's another picture of the red pilots' building. It's the one on the far right, taken from a block upriver, so you're seeing the other side of it.

The location of this photo is right along the River Walk. I love it that locals and visitors can watch the pilot boats come in and out of dock on a regular basis during their working day. This morning I got a fairly good shot of the pilot boat with one of the big ships, and I'll post it tomorrow or at least very soon.

We've been having utterly gorgous perfect weather here. Not too hot and not cold. But this is Astoria. I usually carry a jacket just in case, and today sitting the shade, I actually used it.

I hope you're all enjoying another Scenic Sunday.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A taste of color

Even under overcast skies, you can find shapes and colors to brighten the day and enliven a walk up or down the hilly streets of Astoria's residential districts.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Art Deco? Art Nouveau? Definitely imaginative . . .

Art Deco/Art Nouveau Building, Astoria, Oregon I think this is one of Astoria, Oregon's, most imaginative downtown buildings. It's hard for me to say whether it's more Art Deco or Art Nouveau, or a combination of the two. In any event, it's unique. I don't know the date it was built, but my guess is, around 1923. It's in the area that burned in the 1922 fire, and the style fits with the period of re-building.

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.

13th Street, Astoria, Oregon 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

Layers and colors

I was going to show you another cool Art Deco building today, but the natural phenomena on the river were irresistible. It's been warm the past few days, and that's typically followed by the "marine push," the layer of cool air, often formed into a dense cloud bank, that wends its way up the Columbia like a snake. It was a gorgeous day; it was strange to have visibility on our side of the river, and yet hear the deep booming of a ship's foghorn. But out on the river, the visibility was changeable, and the ships needed to make sure they they didn't surprise fishing boats and pleasure boats that were out in droves. There were even a couple of jet-skiers, which is rare for this part of the river. Above the lower cloud layer, you can see the hills in Washington. Above that is sky, and above that you can see a second layer of clouds at the top of the photo; above that, and outside the frame of the photo there was blue sky again. The position and density of the cloud layers ebbed and flowed all day long.

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

Astoria Regatta: Vikings on parade

We have another guest photographer today, as Stephanie Roley took this photo of the Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival Float during the August 15th Regatta parade in Astoria, Oregon. Many of Astoria's early settlers were Scandinavian, and people I know can still remember when you'd hear these native languages spoken on the street. This is no longer true today, although you occasionally hear the accents. I loved the viking ship and colorful blue water on this float. From left, the shields on the boat represent the flags of the US, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland. Thanks, Stephanie, for sending today's photo!

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

Welcome-home sunset

Sunset on the Columbia River, Astoria We arrived back in Astoria from Bend last night just as the sun was casting its glorious glow over land, water, trees, and all that exists here at "the end of the world," as it sometimes seems. We drove west on Highway 30 from I-5 at Longview, and as we neared the end of the road, the clouds crimsoned between the pines and firs. Not only crimson, but yellow, pink gray. . . . As Lee remarked, "This is the reason they call it 'The Sunset Empire.'" There were tantalizing glimpses of the sky as we travelled ever further west, hoping the color wouldn't fade by the time we reached Astoria. We finally gained the open and brilliant sky as the road broke free of the trees where Astoria ebmbraces the river's bank. Perfectly enough, there was a ship in view with its lights blazing in the twilight. Astoria is on the left, Washington on the right, and the heavy dark shapes on the horizon are two jetties, seen here because our view is from inside the East Mooring Basin. You may need to click the image to see/feel the details.

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

Regatta: US Coast Guard Search and Rescue demo

Coast Guard Demo, Astoria, Oregon - Photo by Jamie Schluckebier Jamie Schluckebier took this photo and sent it for today's blog post. The photo was taken Saturday evening during a US Coast Guard Search and Rescue demo as part of Regatta Weekend in Astoria. As most of you know by now, this massive body of water is the Columbia River, separating Oregon from Washington, and the bridge is the Astoria-Megler bridge, which joins the two states. The picture was taken from the 17th Street Pier adjacent to the Maritime Museum. I've been in Bend all week, so I missed the festivities. I've had a good time here, but I wish I'd been able to see that event! Thanks so much, Jamie, for sending this dramatic photo.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

West Mooring Basin, Astoria

West Mooring Basin, Astoria, Oregon, with Harbor Master's Office The building, which includes the Harbor Master's office, is seen here across the calm water of the West Mooring Basin. I took the photo on a bright Sunday earlier in the year; lately Astoria has been living under a blanket of clouds and wet weather. There are quite a lot of boats in this harbor, which is larger than the East Mooring Basin on the other end of town. You only see a few of them here. As my friend Lisa and I walked around to the other side of the building, we heard music emanating from the top story, and discovered that some denomination was holding church services there. I really don't know much else about the use of this building, but I like the photo for its peaceful and scenic aspects.

Here's a link recommended by Lee at Bend, Oregon, Daily Photo showing the old port building. Thank you!

Happy Scenic Sunday, everyone.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

When the sun shines . . . or not

A lovely old house in Astoria, Oregon With very few exceptions, Astorians wait until summer to paint or repair their houses. With our 70-plus inches of rain per year, this is probably a good idea. It's hard for paint to dry on wet wood, and who wants to work on the siding on a sloppy day if you don't have to. Of course, this month we've had plenty of rain and drizzly, overcast days. You can see there's no blue sky behind this interesting old home on the corner of 12th Street and Harrison, and the red flowers are not so vibrant under gray skies.

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

Astoria from the air, by Frank Wolfe

Astoria from the Air, photo by Frank Wolfe, Pacific County Branden Wilson sent me this photo taken on August 12, 2004, by Frank Wolfe of Pacific County Emergency Services in the state of Washington. Frank recently took Branden up for a similar view, and Branden obtained this photo and shared it with us. I've left it large so you can click in and see some landmarks. This looks like typical August weather. What you're seeing is the Columbia River on the right and Young's Bay on the left. The river still has a few miles to go before it reaches the ocean beneath the cloud cover. Of course, there's one of the ships in the river, apparently waiting until it's time to head up or down river. It has drifted sideways due to the river's changing tide.

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.

The River Walk I refer to so often runs along the right-hand side of the peninsula of Astoria. The Maritime Museum where the Coast Guard ships dock is the first white-roofed building from the bottom of the photo on the waterfront.

Happy Skywatch Friday . . . this time from the top! And many thanks to our guest photographer and to Branden Wilson.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

12th and Grand, Part 2: A brief odyssey

In most of my 100-plus posts on Astoria, Oregon, Daily Photo, I've limited the photos to one per day, following the suggested format, and also as a personal discipline (I post tons of photos on my personal blog). However, today I'm taking you on an odyssey. The length is only a few yards (or metres). In this post, I showed the uphill intersection of 12th and Grand, where 12th morphs from a street to a path "to where?" In today's post, I'm showing you where it goes. The photo above is the downhill side of the 12th and Grand intersection - they're actually quite a few yards apart, as Grand ends in one latitude and starts up again in another. I've taken the photo above looking up, up, UP, because that's how the land lies.

"Two paths diverged in a wood." The one to the left is a private drive. The path you can barely see going up the hill into the trees is the public "street" - here nothing more than a walking trail. The building to the left is currently the Church of Christ, and was at one time an obscure fraternal order. I'll have more on that someday if I re-photograph the building.

The beginning of the path is nicely paved, but steep, and made a little bit treacherous with loose stones and gravel. Anyplace as old as Astoria (the oldest European American community west of the Rocky Mountains), is going to have some wonderfully strange archaic places, and this is one of them.

A few feet up the path, you encounter a stairway to get up the steep slope. Let me tell you, it's old and somewhat slippery - hence, the hand rail.

Here are the tiny steps. Don't ask me what year they were installed. It's been awhile.

Now we break out into the light again onto a paved trail. The visual end point here is just about where the photo in the other post ended. You can see it's not very long.

From where I took the last photo, I turned around to go back down. You have two choices: the stairs on the right (shown above) or the dirt path on the left. I figured I wanted to go back down on my feet, not on my butt, so I chose the stairs. It's steeper than it looks.

Ah! The view from the bottom of the trail. You see Grand going away on the left, and 12th plunging down one of Astoria's steeper hills on the right, headed for the river. Ahead of us is one of the most beautiful old Italianate Victorian houses in town. I've heard that it has quite a history, and it will deserve a post all its own someday.

As a new resident, I don't have much history with this corner of town, and as I said in the first post about 12th Street and Grand, I had never taken the trail before, imagining that it was private property rather than a city street. I'll bet there are a number of Astorians who could tell tales about this hidden trail.

On the blog's Facebook Page, Branden Wilson said, "These are soo much fun to TRY and climb when it's raining cats and dogs." Bon Asher said, "Even more fun Branden, when we get the ice/snow!! haha" Sandra Wilson said, "so cool...we love these paths." Stephanie Roley commented, "I'm surprised you haven't used the path before. It has always been one my favorite ways to get up the hill. It doesn't seem quite as steep as some of the other routes but I wouldn't want to try the stairs in the rain."

Someday I'll be investigating the "steeper routes." I do know where some of them are!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fishing in the rain

It's fishing season, and the boats go out in all weather and at any time of day, often leaving Astoria on the Columbia River's strong outgoing tide to save on fuel. Here you can see faint lights on the trawler Sojourn directed toward the stern of the boat. There are also bright lights facing the bow that were not on when I took the photo. The illumination helps during heavy rain and fog, and in the dark of night, when the lights can be seen for miles. The trawlers head out to their ocean fishing grounds, where the rolled nets will be dropped, and the crew hopes to return with a boat-load of black cod.

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

Ruby red at Greenwood

Greenwood Cemetery, Clatsop County, Oregon Once again, it's Ruby Tuesday, and I chose this photo taken at Greenwood Cemetery on August 2nd. After all of the interested comments on the Astoria Pioneer Cemetery, Lee and I visited two cemeteries just south of Astoria to see what they were like. Greenwood is in an outlying area known as Lewis and Clark. The other was in Olney. The light area beyond the edge of the hill is the Lewis and Clark River, which pours into Young's Bay and then into the Columbia. I found both cemeteries interesting, but especially Greenwood. The setting was lovely, and although grass begins to turn brown here by July or August if it's not watered (and who waters with 70-plus inches of rain per year?) there were many eye-catching markers surrounded by forest. We surprised a doe and her fawn as we drove into the grounds, and they wandered back again to where we could get a good look at them before they bounded off on spring-like legs. I found the multi-ethnic character of this place intriguing. The tallest sculpture was that of an Indian leader. We found a grave stone of a young Jewish father who had been remembered recently with touching photos and clay toys made by his children. There was a marker showing a Japanese man with his American wife (or was that vice-versa?). The children were wearing kimonos. There were stones that I believe were for Chinese families. (In the other cemetery we stopped at, one of the stones was in Chinese characters.) By far the greatest number of names were Scandinavian, and one marker had a Viking ship carved on it. There are many treasures to find here along with the memories, and I'll be sure to make a trip back again when the light is better for taking photos. If you'd like a preview, check out this wonderful set of photos I found on Flickr.

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

Cruising carnival ride

Astoria, Oregon A carnival ride cruises down Marine Drive on Sunday, July 26. Sunday Market was in full swing, the weather was glorious, and everyone was headed to the beach. The carnival ride seems to be passing through town, maybe to one of the beach cities up or down the coast. Marine Drive is also Highway 30, and carries much of the beach-bound traffic from Portland and Seattle if they happen to be coming via the south bank of the Columbia River, which is a lot faster than the road on the north side, although you wouldn't guess it from the way the traffic looks here. This "crawl" of vehicles is unusual on a weekday or in winter, but is not untypical for a weekend day in summer . . . especially when the sun is out!

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

Rooftops and river

I took this photo with a long lens from a friend's back deck, but if you'd like, you can imagine I was flying over Astoria like a bird. This is one of the central downtown locations. Some of the buildings have already appeared in this blog, and others will appear in time. The gray wood-shingled building with white window trim appeard in this post, while the building to the right of it can be seen here and will appear again in tomorrow's post. The Liberty Theatre, with the red tile roof, was the setting for the concert with Sergey Antonov and the post with the lighting fixture in the ceiling. The river is the Columbia, the street on the left running toward the water is 12th Street, where Sunday Market is held, and the street intersecting it is Marine Drive.

Happy Scenic Sunday, everyone.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Juliet on 14th Street

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.

I have no idea. The mannequin is actually in a second-story window.

Friday, August 7, 2009

A snake's-eye view of the Astoria-Megler Bridge

Astoria-Megler Bridge, Astoria, Oregon
We love our bridges. Not only is the Astoria-Megler Bridge the only convenient way to get to the Washington side of the Columbia River from here, but it's also one of the most outstanding and scenic man-made local features. Above is one more view, taken from the Maritime Memorial at the water's edge. For all of my other posts featuring this bridge, click here. I'm sure there will be more coming up. You really can't avoid this spectacular landmark! This bridge holds a record for being the longest continuous truss bridge in the world, and it was the last segment of US Highway 101 to be completed between Los Angeles, California and Olympia, Washington. It was built between 1962 and 1966. To pay off the 24 million dollar cost, a toll was charged. To me, one of the most remarkable things about this bridge is that they actually removed the toll in 1993, when the cost had been paid! Now you can drive across freely and not even think about stopping.

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

12th Street and Grand . . . the path to where?

Odd Streets of Astoria, Oregon No, the street sign is not misplaced. Behind me, 12th Street continues up the hill like any normal residential street. In front of me, it takes off on a narrow path through the berry bushes for one short block. Oddly, I've never followed it. Until I looked at the street sign today, I believe I thought it was private property. Taking notice, I stopped and wondered what the path was like, but as I had to meet someone on the street in about one minute and I didn't want him to drive on and miss me, I continued along on Grand. I can't picture what the other end of the path looks like, so I'll make a point of finding it.

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


Sunset Patterns on the Columbia River Reflections and shadows from this pastel sunset on July 15th highlight patterns in the river's current.

Click on the link for more images of Watery Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A ruby red crane

Crane Barge on the Columbia River, Astoria, Oregon When you want to do heavy lifting on the river, you bring out the crane barge. It doesn't move under its own power, so you also bring out the tow boat (on the right). The crane spent the weekend behind the old (now empty) Englund Marine building shown here, then it moved off and docked at the Maritime Museum. It has two huge metal pilings suspended from it. I haven't asked around, so I don't know if it's planning to do some work, or if it's just finding available places to dock until it goes to work again.

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

Astoria City Hall: Reflection

City Hall, Astoria, Oregon Late in the day, the Astoria City Hall is reflected in the one-way glass window next to the drive-up teller window of the Columbia National Bank. Until recently, the bank was called The Bank of Astoria. Most of us still think of it by the old name. Both the Bank of Astoria and the City Hall are on the corner of 11th Street and Duane Avenue, diagonally from each other with the city hall facing Duane.

For more photos featuring yellow, check in with Mellow Yellow Monday.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cemetery Sunset

Sunset, Pioneer Cemetery, Astoria, Oregon
Astoria, Oregon

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.

I hope you're all enjoying a peaceful, fun, relaxing, inspiring, Scenic Sunday.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cemetery on the Hill

Astoria Pioneer Cemetery, Astoria, Oregon On the crest of the hill above Astoria is a beautiful, if somewhat strange, cemetery called Astoria Pioneer Cemetery. The part I find strange is that there are so few stones, and among them are a couple of rather bizarre slabs that defy logical explanation.

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 "" 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.

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