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Astoria's Top Historical Attractions
Published: 02/22/2014  Updated: 12/06/2018
Peter Iredale Shipwreck, Fort Stevens State Park
Peter Iredale Shipwreck, Fort Stevens State Park
Gary Hayes

Astoria's historical attractions shine a beacon on the events and characters that shaped this important West Coast seaport founded in 1811.

It was the terminus of the Lewis and Clark expedition and later Oregon's first boom town, a hub for fur traders and a port for fishermen. Astoria and its Columbia River surroundings offer a treasure trail of history in the region's maritime capital. Take a walk through history by visiting these seven sites.

Fort Clatsop
Fort Clatsop is one of several sites that make up the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. Explore a replica of the original 1805 fort with a historic interpreter, learn of the hardships of surviving an unforgiving winter in this coastal forest, and take in the visitor center's exhibits about Lewis and Clark's journey west. To plan your visit, go to

Columbia River Maritime Museum
The Columbia River Maritime Museum has world-class exhibits that offer a walk through Astoria's role as a maritime hub. Visitors learn about "the graveyard of the Pacific" where thousands of shipwrecks dot the treacherous mouth of the Columbia, about the elite pilot team that keeps shipping traffic safe, and about Astoria's historic salmon fishing and canning industry. For more information, visit

Fort Stevens State Park
Fort Stevens State Park is the home of Civil War-era Fort Stevens. This defense site—one of three that guarded the mouth of the Columbia River from confederate or British attack by sea—was an active-duty military installation until the end of WWII. Visitors can check out more than three dozen sites on a self-guided military history tour (pick up a tour brochure at the park's visitor center). The oldest site is the original 1863 earthen fort from which a 120-lb. cannonball might hit a target a mile away. For visitor information, go to

Peter Iredale Shipwreck
The Peter Iredale shipwreck near Astoria is one of the most photographed attractions on the beach. In 1906, this four-masted cargo vessel was waiting for a pilot ship escort into the Columbia when stormy conditions forced her into the breakers and beached her near Fort Stevens. Today, the skeleton of the ship offers testimony to the power of Nature on the Northwest coast. Access the shipwreck via Fort Stevens State Park.

Flavel House
Flavel House presents a history lesson in Victorian lifestyle. Located on 8th and Duane Street, this opulent Queen Anne mansion, built in the mid-1880s as the residence of Captain George Flavel, has been meticulously restored and preserved as a museum. In the carriage house behind the mansion, watch a short history video before touring the house. At the mansion, walk through the rooms with period furnishings and learn tidbits of Astoria's history along the way. For more information, go to the Clatsop County Historical Society's website:

Astoria Column
Astoria Column has stood tall since 1926 on the highest point in Astoria, 600 feet above sea level. Styled after Trajan's Column in Rome, the monument rises 125 feet from base to crown. Spiraling upward, a graphic timeline depicts the history of the old West, beginning with early explorers' first contact with indigenous peoples and ending with the building of the railroad. Today, Astoria Column is one of the coast's most fascinating monuments, and offers unmatched views for those who tackle the 164 spiral steps to the observation deck. For more information, consult

Clatsop County Heritage Museum
The Clatsop County Heritage Museum houses exhibits in a 1904 Neoclassical building on 16th and Exchange Street. Stop in to learn the details of Astoria's history through artifacts and interpretive displays. Especially interesting is the museum's second floor exhibit, "Vice and Virtue in Clatsop County: 1890 to Prohibition," about the city's colorful past as a sinner's playground with its infamous saloons and brothels. For more information, go to - By Allen Cox

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