As the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies, the Astoria-Warrenton region is a nationally significant historic area, encompassing the western end of the Lewis & Clark Trail. Astoria is a place that takes visitors back to simpler times, with architecture dominated by Victorian homes on steep wooded hillsides and a revitalized 1920s-era downtown. The region is set against a backdrop of natural beauty at the mouth of the Columbia River, with a working waterfront in Astoria and beaches for exploring in Warrenton.
The region is perhaps best known as the place where the Lewis and Clark expedition “wintered over” in 1805-1806 with the Corps of Discovery at Fort Clatsop. The expedition spent its time hunting, making moccasins and clothing, trading with the Clatsop, Tillamook and Chinook American Indians and reporting in their journals.
Long before these famous adventurers arrived, many sea captains attempted to discover the mouth of the “great river of the Northwest,” which was believed to connect the Pacific Ocean with the Northern Atlantic. Captain Robert Gray, a fur trader from Boston interested in acquiring furs to trade with China for silk, discovered the area in 1792 and was the first to maneuver past the dangerous sand bar that protected the mouth of the river. Despite Gray venturing up the river only a short way before turning around and resuming his hunt for furs, he named the waterway the Columbia River after his ship, the Columbia Rediviva.
The fur trade put Astoria on the map. In 1811, five years after the departure of Lewis and Clark, John Jacob Astor, a New York financier, and at the time the world’s richest man, sent fur traders to establish a trading post. They built Fort Astoria on a site now preserved as a monument downtown. Although Astor never set foot in the city, he became its namesake. In the late 1800s, Astoria’s cannery, forest and shipping industries turned the city into the liveliest boomtown between Seattle and San Francisco.
Similar to Astoria, Warrenton began with East Coast roots. A New Yorker named Daniel Knight Warren purchased 900 acres across Youngs Bay in 1885. He offered free lots to anyone who agreed to build a high-quality home. In 1899, after many years of successful construction, community leaders formed the city.
Astoria – Nestled along the Columbia River and surrounded by the natural beauty of forests and hills, is the charming community of Astoria. Home to a community of approximately 9,500 residents, Astoria is recognized as the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies and is home to more buildings on the National Historic Register per square foot than anywhere else in the state. The city is also well-known as a popular backdrop for many movies, including The Goonies. The year 2011 marked Astoria’s bicentennial anniversary and was filled with exciting events to celebrate this major milestone.
Warrenton – The City of Warrenton sits just across the bay from Astoria. The community of approximately 5,000 takes pleasure in the region’s gorgeous backdrop and beautiful beaches, which give way to great opportunities for recreation and quiet respite. Warrenton offers a laid-back, small-town ambience with popular outdoor attractions including Fort Stevens State Park, the Warrenton Waterfront Trail, Cullaby Lake, and the Fisherman’s Lighthouse Park.
Clatsop County Fairgrounds
Astoria Music Festival
Betsy Johnson - State Senator
Clatsop County Historical Society