When learning about Oregon’s history and culture, one place keeps coming up over and over again. The oldest city in Oregon is in the northwest corner of Clatsop County. It has probably been in more well-known movies than any other city in the state.
This small city is also close to the oldest golf course in Oregon and west of the Mississippi River. It is also the oldest settlement west of the Rocky Mountains, which is an interesting fact. Have you already figured it out?
Astoria is the oldest city in Oregon. It was first settled by fur trappers in 1811. It is near the mouth of the Columbia River and has close ties to the historic Lewis & Clark Trail.
Even though it didn’t become a city until 1856, John Jacob Astor and his American Fur Company were the first people to live there. They built Fort Astoria. This area became a hub for settlers for many decades because of this important fort and the deep-water Port of Astoria.
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Gearhart Golf Links, which opened in 1892 and is the oldest golf course in Oregon and west of the Mississippi, is only 15 miles from Astoria. Famous movies like “Kindergarten Cop,” “Short Circuit,” “Goonies,” and “Black Beauty” were filmed in and around Astoria.
Based on the census, Astoria has the same number of people living there as in 1930: just over 10,000 people. It was at its largest in the 1920s when it had more than 14,000 people living there. In 1860, only 252 people were living there.
Astoria was the center of fur trading in the American Northwest until the 1840s when people moved there from the Oregon Trail. In the late 1800s, Nordic, Swedish, Finnish, and Chinese immigrants helped the city grow. As it grew into the 1900s, it became a big center for fishing, canning, brewing, and logging.
Astoria is more of a tourist destination with a thriving art scene, the restored 1920s Liberty Theater, the Astoria Riverfront Trolly (pictured), the Astoria Column, museums, microbreweries, an important fishing and travel port, and a long history for visitors to enjoy.