Few know that Astoria was once called Fort George. How did that come to be and what is the fascinating twist to the story? Astoria is known as the oldest settlement on the west coast. It was named after John Jacob Astor in 1911 (even though he never actually visited the area) and was called Fort Astoria. But – it didn’t always have that name. [more]
Posts Tagged With: history
Sometimes when you visit a museum, it can be overwhelming. Which display or artifact do you look at first? Can you narrow things down? Sometimes it helps to just focus on a few things at a time. So for this visit to the , we chose to focus on looking for the oldest, newest, smallest and largest artifacts. [Read more…]
Standing on the beach one summer day in 2015, just staring out at the ocean and enjoying the rare sunny day on the Oregon coast, suddenly we hear a horn. “Odd,” we think. “There’s no fog, it can’t be a fog horn.” Then we see a small boat speed around the giant rock sitting out in the middle of the ocean. We watch in a bit of shock as it races towards us on the shore. “Uhmmm, is that thing going to crash?! It’s heading right for the beach!”
We stand there just staring as it keeps racing in. There’s nothing we can do. It zooms right up onto the beach and – just stops. No crash, no yelling, no damage. What the heck? We ask someone standing near us, “What is that?” They smile and tell us, “That’s a Dory fishing boat. That’s how they land. They don’t dock. They also just launch from the beach.”
We are thrilled and fascinated. Standing there at Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City, Oregon, we found out more about this unusual type of basically flat-bottomed fishing boat. While there are different types of dory boats, the beach dory is only used in a few spots around the country where the fishermen launch and land from the beach. According to the Pacific City Dorymen,“There is no other harbor, port, or fishing fleet anywhere in the world exactly like this. It is truly unique how we evolved.”
Pacific City celebrates this traditional way of fishing by holding “Dory Days” in July. We decided we need to check that out. Fast forward to July 2016. We pulled into Pacific City on a slightly overcast day, which quickly changed to downright warm. We managed to find a parking place pretty easily, and walked back over the little bridge over the canal to the “four-way stop” as everyone seems to refer to it. There we saw several tents with vendors selling their enticing wares. After checking them out, we went back to the bridge and found ourselves a nice little perch where we could sit and watch the parade. We were worried that since we had forgot to bring chairs that we would be standing the whole time but no worries with the bridge to sit on.
Who doesn’t love a small town parade? Everyone hollering out to the people they know on the floats, lots of candy being thrown. Since it’s the coast, David was thrilled to find they were throwing salt water taffy, one of his favorites. He ignored all the other candy but swooped in on the taffy like a seagull.
Some of the usual features, like a few politicians, were in attendance. But what was most unique in this parade was the Dory boats. Some were fairly plain, but many were decorated very creatively and were quite entertaining. For such a small town, it was a nice parade lasting about 45 minutes.
As soon as the parade was over we made a beeline for the car. We knew we wanted to hurry down to Cape Kiwanda before the rest of the crowd got there. Again, we quickly found a parking spot right by Pelican Pub and Brewery, a place we have been wanting to try. Luckily we got there when we did because we got in right away and later saw quite the crowd waiting.
After our very tasty meal, we went on out to the beach to watch the Dory boats coming in. We didn’t have to wait long before one came ripping in. I was a little nervous we were in its path, not sure how far they come up on the beach.
The customers who were on the boat and had been fishing looked happy and excited. Exactly what you want to see. We think we need to come back again and fish next time!
There were a few other activities that were offered as part of Dory Days, such as the Fish Fry and the Oregon Heritage Traditional Dedication Ceremony. Dory Days was a very fun, small town event that we highly recommend attending. And you have to watch the boats landing!
We have a tendency to think of Sunriver Resort in Oregon as being an all newly-constructed development. But did you know that it has an old building with architecture reminiscent of the Old Faithful Inn? You may have attended a wedding, conference or other event in it, perhaps thinking it was simply built to look old and blend in with the rustic surroundings. But the Great Hall was actually built in 1944 by the Army Corps of Engineers on the land there that was once home to Camp Abbott. The hall was only used for about six months, as a cafeteria, then the war ended and the beautiful building constructed from local trees was abandoned and sadly fell into disrepair. At one point it was even used for a cattle barn. Fortunately for all of us, it was saved and has been totally restored and updated into a premier meeting space, while reminding us of the history of the area and the beauty of the natural resources used.
The log building features high ceilings with exposed beams. A massive stone fireplace burns a cozy fire, and a balcony of limbs surrounds you like welcoming arms– all of which can’t help but make you think of the Old Faithful Inn.
Replica fixtures illuminate the interior in a soft warm glow. Hallways adorned with historical pictures and stories lead the way to modern and comfortable meeting facilities. There is space just to sit and relax where your eyes are drawn out the large windows to an open field and expansive sky. You’re sure to see some sort of woodland wildlife if you are patient.
Events can be catered by Sunriver restaurants, as ours was this day at the Northwest Travel Writers Conference. The beauty and ambiance of this grand old building and the creativity of the dishes served and displayed made for a deliciously memorable experience.
If you are ever in the market for an event space, or simply want to stop in and pay respect to the history and architectural skill of the time, don’t pass up the chance to check out the Great Hall at Sunriver Resort.
For more information, see Sunriver-Resort.com.
In politics, have you heard it said that politicians go “stumping” or make “stump speeches”? This phrase came from the 1800’s when politicians would go around from town to town making speeches. They literally stood on huge tree stumps so that they could be easily seen and heard. In Chehalis, Washington we have our own replica of one of those stumps. It’s called the McKinley Stump.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “How the heck do you have a “replica” of a stump?” Well, the original tree was from the Pe Ell area (pronounced just like the letters – P. L.). It was cut down in 1901 and the stump was transported by railroad to Chehalis because President McKinley was supposed to come through the area and give a speech. The stump was 28 feet around and 8 feet tall cut from a tree that was 350 years old. Unfortunately, the appearance was cancelled because McKinley’s wife got sick, then shortly after that he was assassinated so never actually got to appear on the stump named for him.
A president did actually get to “stump” on the stump though. In 1903 President Teddy Roosevelt gave a speech from the stump. A president-to-be also spoke from the stump. In 1907, while Secretary of War and before he was elected president, William Taft stood on the stump and gave a speech.
The original stump along with a gazebo was located at the intersection of West Street and Market Blvd. in Chehalis. At one point someone attempted to burn it so concrete was poured into it to try to preserve it, and it was moved to Recreation Park in the hopes it would be better protected.
Then in 2007, while making plans to move the stump to the Lewis County Museum located at the old railroad depot, it was discovered that the tree was so rotted through with ant damage that it could not be saved. Weyerhauser, a lumber company, donated a new stump from an old growth tree to stand as a replica for this time in history.
You can now see the “McKinley Stump” under a covered structure, outside the Lewis County Museum located at 599 NW Front Way, Chehalis, Washington. Picture the President of the United States standing on the stump, speaking without any electronic equipment such as a microphone, in all kinds of weather, to huge crowds of people. It must have been a very exciting event to look forward to. Imagine the disappointment of hoping to see President McKinley, then the excitement again when President Roosevelt actually came to town.
Understandably it is also a bit strange to have a “replica” of a stump that was named for a man who never spoke from it. But it was an exciting time for the area and most small towns like to be able to show that they are important in history and worthy of prominent politicians’ attention. The McKinley Stump stands today as that icon for Chehalis, Washington.
Lighthouse lovers must check out the simple little Admiralty Head Lighthouse. It’s located on Whidbey Island inside Fort Casey property. The original lighthouse was built in 1861, 36 years before construction began on Ft. Casey! When the land was needed for gun batteries, the wooden lighthouse was moved near where the current lighthouse is. Then a new stucco lighthouse was built in 1903 and has 18-inch-thick walls! The old wooden lighthouse was eventually torn down but the wood was reused in a home on the island.
These lighthouses helped guide numerous ships into Whidbey Island safely. Long-ago mariners used the winds blowing through the area to sail into the island. The light that was used until 1922 was called a “Fresnel Lens” which was lit with a whale oil lamp. According to a sign in the lighthouse:
“Fresnel Fourth Order Lens. The Fresnel Lens, developed in France by Augustine Fresnel in 1822 has been used worldwide to aid navigation. Handcrafted of brass and glass, these lenses are of such high quality that their light is just as effective as that produced by the most modern system. Many are still in use today.”
On the bottom floor there are rooms that include interpretive signs detailing the story of the area, the fort, and the lighthouse, as well as historical items such as a replica light (the whereabouts of the original Fresnel lens is unknown.) Artifacts of life during the early years are also displayed, along with a scale model of the fort. A small gift-shop is also open on the bottom floor where you can purchase souvenirs and information. Climb the spiral staircase (who doesn’t love spiral staircases?!) and go up to the top where you can look out and see the Olympics, Admiralty Inlet and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Careful, though, it is a small area and you may have to wait your turn going up or down.
The property is now owned by Washington State Parks and is operated in partnership with the Washington State University Extension, which provides the volunteers. The volunteers are very knowledgeable and friendly and willing to answer any questions you may have.
It’s not a huge lighthouse, but it is well-kept and the location and scenery are spectacular. The fort and its structures are often a pleasant surprise to many visitors who thought they were just coming to see the lighthouse but find themselves running through the batteries with flashlights just like the kids. No food concessionaires are on site, so a picnic lunch would be thoroughly enjoyed along with the expansive views.
Hours are 11am-5pm. Note that it is scheduled to be closed during January and February. Admission is free, donations are accepted.
Getting there: Whidbey Island can be accessed by land over the Deception Pass Bridge, or by ferry from Port Townsend or Mukilteo-Clinton. Take Highway 20 to Coupeville, then take Engle Road to Fort Casey.