Of the four museums I visited on a recent trip to Astoria, Oregon, the Columbia River Maritime Museum was by far the most interesting.
As a native of the gorge area, I’ve always been fond of “The Great River”. While researching the history for my Lawmen novels, I learned a few unique facts.
- The river was first noted by Captain Robert Gray during a journey along the west coast in 1792, although he only traveled a short distance before turning back to the ocean. Technically, the first explorer to find the river was a Spaniard named Bruno de Hector in 1775 but he didn’t go near the bar.
- The river flows through 4 mountain ranges.
- The mouth of the river is over 4 miles wide.
- Due to treacherous sandbars and swirling currents, over 200 ships have wrecked trying to travel up the river. The bar has been labeled “The Graveyard of the Pacific”.
I highly recommend a visit to this facility. I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibits and bought a neat book, Columbia River, Gateway to the West, which has a great collection of photos.