What is the oldest city in Oregon?

Robbie Newport

When learning about the history and culture of Oregon, there’s one area that continues to come up in the conversation. Located in northwestern Clatsop County, the oldest city in Oregon has likely been featured in more famous movies than any other city in the state. This small city is also not far from the oldest golf course in Oregon and west of the Mississippi; interestingly, this city is also the oldest settlement west of the Rocky Mountains too. Have you guessed it yet?

The oldest city in Oregon is none other than Astoria, located near the mouth of the Columbia River with close ties to the historical Lewis & Clark Trail, it was first settled by fur trappers in 1811. Although incorporated later in 1856, it was first settled by John Jacob Astor and his American Fur Company which built Fort Astoria. This important fort and the deepwater Port of Astoria were integral to making this area a hub for settlers for many decades to come.

Astoria is also only 15 miles from Gearhart Golf Links, which is the oldest golf course in Oregon and west of the Mississippi, founded in 1892.

Astoria is also known for having famous movies filmed in the area such as “Kindergarten Cop,” “Short Circuit,” “Goonies,” and “Black Beauty.”

Looking at the population census, Astoria has the same population now as it did in 1930, with just over 10k residents. The biggest it ever got was in the 1920s with over 14k residents. In 1860 it had a population of only 252 residents.

Astoria was mainly the fur trading center of the American Northwest until it started growing with settlers from the Oregon Trail in the 1840s and immigrants in the late 1800s, including Nordic, Swedes, Finns, and Chinese. It became a large fishing, canning, brewing, and logging hub as it grew into the 1900s. Now, Astoria is more of a tourist destination with a flourishing art scene, the restored 1920s Liberty Theater, the Astoria Riverfront Trolly (the featured picture), the Astoria Column, museums, microbreweries, an important fishing and travel port, and a rich history for travelers to enjoy.

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Write about local events, social issues, crime, attractions, and more. Live in Eastern Oregon with my wife. Writer, blogger, greenskeeper, Christian, and truth seeker.

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