Astoria Facility History
Astoria, Oregon sits at the mouth of the Columbia river and is the oldest U.S. settlement west of the Rocky Mountains. The area now known as Astoria was first explored by Captain Robert Gray in 1792, when he and his crew became the first Westerners to navigate the Columbia river (which he named after his ship, Columbia Rediviva.) During the winter of 1805-06 Lewis and Clark camped in the area with the hope of seeing a ship sail by that would take them home. As no ships passed them that winter, in the spring they left and began their return overland trip back east.
After Captain Gray and Lewis and Clark, others soon took notice of the ample opportunities for fur trading in the area. Business man and financier John Jacob Astor sent his American Fur Company on an expedition to the area, and in 1811 this expedition established Fort Astoria, naming their new town after Mr. Astor. Astoria soon became a major part of the fur trade in the North West.
After only two years, The War of 1812 between the U.S. and Great Britain threw a wrench into Astor's plans and his company was forced to sell their operations to the North West Company, turning it over to the British in December 1813, when it became Fort George.
Astoria was not only a major site of the fur trade in the 1800's, the bountiful opportunities for harvesting fish soon drew the eye of the Hudson’s Bay Company, which, after taking over operations from the North West Company, began packing salmon for export in 1823, along with trading in furs. In 1846, as part of the Oregon Treaty, the British ceded to the U.S. territory that covers what is now Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Now part of the union, Astoria soon became a place of firsts: in 1847 Astoria was the site of the first US post office on the west coast and in 1849 the first U.S. Customs house was established. Astoria was incorporated by the Oregon Legislature in 1876 and today remains a vibrant fishing town with a wealth of history. SK&H is proud to have an office in Astoria and to be a part of Astoria's great history.