Historical Markers in
Clatsop County, Oregon

The Columbia River Gorge, located on the border between Oregon and Washington, is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The gorge is over 80 miles long and is known for its scenic beauty and waterfalls.
Clatsop County, located in the northwest corner of Oregon, has a rich history dating back thousands of years. Before the arrival of European settlers, the region was inhabited by indigenous people, including the Clatsop and Chinook tribes, who thrived on the abundance of fish, game, and natural resources offered by the coastal forests and rivers.

The first European exploration of the area came in the late 18th century, when British explorer Captain James Cook sailed along the coast. However, it was the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805-1806 that brought significant attention to the region. The expedition, led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, spent the winter of 1805-1806 near the mouth of the Columbia River, establishing Fort Clatsop as their encampment. The expedition's success in reaching the Pacific Ocean boosted interest in the area for trade and settlement.

In the mid-19th century, Clatsop County experienced rapid growth with the establishment of Astoria in 1811, the first permanent American settlement on the West Coast. Astoria became a major hub for the fur trade, attracting merchants, trappers, and settlers seeking opportunity in the burgeoning Pacific Northwest. The county's economy expanded further with the discovery of gold in nearby California in 1848, as Clatsop County served as a key supply point for prospectors heading south.

The 20th century brought significant changes to Clatsop County, as industries such as logging and fishing became prominent. Fishing, particularly for salmon, played a vital role in the county's economy, with the Columbia River supporting numerous canneries and processing plants. Timber also became a major industry, as vast forests were harvested to meet the demand for lumber. Today, Clatsop County continues to be a popular tourist destination with its scenic coastline, historical landmarks, and vibrant communities that blend a rich heritage with a thriving modern culture.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Clatsop County, Oregon.

  • 1805 - The Lewis and Clark Expedition reaches the area now known as Clatsop County.
  • 1806 - The Lewis and Clark Expedition departs the area after spending the winter near present-day Astoria.
  • 1811 - John Jacob Astor's Pacific Fur Company establishes Fort Astoria, the first permanent European-owned settlement in the region.
  • 1813 - Fort Astoria is sold to the British North West Company.
  • 1818 - The United States and Britain sign the Treaty of Joint Occupation, establishing both countries' claims to the Oregon Country.
  • 1821 - The North West Company merges with the Hudson's Bay Company, gaining control of Fort Astoria and the surrounding area.
  • 1846 - The United States and Britain sign the Oregon Treaty, officially establishing the U.S. claim to the Oregon Territory.
  • 1848 - Clatsop County is established as a county in the newly formed Oregon Territory.
  • 1850 - Astoria is incorporated as a city.
  • 1876 - The Clatsop people, a Native American tribe, sign a treaty with the U.S. government, ceding most of their ancestral lands.
  • 1884 - The first railroad line is completed in Clatsop County, connecting Astoria with the rest of Oregon.
  • 1922 - The Columbia River Highway is constructed, improving transportation and tourism in the region.
  • 1989 - The Clatsop County Historical Society is founded to preserve and promote the area's history.