Play & Explore: Astoria, OR

Expertise Provided By: Jim Burnett

Best Quirky Historical Sites

Ranald MacDonald Monument

Tribute to Astoria native MacDonald (1824 – 94), who theorized a racial link between the Japanese and Native Americans. To prove it, he signed on as a whaling boat deckhand and marooned himself on an island in Japanese waters. Wound up teaching English to some of Japan’s future leaders before being deported.

Fort Astor Monument

This replica of a small fort, located on a quiet Ashland street, commemorates the first settlement west of the Rockies,  established by John Jacob Astor in 1812 after sailing around the Cape of Africa. The monument also pays tribute to barmaid Jane Barnes,  the first Caucasian women to settle in Astoria.

Cable TV Monument

Inconspicuous plaque at Coxcomb Hill marks the site of the first cable TV transmission in American on Thanksgiving Day 1948. Grateful ESPN and HBO junkies have built a shrine at the site from burnt-out picture tubes and old TV Guides. (Not really—but they should.)

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