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About The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current | View Entire Issue (Aug. 15, 2019)
THE ASTORIAN • THURSDAY, AUGUST 15, 2019
IN ONE EAR • ELLEDA WILSON
AN ABOMINABLE PLACE
rom The Daily Astorian, Wednesday, Aug. 15,
1883: “Ainsworth is reported to be the liveliest town
in Washington Territory just now, being ﬁ lled up with
bridge builders who will be there till New Year’s. … All
the iron is now in place. After the bridge is completed
Ainsworth will be a small (depot) station.”
If the name Ainsworth doesn’t sound at all familiar,
there’s a good reason for that: Despite once being deemed
as lively, even by Astoria standards, now it’s a ghost town.
The town was named after the president of the Oregon
Steam Navigation Company, John C. Ainsworth. Located
just north of the conﬂ uence of the Snake and Columbia
rivers, it was built in 1879 by the Northern Paciﬁ c Rail-
road to complete a link from the Montana rail line to the
Paciﬁ c Coast.
Consequently, by the early 1880s, the population in
Ainsworth boomed at 8,000, many of whom were labor-
ers. A string of railroad cars was needed to use as bunk-
houses to accommodate them.
The town was made livelier when the NPR built two
sawmills — even though the area itself was a desert, and
totally treeless — to produce the railroad ties that would
be needed to complete the mission. Ainsworth is pictured,
courtesy of the Washington State Historical Society.
Soon there were the saloons, gunﬁ ghts, opium dens and
bordellos — common corollaries of a growing frontier
town in the middle of nowhere in the Wild West — which
more genteel folks found quite offensive.
Consequently, in 1885, Capt. William Polk Gray (who
ran a successful steamboat business towing log booms and
transporting lumber to Ainsworth), along with his part-
ners, led several townsfolk in a move to leave Ainsworth
and establish a new town nearby, which became Pasco.
Many more citizens soon jumped onto the exodus
bandwagon, some even dismantling entire buildings in
Ainsworth and moving them to Pasco. The school and
railroad operations soon followed and, as a ﬁ nal blow,
Ainsworth’s coveted title of county seat was given to
Abandoned, Ainsworth gradually disintegrated into the
dust; all that’s left of it are some foundations. The town’s
demise was probably just as well, however, considering
the opinion of Thomas Symons, a U.S. Army engineer:
“Ainsworth is one of the most uncomfortable, abomina-
ble places in America to live in.” Rest in pieces. (bit.ly/
ains101, bit.ly/ains102, bit.ly/ains103)
STARING AT GULLS
he ﬁ shing vessel Chellissa has added some
boozy cargo on behalf of Pilot House Distilling,”
Astorian reporter Edward Stratton revealed. “The dis-
tillery, recently acquired by Buoy Beer Co., strapped
two barrels with about 30 cases worth of its A-O Whisky
aboard the ﬁ shing vessel to test a method of aging spir-
its at sea.” Christina Cary’s photo of the barrel loading
“Larry Cary, the co-founder of Pilot House and
a co-owner with Buoy Beer, said the movement of the
whiskey inside the barrel will speed up the aging pro-
cess, likely resulting in a dark single-malt whiskey. How
it turns out will determine what kind of liquor Pilot House
sends out in its next test batch on a boat to Alaska.”
“We wanted to see what kind of ﬂ avors this would
impart,” Larry told Edward. “I’m assuming we’ll get
some salty notes because of the sea air and the water.”
“The Chellissa will carry the whiskey for the next few
months,” Edward noted, “before it is brought back and
bottled by December for sale in the distillery’s tasting
room on Duane Street.”
“We’ll proof them and bottle them and see what’s left,”
Larry added, “unless the sailors out there got thirsty.”
JUMP IN, THE WATER’S FINE
he Fukushima Prefectural Government did
some tests on the radiation levels at the prefecture’s
Kitaizumi Beach in May, and in July reopened it to
the public for the ﬁ rst time since the 2011 earthquake
and tsunami, according to JapanTimes.co (bit.ly/unhot-
beach). The photo is courtesy of KYODO via The Japan
The cataclysmic events caused core meltdowns and
radiation leaks at the Fukushima nuclear reactor, and con-
sternation worldwide. However, ofﬁ cials say the radia-
tion levels at the beach are now the same as before 2011.
Hey, it only took eight years.
“Seeing the sea makes me feel calm, and the sounds
of waves help me forget negative things,” noted one
unperturbed visitor, who lost a relative in 2011. “I hope
the number of visitors will recover to the pre-disaster
FINDING THE CAIRNSMORE
rom the Wednesday, Aug. 15, 1888, edition of The
Daily Morning Astorian: “Geo. Fuller, chief engi-
neer of the R.R. Thompson, W. E. Warren, chief engineer
of a fast sail boat, and Ed. Wright, chief engineer of the
Pioneer, went down to the wreck of the Cairnsmore yes-
terday by the overland route, and caught 1,783 crabs and
214 clams …”
In 1883, Capt. B. Gibbs was sailing the three-masted
British bark Cairnsmore from London to Portland, loaded
with 7,500 barrels of cement. On Sept. 26, disoriented in a
thick fog, he ran hard aground on a Clatsop beach. Heavy
surf prevented the crew from leaving the ship, so there
they sat for 15 hours.
When they were ﬁ nally able to board the ship’s boats,
they were picked up and taken to Astoria by a passing
steamer. There were no fatalities, but the Cairnsmore was
hopelessly mired in the sand. She is shown, courtesy of
the Oregon Historical Society.
So where is she now? Land that exists now wasn’t there
before the South Jetty was built. The jetty caused the sand
to build up, and the shoreline began extending farther and
farther into the ocean. Consequently, where the ship ran
aground is now inland.
Don Marshall’s book “Oregon Shipwrecks” says she
“lies just a few hundred yards due west of the south end
of Coffenbury Lake at Fort Stevens Park.” The ship was
still visible even in 1914, and local children used to play
in the rigging.
In 2003, the late Richard Fencsak wrote about how he
and his companions “trudged through a swampy morass
and scrambled gingerly over logs buried in waist-high cut
grass” to get to what little is left of the wreck, which is
mostly buried, like the Peter Iredale.
The only clue he gave of the location is to ﬁ nd “the
distinctive tree that marked our entry through a grove of
shore pines.” Other than that, he said, “you’re on your
If you decide take a shot at ﬁ nding it, be sure to take
a metal detector. (bit.ly/LewDry, bit.ly/RFcairnsmore, bit.
BLUES ON THE MOVE
lue whales, the largest animal on earth at 110
feet long, have been sighted off the Oregon
and Washington coasts recently, NWNewsNet-
work.org reports (bit.ly/bluesORWA).
John Calambokidis and Kiirsten Flynn,
Cascadia Research Collective biologists, were
surveying humpbacks and gray whales about
17 miles off Westport, Washington, in late July,
when some distinctively tall spouts were spotted.
Upon investigation, the pair found two blue
whales known to be from a California group.
Calambokidis said this is only the fourth sighting
off Washington in 50 years. His photo of one of
the whales is shown.
Incidentally, the biologists also observed
more than a dozen blue whales off the coast of
It’s too soon to tell if the whales’ northward
movement is temporary or not. Time will tell.
here’s a new U.K. gull study, SmithsonianMag.com
reports, inspired by the birds’ aggressiveness (bit.ly/
gullstare). In the U.K. it’s illegal to kill gulls, so they are
free to pester people while they’re eating, and snatch food
that looks appealing.
keep the gulls at bay, but the birds were unde-
terred, and possibly amused. So, researchers from the
University of Exeter tried a novel approach to tackle the
They visited coastal towns and tempted gulls with a bag
of french fries. Once a gull noticed the tasty treat, the sci-
entist would stare the bird down to see if it would stay
away from the food.
Surprisingly, it seemed to work — about two-thirds of
the time, anyway. Seventy-four birds noticed the bag of
goodies; of those, just 27 (36%) went for it, despite the
stares. “It seems that just watching the gulls will reduce
the chance of them snatching your food,” the researchers
So, next time a gull zeroes in on your lunch, look him
sternly in the eye, and see if it works. It might not hurt to
repeat “ ‘The Birds’ is only a movie” to yourself several
n Aug. 4, Kit Ketcham was taking a stroll on the
Astoria Riverwalk in Alderbrook, and was just
east of the eastern-most trestle, when she smelled “a hor-
rendous odor of rot, or sewage, or something similar. It
wasn’t just a sniff of it, it was signiﬁ cant.”
She couldn’t see anything suspicious lying about, or in
the water, that would cause such a stench, so she was mys-
tiﬁ ed. She posted the problem on Facebook, hoping some-
one would take a look and ﬁ gure it out. It was starting to
sound like a Hitchcock movie.
“The mystery of the smell on the Riverwalk
is solved!” she posted on Facebook Aug. 6.
“Astoria Police Department patrol ofﬁ cers joined me
this afternoon to check out the smell … here’s a photo
(shown) taken by Ofﬁ cer Thomas Litwin who, with
Ofﬁ cer Cory Gerig, came out to investigate this
afternoon. It’s a very large sturgeon (6 feet or so), caught
in a gap between big rocks and stinking up the
“Thanks to APD’s ﬁ nest: The detectives, Ofﬁ cers
Gerig and Litwin, who solved the mystery!” Kit
added. “And, thanks to the person who called APD for
‘STOP ’N SNACK’
ime for a little Goonies summer nostalgia.
Thanks to designer, photographer and Goonie fan
extraordinaire Fred China, aka the French Goonie, you
can watch an uncut scene, “Stop ‘n Snack” that was
deleted from the movie “The Goonies” at tinyurl.com/
The ﬁ ve-minute scene, featuring all of the Goonie kids,
takes place mainly at the store on the corner of 37th Street
in Astoria. Mikey (Sean Astin, in the screen shot shown)
compares One Eyed Willy’s treasure map to one of Can-
non Beach he ﬁ nds on a rack in the store — and realizes
he knows where the treasure is.
Fred posted the link on his Facebook page, tinyurl.com/
goon1632, a must site to visit for Goonie fans.