Monday, July 02, 2001

July 2: Fort Astoria and the birthplace of Ranald MacDonald

This modern monument to Fort Astoria occupies a lot at the corner of 15th Street and Exchange Avenue in Astoria, Oregon. It's located a block away on Google Earth. I don't know if they know something about the original location, but the address I just gave is where I took this photo. This scene is one of those unexpected things I'm starting to expect from Astoria.

Here's another view of Fort Astoria with the wonderful big tree that grows there.

Here's some history. You can read it better if you click on the photo. On the right of the photo you can see a bit of blue and get some idea that we're already high above the river. Streets go alphabetically from the river up the steep hill. Astor doesn't run the length of town, but it can be found in some areas near the post office. Bond street is where my apartment is on the other side of town. Like Astor, it's cut off near the post office. Commercial is the main drag through downtown, then it feeds into Marine Drive, which is the main highway running into town from both east and west, also known as Highway 30. Marine Drive is the only one in this part of town that's not in alphabetical order. Here on the hill at Fort Astoria we're on Exchange Street - essentially one flat block and two steep blocks from the river (Marine Drive, Duane and Exchange), since Astor and Bond don't make it to this end of town.

This was a surprise, too. I'd never heard of Ranald MacDonald (and of course, it's funny because we all picture the clown, Ronald McDonald), although people say the original Ranald deserves a bigger place in history than he's been able to carve out so far. It would seem so. Maybe now that we're all using the Internet, people will learn more about him. You can read the English-language description on this side of the plaque by clicking the image. There's a Japanese version on the back. Ranald was half Scottish and half Chinook Indian, but he made his mark by travelling to Japan. This park marks his birthplace. Above is a page that links to more links.

Here's the location and setting of the small park. What was I saying about power lines. It's too bad. They always seem to be in the way here, but the city doesn't have the money to bury them. Maybe someday when a lot of other things are taken care of, it will.

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