Sunday, June 01, 2008

Colors on 8th Street - Astoria, Oregon

Flavel House, Astoria, Oregon The Flavel House is one of Astoria's most prominent landmarks after the imposing waterfront and the column at the top of the hill. It is certainly an interesting and cherished one. Built in 1887 by Captain George Flavel, it pre-dates my grandmother's house (built by her grandparents) in Corona, California, by two years. That's one reason it interested me to take a tour the first year I arrived here. My grandmother's house was probably larger in square footage and had more extensive grounds with much planing and many fruit trees, but Flavel's house was about 2 points higher on the ostentation scale, the ornateness scale, the tall baseboard scale, the wood mouldings scale, and the intricate hardware scale (hinges, door knobs). Both people built for quality, comfort, artistic expression and, I'm sure, to be known as the best and most prominent around. Interior furnishings and decor were still intact in the Flavel House, and this interested me a lot. It gave me insight into what the ancestral home must have looked and felt like inside. The Flavel House has been preserved beautifully and kept as a showpiece by the Historical Society, whereas Grandma's house was butchered horribly. That's another story for when I find time and the right photos.

Today was June 1. After what seemed like six months of winter, the sun was out for the day and the flowers were bright. I'd walked halfway up Astoria's hill barely stopping to breathe. In fact, I was carrying on a conversation on my cell phone the whole way from Sunday Market downtown to the top of 8th Street and beyond, and I felt strong and sassy. A few years ago, this burst of energy would have been unthinkable. At 59, I enjoy seeing my health improving and my body getting back into shape. I will never be 20 again, but I thoroughly enjoy doing things I was unable to do during so much of my 30s, 40s, and early 50s. More on that some other time. Today I was into colors. I took photos of flowers and houses, and - you know how when you get back and look at the pictures, and you didn't take the one or two photos that would totally bring the scene together? I didn't take a single picture looking up or down 8th Street, which is a shame, because it's a showpiece all its own. Add a cable car and you're on one of San Francisco's most notable engineering feats. And so the descriptive 8th Street photo will be saved for another day. The Flavel House is at the bottom of 8th Street. Backtracking a bit and starting from the top, here are some colors and a couple of scenes across the Columbia River.

From 8th Street, you can just see Tongue Point - the dark mass of greenery sticking out into the river. The East Mooring Basin, where you can see fishing boats and sea lions is between Tongue Pont and the gray, weathered fence.

Colorful houses, colorful flowers.

Color can be found in the humbler features as well. I loved the blue-purple hand rail against the green horsetails and the yellow lines painted on the parking lot at the foot of 8th.

The photo above is not actually on 8th Street, but at the bottom of the 8th Street hill across Marine Drive on the two-block-long Astor Street with the River Walk, the trolley, and the place-defining Columbia River in the background.

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