Underground in Astoria
By Chrissy Curran
When the City of Astoria invited Oregon Heritage to participate in its second annual Historic Preservation Fair on May 12th, we jumped at the opportunity. Any time we can get out from behind our desks and spend some time with people who want to learn more about old buildings and do more preservation is time well spent.
I set up a display table in the Astoria Event Center along with two dozen or so fellow exhibitors and spent the day chatting with dozens of folks about the National Register of Historic Places, grants, incentives, and all things preservation. There are a lot of cool projects going on in our communities! Along with vendor displays, Sam Johnson with the Columbia River Maritime Museum discussed the rehabilitation of the Astoria Railroad Depot, Bergerson Cedar Windows based out of Hammond, Oregon demonstrated how they install insulated glass into original wood sash, and I gave a lecture on architectural styles.
This great day was capped off with three “Basements of Astoria” tours — the first ever held — led by city officials and local historian and preservation consultant John Goodenberger. Tour participants viewed the finished basement of the IOOF Building, inspected the unique laminated floor construction under the Liberty Theater, spelunked among the concrete chair walls beneath the 13th Street alley, admired the former Amato’s Supper Club in the Sanborn Block, and topped off the tour in the bottom of the Astoria BPOE Lodge Building with a rare visit to a still-operable, 1940s-era bowling alley. If you ever get a chance to join John Goodenberger for a walking tour, grab it! He knows all the ghost stories and behind-the-scenes places Astoria has to offer – it was really an unforgettable experience.
Thanks for inviting us, Astoria, and we hope to join you again next year.