Ear: Astorian

Tidbits from the Jan. 21, 1881 edition of The Daily Astorian:

• Muddy water from the Columbia River extends to sea for a distance of over 20 miles.

Note: Although the South Jetty construction started in 1885, it didn't affect the bar's water flow until 1889. Construction on the North Jetty didn't even begin until 1914. (bit.ly/CRjetties1, bit.ly/CRjetties2)

On the same topic, in the same edition: President (Rutherford B.) Hayes, in his annual message to Congress at the beginning of the present session, especially recommended the improvement of the Columbia River Bar.

• (The) Tillamook Rock … fog siren arrived in Portland from New York last week, and is now being put together at Smith Brothers for the purpose of thoroughly testing it. This done, the siren will be taken by the Schubrick to the rock, and permanently erected.

Note: Installation of the fog horn completed the more than 500-day lighthouse construction ordeal. The lamp was officially lit Jan. 21, 1881, too late to help the Lupatia, which ran aground nearby in early January; the only survivor was the ship's dog. (bit.ly/BuildTTilly)

Capt. Hooper of the revenue cutter Thomas Corwin, who made an unsuccessful effort last year to discover the whereabouts of the Jeannette, expects shortly to be dispatched in the same direction on the second expedition.

Note: The USS Jeannette (pictured inset) and its commander, George W. De Long, disappeared while on an arctic expedition that began in 1879. The ship was eventually crushed by ice; all aboard survived.

Eight died sailing to the Siberian coast in small cutters; 12 died in Siberia of cold and starvation, including De Long; and the two sent to find help survived after they found a village. The wreckage of the Jeannette was not found until 1884. (bit.ly/USSJeannette)

• Mr. McCormick's (Oregon and Washington) Almanac for 1881 is at the city bookstore, Charles Stevens & Son.

Note: S. J. McCormick's almanacs were incredibly detailed, and covered a wide range of everyday and esoteric topics. The 1856 version can be found here: bit.ly/McCAlmanac

Mayor Thompson, of Portland, advocates large and continued appropriations for the benefit of Portland by digging a ship canal to that place from Astoria.

Note: Clearly, this rather intriguing idea didn't fly.

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or ewilson@dailyastorian.com.