Ear: Astorian

Some snippets from June 6 editions of The Astorian, covering various years:

Tuesday, June 6, 1876: Special Notice — We shall not, cannot, in future, answer letters of inquiry written to us by parties desirous of settling in Oregon, unless such letters of inquiry contain at least the amount of stamps necessary to pay postage on the return letter.

Note: Astoria was attracting newcomers at a steady pace by then. According to U.S. Census data, the population in 1870 was 639; by 1880, it was 1,803; and by 1890, it was 6,184. (bit.ly/astoriapop)

Saturday, June 6, 1885: The latest from the Tillamook mines is that an essay shows “1,400 pounds of lead, and 1,541 pounds of silver to the ton” — 2,941 pounds of metal out of 2,000 pounds of rock isn’t bad.

Note: Aside from the disastrous math, the Ear was unable to find any history of lead or silver mining in Tillamook County. The Oregon Metals Handbook (1951) says the mining industry there consists of sand, gravel and crushed rock, along with small seams of coal. (bit.ly/tillycoal)

Thursday, June 6, 1889: Mr. Henderson states that he has been authorized to accept and transmit free of charge a telegraphic transfer of funds for the Johnstown sufferers …

Note: Then, as now, Astoria was known for its willingness to help others. On May 31, 1889, a dam failed, and a 35-40 foot wall of water, moving 40 mph, slammed into Johnstown, Pennsylvania. More than 2,200 died and 1,600 homes were demolished. Bodies were found as far as 350 miles away, and until 1911. (bit.ly/jtownflood)

Wednesday, June 6, 1900: Don’t fail to try coco cola. It is the most popular new drink this season at the Parlor.

Note: Yes, “It’s the Real Thing.” Atlanta pharmacist John S. Pemberton created the syrup in 1886, took it to a nearby soda fountain, mixed it with carbonated water, and so it began.

His partner, Frank M. Robinson, named it Coca-Cola, and designed the logo, still used today. In 1888, Pemberton sold most of the business to Asa G. Candler, a distributor, which is likely how the drink wound up in Astoria. (bit.ly/cocahist)

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.

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