EAR: Astorian


From The Daily Morning Astorian, Saturday, March 1, 1890:

• The house of C.W. Durr at Grays River narrowly escaped destruction by fire yesterday morning. A fortunate accident delayed the steamer Rival, and her passengers saw the fire and put it out after the roof and some of the furniture had been burned.

• Work began yesterday on the motor line to Smith’s Point, an important enterprise. This is a sure thing; no talk, but work. A telegram yesterday says 150 tons of iron are on the way. This will lay 3 miles of road. The work will be pushed to successful completion.

Note: A cable railway deal fell through, but in June 1890, Judge Frank Taylor’s Bay Railway Co. started running a steam dummy (a locomotive disguised as a passenger car) that went 3 miles from around Smith’s Point (now Port of Astoria Pier 3) to new housing tracts on Youngs Bay. (bit.ly/smithcar)

• Lots in Tract 3 of the beautiful suburb of Chelsea, only five minutes’ walk from the steamer landing at Skipanon and terminus of A&SCR (Astoria & South Coast Railway) … Prices from $60 ($1,650 now) …

Note: Chelsea is lost to the ages. By 1891, the A&SCR had expanded, and operated from Skipanon (across from Astoria, on Youngs Bay) all the way to Seaside. (bit.ly/ascrailway)

• The wrecker Whiteclaw is doing some work around the Astoria docks. Yesterday with her divers and apparatus a safe was raised off the Telephone’s wharf, belonging to Foard & Stokes, and part of a stove in front of the U.P. dock.

Note: Diving? Yes, believe it or not, the equipment was already in existence. In 1842, when he was 22, James Buchanan Eads (pictured, inset) invented a salvage boat he called a submarine, but it was really a surface vessel he used to descend from in a diving bell, that he also created, to do salvage work while walking around on the Mississippi River bottom. He recovered enough valuable lost cargo to become a very wealthy man. (bit.ly/eadsdive)

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Daily 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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