Map quest


Often this column contains stories from the 1880s and 1890s with Astoria street names both familiar and unfamiliar. Astorian Fred White took the Ear to task, and rightly so, about the configuration of the downtown streets being different then than now. So the question became: How different?

The answers are in “Whitney’s Map of Astoria” courtesy of the David Rumsey Map Collection online, where there is a detailed street map of 1890 Astoria (; to see it compared to present-day Astoria, go to A detail of the map is shown.

In 1890, Astoria was composed of several districts. Working east, the westernmost district was Taylor, which went from Smith’s Point to roughly between the current Flavel and Hume streets. Next, the McClure district covered about the present-day Second to 14th streets; the Shiveley district was from 14th Street to about the 32nd to 33rd street area; Adair was from about 33rd Street to around Nimitz Drive; Alderbrook was from between 46th and 47th streets to around 53rd Street; and Van Duesen & Brown covered 53rd Street to what’s now known as North Tongue Point. And those are just the north waterfront areas.

Each district had its own street naming system, creating quite a maze of confusion. For example, Taylor has Third through Seventh streets running northwest to southeast; McClure has First through 13th streets running east and west; and Shiveley has numbered streets running north and south. You get the idea.

Fortunately, the city grid was eventually consolidated and renumbered, probably after the 1922 fire. Happily, there are no longer four or five (or more) different Fourth Streets, but it’s still fun to see Astoria as it was then.

— Elleda Wilson

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