"Does anyone remember the Clatsop County Lewis and Clark Sesquicentennial?"
The question was asked in the Jan. 31 "In One Ear" column.
Mabel Herold and Mary Lou Haggren, both of Astoria, responded with a resounding, "Yes, we do," although neither was sure of the exact date.
The final piece of the puzzle has now been put in place with the help of Warrenton resident Nancy Pyle and Astoria resident Venus Louuikinen.
Pyle says according to her "cutting board souvenir," the 150th anniversary celebration of the Lewis and Clark expedition took place from Aug. 21 to 28, 1955.
Her souvenir is "something my mother (Buddie Reits) would have picked up," and lists all the events that took place during the celebration. There were dedication ceremonies for the new Fort Clatsop and salt cairn in Seaside, Indian dances, re-enactment of the parties' arrival by boat, as well as the grand parade. Pyle says that the whole summer was one of celebration with the Miss Oregon Pageant in July, followed by the Astoria Regatta then the Sesquicentennial.
Pyle was in between her sophomore and junior years in 1955, and lived on the family farm in the Lewis and Clark area. She remembers belonging to the first 4-H horse club and rode in the grand parade as the flag bearer. The horse club spent many hours of practice riding in formation for the event.
"I had a beautiful horse, but he was a bit skittish," says Pyle, who remembers having to focus on keeping hold of the flag as she rode in her uniform of blue jeans and western-style yellow shirt. "It was a big deal for us kids," she says.
Venus Louuikinen of Astoria has a pennant that she says her son - about seven at the time - bought at the souvenir stand. It too clearly shows the 1955 date.
Louuikinen, too, remembers the beautiful weather and had an interesting story about an elk barbecue at Fort Clatsop. Everyone was eaglerly awaiting the arrival of the elk meat, which was being prepared in Seaside and to be delivered by truck to the new Fort Clatsop. The truck didn't show up. Apparently, the driver took the elk meat to Camp Rilea, which was called Camp Clatsop at the time. He didn't know there was a Fort Clatsop. Louuikinen says he can't be blamed for not knowing of Fort Clatsop's existence as it was "just a clearing in the woods at the time, no buildings." The event was particularly memorable for Louuikinen as her two children were young and "were getting restless." She still remembers her quandary wondering whether she should wait for the stray elk meat to show up or just take her kids home.
"Of course," she adds, "this wouldn't happen today with instant communications."