Last week the Ear ran a story about a chance to become the "Oregon History Idol" and sing the Oregon anthem, "Oregon, My Oregon," the words of which were written in 1920 by Astoria Judge JOHN A. BUCHANAN (pictured, inset).

The story inspired some local wag, "SAM CLEMENS," with an address somewhere under the Astoria Bridge, to send in the poem "ASTORIA," written in December 1919, also purportedly by Judge Buchanan. But did the judge really write "Astoria"? It didn't say so on the page.

LIISA PENNER of the Clatsop County Historical Society (CCHS) to the rescue, yet again. She forwarded the Ear's inquiry to CAROL LAMBERT, a longtime volunteer at the Heritage Museum, and provided the photo of the judge.

"Judge Buchanan is my maternal grandfather," Carol wrote to the Ear. "He did indeed compose ‘Astoria,' which is printed in his book of poems titled ‘Sunset at the Bar,' on page 46." The judge apparently penned numerous poems in his lifetime.

Here's a verse from "Astoria": "Though other lands may bloom as fair, / As other lands I roam, / No other city can compare / With that I know as home; / No matter where my lot is cast, / Or what my fate may be, / My heart turns to Astoria, / Astoria by the Sea." Pictured, Astoria in about 1916.

Other historical tidbits about the judge (who died in 1935, and is buried at Ocean View Cemetery in Warrenton) are that he was one of the founders of the ASTORIA KIWANIS in 1919, as well as one of the original organizers of the CCHS, circa 1921.

He was proud of our fair city, and in the poem "Astoria" dreamed of Astoria's future as having "a hundred thousand happy homes / upon thy shores ... ," and "a thousand ships thy tribute bring." He also envisioned "a thousand cargoes marshaling / for every land and sea." Now that's something to think about.

— Elleda Wilson

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