10 years ago this week — 2011

It’s the Cinderella story of the art world: part-time painter’s works become sought after by museums and collectors.

Sometimes the fairy tale comes true.

The works of one of those “amateur” painters are on display at the Columbia River Maritime Museum in an exhibit opening Friday.

Featured artist Cleveland Rockwell had a successful 19th-century career in the military and the federal Coast Survey. But it was his after-hours hobby of painting the landscapes he scouted so intensely for his employers that brought him to renown and still keeps his name alive in art collectors’ circles.

As part of the Astoria bicentennial celebration, the Columbia River Maritime Museum is presenting an exhibition of Rockwell’s paintings — 36 oils and watercolors depicting the coastline of the Astoria area and the ships and people that plied the waters there more than a century ago.

“We wanted to do something special as our part for the bicentennial,” said Jeff Smith, the museum’s curator. “This was appropriate for us, and significant for the celebration.”

The Wildlife Center of the North Coast has released a group of brown pelicans back into the wild.

Some of the pelicans had gotten tangled in fishing lines and suffered frostbite and wing injuries. One pelican was rescued by volunteers while it was seeking shelter in the Hallmark Resort pool during a snow storm with gale force winds.

The brown pelican was removed from the federal endangered species list in 2009. But the Wildlife Center of the North Coast has been keeping population counts since 2007.

The Newport and Astoria baseball teams came into Saturday’s game at Ernie Aiken Field tied for second in the latest 4A coaches poll.

When it was over, the Fishermen looked a lot more second-ranked than the Cubs.

Astoria got even for their last loss — and embarrassed the Cubs in the process — and geared up for the postseason as the Fishermen pounded Newport 12-2 to close out the regular season.

And now Astoria looks ready to make another state title run, which would make it four straight trips to Volcanoes Stadium.

50 years ago — 1971

A “Weird and unpredictable” wind early Sunday tumbled a pier at 50th Street in Astoria, sinking a gillnet boat and beaching others at the Bumble Bee Seafoods facility.

Bill Keiner, an Astoria fisherman, lost his boat early Sunday morning when the century-old pier collapsed, sinking the boat.

Waves were reported to have crossed the railroad tracks at the entrance to the pier area, lifting the pier and collapsing it.

Johnny Parsons, 12, was on the observation deck of the Astoria Column Saturday for longer than he wanted.

While taking in the breathtaking view, a gust of wind slammed the door shut, locking it. Then Lonnie Dillon, of Salem, coming to the rescue, took the door off by its hinges, rescued the boy, and put the door back.

The Columbia River lightship station in Astoria was the first on the West Coast and within a few years probably will be the last guiding mariners to American ports. The U.S. Coast Guard maintains 13 lightships, but they are being phased out and replaced by automated buoys and manned light stands.

But the Coast Guard says weather and tide conditions at the mouth of the Columbia — one of the most treacherous ship passages in the world — will preclude deactivation of that station for several years.

Standing guard at the Columbia passage is the WLV 604-Columbia, the sixth vessel to serve the station since it was established in 1892.

Coast Guard records show the first Columbia was a 112 foot steel and wood ship equipped with a mineral oil-fired beacon light.

By comparison, the new Columbia, built in 1960, carries a 600,000 candlepower light and a radio beacon with a beam that reaches out 100 miles.

Its principal mission is to guide ships into the river for passage to ports in Astoria, Vancouver and Portland.

But in addition to their “sentinel” duties, the men of the Columbia collect meteorological data for the National Weather Service, display storm warnings and provide sea temperature and salinity readings for the University of California and Oregon State University.

What is duty like on the Columbia?

Although constantly in motion, either going up a wave or down one, the ship rides fairly well. The anchor usually holds the vessel into the waves, and its draft of 11 feet keeps it steady. And 12,000 gallons of water and 42,000 of fuel provide good ballast.

“Nobody gets sick out here, and they all have good appetites,” reports cook Thomas E. Lee, of Idaho.

The Columbia crew spends four weeks at sea and two weeks ashore on a rotating basis.

Business continued near normal in the Astoria area as the nationwide rail strike moved into its second day. But this normalcy will deteriorate if the strike lasts any longer. No train came in from Portland today.

75 years ago — 1946

LONG BEACH, Wash. — The annual Tourist Ball, the official opening event of the tourist season on the Long Beach Peninsula, was held in Long Beach pavilion Saturday night with the usual large crowd including many out-of-town visitors.

All cottages were filled, taverns ran out of beer early in the evening and the Astoria-North Beach Ferry Co. had to run two ferries all day Sunday to carry people back home after the festivities.

The crowd for the weekend, however, was not quite as large as it was two weeks ago when the last good clam tides of the season occurred.

Among the air stations which the U.S. Navy proposes to declare surplus in fiscal year 1947 is the Astoria station, according to United Press dispatches from Washington, D.C.

The Port of Astoria Commission recently adopted a resolution that it would sponsor the airport when it is declared surplus by the Navy and when local interests indicate a desire that it be utilized.

In the meantime, the Port Commission will take no action toward having it declared surplus by the Navy.

Planked Columbia River spring Chinook salmon was the principal item on the menu of the San Francisco Press Club at a recent dinner meeting. And it was all because Dr. Arthur Van Dusen set himself to prove to Californians that there is no fish the peer of that taken from the waters in front of his native city. On his return from Palm Springs, California, he stopped at San Francisco, where he and his wife were guests of Ron Wagoner, of the United Press, who is president of the San Francisco Press Club. On his return he had a large spring Chinook iced and sent to Wagoner, who served it at a press club dinner at which Jack Benny was the special guest. Van Dusen has just received an autographed photograph of the salmon being viewed by Wagoner and Benny who testify to the reputation the doctor gave it.

There can be no question any more that opossums, the small animals traditionally associated with the deep south, have migrated to the Northwest and eventually found their way into various sections of Clatsop County. Too many have been killed or captured here recently to leave any further doubt as to their presence.

They have been reported as having been caught or killed near Warrenton, Gearhart and Youngs River.

The city dump will be no safe salvaging ground anymore because of presence of a deadly rat poison there, according to arrangements completed today between Astoria, Delbert R. Vaughn, Clatsop County sanitarian, and Albert H. Swain, rodent control official for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Swain has brought some of a newly-developed poison, known as formula 1080, which, although still in experimental stage, has had deadly effect on rats. It is also dangerous to dogs, cats and humans.

The worst strike in its history staggered the nation today.

From New York to Chicago to San Francisco to Peoria, Illinois, the impact of the strike of railroad engineers and trainmen disrupted the lives of millions of persons and, in some way, reached into almost every American home.

Normal railroad service will be maintained here today even though the strike is called. Future operation of trains is uncertain, although railroad officials indicated that main line trains may run with pickup crews. This emergency service may not extend to branch lines like those in Astoria.

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