Water under the bridge

1968 — Costumed Vikings prepared to sail from the West Mooring Basin as their scale replica of an ancient Norwegian sailing vessel was made seaworthy following a night of work by members of the crew. Named Gokstad, the vessel was to go to Portland for a Scandinavian festival.

10 years ago this week — 2008

After nine years of meetings, property purchases, a groundbreaking and construction, the only thing left to do before opening Seaside’s new library was to cut a red ribbon.

Mayor Don Larson did just that. With a giant pair of scissors, Larson, who called the library “absolutely beautiful,” performed the ribbon-cutting ceremony and started a new era.

Before the ribbon cutting, Larson introduced several people involved in the project, as well as State Librarian Jim Scheppke.

“Seaside is now on the official state librarians’ list as one of the best communities in Oregon,” Scheppke said.

It’s too early to call it a “first-place showdown,” but the volleyball Clatsop Clash was a vintage Clatsop Smash, featuring the league’s most improved team vs. the two-time defending league champions. And both are contenders for the 2008 Cowapa title.

Defending champ Astoria certainly looks the part, as the Fishermen won a marathon match at Seaside, 25-20, 28-30, 25-17, 21-25, 15-10.

“I’m ready to go home, kiss my son goodnight, have a little dinner, talk to my wife and go to bed,” Astoria coach Eric Gohr said after the match. “Yea, I’m tired.”

For that matter, everybody was a little exhausted.

The Necanicum Watershed Council has received $49,000 from American Rivers and the national Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to help restore fish passage to Circle Creek, a tributary of the Necanicum River.

50 years ago — 1968

An Englishman who claims America as his home canoed into Portland on the Columbia River this week.

Another 110 miles and he will be in Astoria and the end of a 5,000-mile route from New York to the Pacific Ocean.

Bob Sanders, 37, took the old northern route of the Hudson’s Bay fur traders through Lake Winnipeg and the North Saskatchewan River. Sanders is a native of Surrey, England.

“I felt the old fur trader route through the Canadian wilderness held a real challenge for a canoeist, and that is why I accepted it,” Sanders said in Portland.

His route went up the Hudson River, through Lake Champlain to the St. Lawrence, the Ottawa River and Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay and Lake Huron.

He went around the southern shore of Lake Superior to Copper Harbor and boarded a lake boat for the crossing to Grand Portage where the fur traders took off for the Far West.

The most northern point on the route was 50 miles northeast of Edmonton about 340 miles from the U.S.-Canadian boundary.

Nearly 600 sixth graders of Clatsop County schools will make their annual forestry tour at the forestry demonstration tract near Astor experiment station, county extension Agent Jack Wood has announced.

This has been an annual event for several years. Students visit each of eight stations in the tract, at each of which a different phase of forestry management is demonstrated, with a lecture.

75 years ago — 1943

The CRPA shipyard, which is building 2,300-ton wooden barges for the U.S. maritime commission, announced this week it would conduct intensive recruiting for labor to meet a maritime commission deadline of Dec. 31 for completion of three barges now on the ways in varying degrees of completion.

Bill Wootton, manager of the yard, said the maritime commission has urged completion of the big 274-foot barges by the end of this year; and that to complete this job the company’s labor force of about 300 men must be augmented by at least 100 more very soon.

The company now has one barge nearly ready for launching; and it is expected that the first of the three huge ships (each of which contain 1,750,000 feet of lumber) will be launched sometime in October. The barges are larger, in many ways, than any wooden ship built here in the last war and represent the heaviest wooden ship building on the Columbia River in this war.

A memento of Astoria’s past was recovered from the bottom of the Columbia when dragging operations for a pump, lost by the oil barge Umatilla Sand, resulted in the recovery of an old-fashioned ship’s anchor.

The work of dragging, which has been under way for some time under the direction of A.D. Zimmerman, prominent Columbia River diver, was suddenly brought to a halt when the drags hooked onto an object that at first refused to budge. Zimmerman donned his diving suit and went down to look over the situation.

He discovered the hooks entangled in the huge anchor. The anchor was finally hoisted to the surface and onto the barge lying at the foot of Fifteenth Street.

Zimmerman estimates the weight of the anchor at about three tons. Harry Cherry, local waterfront pundit and historian, reports that the anchor was probably lost by some sailing ship prior to 1910 or 1912, for it was after this period that sailing ships ceased to operate out of the Columbia.

Bob Duke is the author of the weekly Water Under the Bridge column in The Astorian. Contact him at beachduke@gmail.com

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