In a less-than-obvious way, the Fort Clastsop fire should be an education for Astorians. ("Mystery Fire destroys Ft. Clatsop replica," The Daily Astorian, Oct. 4)

The complex was simply a copy; a replication. Nevertheless, as a replication, it still had a historic value, still sparked historical sentiment, still generated publicity and still produced income for the region. Even as a replication, it perpetuated the Lewis and Clark enterprise and the Lewis and Clark era and will doubtless be rebuilt with a fury.

Astoria's new economy will generate an era of new construction, and this period will either be history subtractive or history enhancing. If we want to entice more visitors, more publicity and more grants, our planning commission, as they approve building permits, needs to enhance what we already have by insisting that builders and their architects, if not replicate, then at least capture the flavor of this town's antiquity.

It is a policy in most historical towns in America; it is tied to our revenue potential. Structures like the Cannery Pier Hotel will, over the coming years, affirm this thinking. Others of our buildings, either new or in the planning stage, may not make the tour guides.