Friday, August 3, 2012
The Astoria Maritime Museum
The Columbia River is a vast maritime highway and for many years was the major travel route in the area. Steamers like this would run up river all the way to Lewiston, ID, a distance of some 465 miles from the ocean.
This was no easy trip in these days as the Columbia was a wild, raging river with many rapids. The steamers had to run right through these and it must have been quite an exciting ride, to say the least. These steamboats used wood for fuel and burned about 4 cords of wood per HOUR (yes, hour!). This was an enormous amount of wood and called for a huge amount of labor to just fuel it.
The Columbia River was not fully explored until the early 1800's and much of the area remained quite wild well past that time. Indeed, a display of historic maps shows how little was known of the Pacific Northwest even into the 17th century.