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Keith Norrington 09-23-2009 01:50 PM

"Live from the Lightship" (not the levee!)
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Judy Patsch phoned last evening as she and her sister were enjoying clam chowder on a deck overlooking the Pacific at Astoria, Oregon. They had just toured the Columbia River Maritime Museum and Lightship COLUMBIA. Judy reports that the museum has a fine collection of riverboat artifacts such as bells, whistles and models of sternwheelers, but no longer displays the replica pilothouse of the steamer ACHIEVER, now exhibiting instead a modern towboat pilothouse.

Despite a windy day (which was rocking the Lightship COLUMBIA) Judy's Oregon sojourn has been most enjoyable and she'll report more about it soon.

Photos: Steamboat pilothouse replica of the ACHIEVER (no longer exhibited)

Judy Patsch 09-23-2009 10:38 PM

Landlocked again
We just got back from a 538 mile circuit up and down the northern coast of Oregon and are now in navigable-riverless Eugene.(The Willamette and McKenzie flow picturesquely through the town though.) As Keith mentioned, we went to the Maritime Museum in Astoria Tuesday. It has a nice section devoted to steamboating on the Columbia River, with many valuable artifacts including bells, whistles, licenses, bills of lading, furniture, photos of interiors and exteriors of many Columbia River steamboats - but no pilothouse on display. The towboat pilothouse was rather barren also, I thought it might be a simulator but it wasn't. The museum features, and does a very good job, highlighting the work of the Coast Guard. It goes to prove that when they work where the COAST Guard should, they are very efficient, important and respected. The visit to the mouth of the Columbia River and the Pacific was awesome - amazing waves created by the great outflow of the river crashing into the ocean. We stood on the south jetty and watched and photographed. The museum's introductory movie highlights the dangerous ascent/descent of the Bar Pilots onto the ships in those waves... don't know their pay vs. that of the Louisiana State Pilots, but it ought to be higher. Several pilots have died over the years making the transfer between ship and pilot boat . Today found us at the Tillamook Air Museum, housed inside a hangar built to hold 9 blimps during WWII. The hangar is 1082 x 290. The blimps were used to escort ships along the coast, and to ferret out Japanese subs along the coast. Since the hangar is at the port facilities, there were all types of vessels/vehicles there - including an ancient steam locomotive. I'll send pix of that to the 2 Steamlocos Jim... Pix of the river aspects will be posted when I return home next week, no facilities here to do so. We saw a couple of beautiful sunsets from our motel balcony on the beach, but neither could compare to those I see on the good old Upper Mississippi River!

Keith Norrington 10-07-2009 08:30 AM

A note from Jeffrey Smith, curator of the Columbia River Maritime Museum, conveys that the pilothouse replica of the ACHIEVER is still part of the museum, but the Riverboat Gallery has been temporarily closed due to a renovation project that needed the space for storage. Jeffrey said that the pilothouse was constructed based on drawings created by marine designer Joe Dyer with the construction methods and materials followed to the smallest detail. The pilotwheel, bell, clock, and speaking tube are authentic artifacts from Columbia River steamboats. The gallery will eventually be re-opened, so Judy and Carol will have a good excuse to return to Astoria in the future to re-visit the museum -- not to mention the other attractions there, like the good clam chowder!

Judy Patsch 10-07-2009 11:19 AM

Stored artifacts
That makes me wonder how many other artifacts were in storage that we missed. The artifacts they do have on display are certainly valuable.

Bob Reynolds 10-07-2009 11:40 AM

Now, now, Judy....don't be getting any "ideas"! ;-D

Judy Patsch 10-07-2009 11:49 AM

hmm...the pot calling the kettle black!!!
Why Capt. Reynolds, whatever do you mean?

Lexie Palmore 10-08-2009 12:00 PM

I have no idea what he means, Judy. Now where is this place again?

Judy Patsch 10-08-2009 02:13 PM

Columbia River mouth and museum
The Maritime Museum is right on the Columbia in downtown Astoria Oregon. A parking lot is right next to it, so you don't have to carry your souvenirs very far.

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