Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Visiting Pier 39 at Astoria brought us to the Historic Hanthorn Cannery museum. The cannery is now cold storage and offices, but during its hey dey, it sent millions of cases of salmon and tuna per year around the world. The most unusual cold storage was the ice cubes in the urinals of the unisex bathroom.
Three huge walk in refrigerators held the memorabilia; huge pictures on the walls; an informative video and pieces of old canning machinery.

Just one crab trap weighs 90 pounds. A Fishermen's competition would require a guy to stack 10 of these in less than three minutes. I tired photographing some of the old pictures on the wall.

Women worked the canneries and there were no unions or men on the lines.

Hanthorn Cannery was built in 1875. By 1887, J.O. Hanthorn, with six other canneries, formed the Columbia River Packers Association. At one time 38 canneries operated on the Columbia River.
Salmon was king, but by 1900, the salmon runs were suffering from over fishing. Tuna revived the canneries and over took salmon as the most popular canned fish. In 1938 the Bonneville Dam, and three years later, the Grand Coulee, finished the salmon runs.
The Hanthorn cannery is the only one left to provide an interpretive center that recounts the story of 130 years of history. The museum is free of charge and is operated by a non-profit foundation.
Also on the pier was the Rogue Public House that specialized in Harry's Beer Cheese Soup with Andouille sausage made with Dead Man Ale and served with their famous hazelnut bread.
Their home brews included a Brutally Bitter Ale and a wonderful stout. The clam chowder was different than any I've tasted and delicious. It had a strong rosemary flavor that did not overpower the clams.

You can also choose a taster and try several different types for a small fee.

1 comment:

Uncle Jim said...

I worked at the Cold Storage in 1962,stacking frozen tuna in the freezers. My first job out of high school.My father worked there for 27 years.