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Astoria, Oregon: 1944

"Astoria '44" is the latest Kodachrome from Navy photographer's mate Don Cox. The view here is looking west along Commercial Street at the intersection with 14th. View full size.

"Astoria '44" is the latest Kodachrome from Navy photographer's mate Don Cox. The view here is looking west along Commercial Street at the intersection with 14th. View full size.


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The ivory colored steering wheel

on the car to the left adds a touch of class not seen in today's vehicles.

Things have changed a bit

Penney's closed a couple of years ago. Many of the buildings are still there, just under different ownership and with different activities inside. The street is a one way now, and can get pretty hectic during tourist season. Perhaps it was Christmas time, since the lights over the street are red and green (that might also explain the rain). The Commodore is still there but decidedly more upscale than before. The little stop signs are still there... I lived at 10th and Exchange and we had one outside the building.

He must have been staying at the Hotel Astoria, as the picture is from the sidewalk outside of it. Nicest place in town back then. Now apartments. Turn the google street view to your left to see it.

I love to visit but it's a tough town to live in. Pretty expensive. Pretty damp!

Oh! Those Christmas lights strung across the street.

Had those bulbs in our town growing up how bright and cheerful they were during the holiday season. Nice to see those again and I'm happy Astoria didn't get around to taking them down or may be just put them up.

Liberty Theater

As noted by notinfocus, two blocks down on the left, you can see the sign of the Liberty Theater, opened for vaudeville and movies in 1925 in the Astor Building.

As grand old theaters go, the Liberty is a success story--so far. The Astor Building has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1984. The theater had a thorough restoration in the early 2000s and is now a performing arts center for live entertainment.

Of course, the last year has not been good. Here's hoping for the centennial.


The rubber "Stop" flap is a vague memory to me. I would have known it 10-15 years later.

Liberty Theater: Saturday matinees. 15 cents, so mostly out of my budget.

Seaside 20 miles sign: Back before the Young's Bay Bridge and 101 straightening and modern traffic, my older brother first rode our 24", coaster-brake, heavyweight bike to Seaside. Then I had to do it. Then he road to Cannon Beach, some miles south of Seaside. Then we moved away. I was nearing my 12th birthday when we moved.

Note the Jeep. Battery Russell maybe? Or even Tongue Point. With the war, Astoria was probably about the size it is today. Little over 10,000 people.

In the '50's the river often had liberty ships anchored on their way somewhere when the tide changed.

Tillamook 71 miles: Some months after this pic, our Mom and Dad would have met and married there.

And, yeah, the wet pavement pretty much sums up Astoria. I always laughed at the most-commonplace prediction or report of "scattered showers". In Astoria, that meant "variably drizzling".


Can’t resist another comment, if I may. I found another view, from nine years earlier.

Commodore Hotel

The Commodore Hotel is still going strong. It was a nice boutique hotel when I stayed there a few years ago.

I noticed the yellow stop sign next to the hotel. When did the color get standardized to red?

Right Turn on Red

... and you didn't even need to stop.

Commodore Hotel

If you'll be my Dixie Chicken, I'll be your Tennessee Lamb --

Traffic Control?

This is a great photo but that little stop sign in the middle of the street is killing me!


This is a great photo. Like all of you I love color snaps of earlier times. Wonderful. In the part of the country I grew up in, we never had STOP signs rising up out of the street. But, I'm sure it had some practical safety reason for being there. Anyone know the answer to this?

I'll always be grateful

That I grew up in an era when downtowns looked like this.

Confidence is key

In enlarging the photo to take it all in, I was captivated by the attractive-looking lady with the confident stride, crossing the street just to the left of the car coming towards us in the roadway. She's wearing what looks to be a red skirt and white blouse, with an olive-drab trench coat slung casually over her shoulders, and she's carrying something in her arms. She's a brunette with nice legs who appears to have matched her shoes to her hemline. Usually that's a no-no but from my POV, with her energy, it looks snappy and positive. I hope she was having a great day under that beautiful sky, and that she enjoyed a long, successful, and happy life.

Nice, shiny pavement very photogenic

Don was fortunate to find Astoria when it had been raining. It's a rare occurrence in that arid corner of the country. Ha ha.

The Liberty Theater, just visible up the street on the left, is the object of a long restoration project:

Rain light

This is such a gorgeous photo. At the level of detail, my eyes swim all over it, trying to take in all the signs and buildings and vehicles, not to mention the vanishing point that has the added bonus of going up, as the road slopes. But when you pull back for the overall effect, the splash of light on the right, so momentary, of sun breaking through cloud following a rain shower, is truly spectacular.

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