Clatsop county, named after the tribe which inhabited the sandy plains west of Young Bay, at the mouth of the Columbia, was established June 22, 1844, on the petition of Josiah L. Parrish. The present boundaries were fixed January 15, 1855, giving the county 862 square miles, most of which is heavily timbered land. The value of farms, buildings, and live-stock is a little over $307,000; but the assessed valuation of real and personal property is a trifle over $1,136,000, and the gross value nearly double that amount.

The principal industries of the county are lumbering, fishing, and dairying. The population is about 5,500, except in the fishing season, when it is temporarily at least two thousand more. Resources Or. and Wash., 1882, 213; Comp. X. Census, 367. Astoria, the county seat, was founded in 1811 by the Pacific Fur Company, and named after John Jacob Astor, the head of that company. It passed through various changes before being incorporated by the Oregon legislature January 18, 1856. Its situation, just within the estuary of the Columbia, has been held to be sufficient reason for regarding this as the natural and proper place for the chief commercial town of Oregon. But the application of steam to sea-going vessels has so modified the conditions upon which commerce had formerly sought to establish centres of trade that the custom-house only, for many years, compelled vessels to call at Astoria. It has now, however, a population of about 3,000, and is an important shipping point, the numerous fisheries furnishing and requiring a large amount of freight, and in the season of low water in the Willamette, compelling deep-water vessels to load in the Columbia, receiving and handling the immense grain and other exports from the Willamette Valley and eastern Oregon. Its harbor is sheltered by the point of the ridge on the east side of Young Bay from the storm-winds of winter, which come from the south-west. There is but little level land for building purposes, but the hills have been graded down into terraces, one street rising above another parallel to the river, affording fine views of the Columbia and its entrance, which is a dozen miles to the west, a little north. Connected by rail with the Willamette Valley and eastern Oregon, the locks at the cascades of the Columbia at the same time giving uninterrupted navigation from The Dalles to the mouth of the river, Astoria is destined to assume yet greater commercial importance. There are no other towns of consequence in this county. Clatsop, incorporated in 1870, Skippanon, Clifton, Jewell, Knappa, Olney, Mishawaka, Seaside House, Fort Stevens, and Westport are either fishing and lumbering establishments, or small agricultural settlements. Westport is the most thriving of these settlements, half agricultuural and half commercial.

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