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N. Oregon Coast Cannery History Comes Alive with New Astoria Outdoor Market

Published 05/12/21 at 8:05 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

N. Oregon Coast Cannery History Comes Alive with New Astoria Outdoor Market

(Astoria, Oregon) – Up at the tippy top of the Oregon coast, Astoria - it turns out - has a second outdoor market that kicked into life this year. The Hanthorn Cannery Market at Pier 39 is a new venture from the Hanthorn Cannery Foundation, starting its run in late April and going until late September. (Photo courtesy Pier 39)

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Currently, it's a small collection of what the foundation's Peter Marsh called “handful of vendors,” still in its early stages, with this motley troupe of entrepreneurs, upstarts and start-ups hoping to invent something new.

“We'll see where it goes,” Marsh told Oregon Coast Beach Connection.

The market operates on Pier 39 behind Rogue Public House on Sundays from 10 am to 3 pm through September 25. Marsh said visitors are invited to enjoy the views, the free Hanthorn Cannery museum, restaurants and “other activities that make Pier 39 a special and unique experience.” It's the foundation's way of raising money and awareness about its efforts to preserve Astoria's history of its fishing and canning industry.

“Pier 39 is bustling with activity in the summer months and the market organizers feel that this market will be a positive event for craftspeople and the public,” Marsh said.

There is a distinct historical vibe here, as if you are indeed walking right into the past as you first step upon that large wooden pier / bridge that takes you to this facility on the water. That's because this is a complex that's over 140 years old, originally part of the Bumble Bee Cannery production line – back when Astoria was filled with such over-the-water canneries. Most of those no longer exist, but it's why you see all those pilings trailing off into the Great Columbia River from Astoria's waterfront.

Pier 39 is one of the few that still remain, and the Hanthorn Cannery is itself a museum dedicated to depicting that rough-and-tumble past along the north Oregon coast, put together by the Hanthorn Foundation. The organization is dedicated to the preservation of cannery history, all cannery workers, and the fishing industry livelihood as it was developed from 1875 to the present. In turn, the museum houses a collection of historic equipment, photos and documents. There are even ancient, vintage gill-net boats.

At its height in the late 19th century, around 30,000 cans of salmon were put together each year in this facility.

“The Hanthorn Cannery is the oldest fish processing plant remaining on the lower Columbia River,” Hanthorn said.

A bit of a twist here: Marsh said the Hanthorn Cannery name itself is essentially made up. There never was an actual cannery here by that name. It's always been a part of the Bumble Bee complex throughout the pier's history.

“We sometimes call it the Bumble Bee museum,” Marsh said.

Pier 39 also includes a number of businesses including Rogue Pier 39 Public House, The Coffee Girl, Hanthorn Crab Company, Four Winds Canvas Works, Astoria Scuba, and the Fisherman's Suites vacation rentals.

The Hanthorn Cannery Market is still looking for more vendors.

“Vendors who make hand-crafted products are welcome to apply,” the foundation said in a press release. “These can include works in wood, metal, fiber plus art of all kinds, processed food, jewelry, etc., that reflect the tradition of local design and craftsmanship preserved in the museum and throughout Pier 39.”

Vendors with appropriate-themed products who are interested in learning more about how to participate should email or call 360-269-1039. Booth fees are $25 for a 10' x 10' (or $80 a month) and $15 (or $55 a month) for a table-top space approximately 5' x 4'.

The information number for the public is 360-269-1039. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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