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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Astoria in Clatsop County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)
 

14th Street Ferry Slip

Capt. Fritz Elfving and the Astoria-North Beach Ferry Co.

 
 
14th Street Ferry Slip Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 9, 2015
1. 14th Street Ferry Slip Marker
Inscription.
In 1921, responding to increasing popularity of travel by automobile, Captain Fritz Elfving formed the Astoria-North Beach Ferry Company to transport passengers and cars across the Columbia River. His ferry slip on the Oregon side of the river was located here at the foot of 14th Street in Astoria.

In 1927, a competing ferry line was established nearby, operating the Union Pacific ferry North Beach between Astoria and Megler, Washington, directly across the river from here. In 1932 the owners of the rival ferry service attempted to run Capt. Elfving out of business by driving pilings in front of his 14th St. landing. Capt. Elfving responded by ramming apart the pilings with the new and stoutly built Tourist No. 3, the flagship of his line. Drifting pieces of broken timbers later disabled the North Beach for several days. Capt. Elfving finally bought out his competitors in 1934, ending the local “ferry wars.”

The State of Oregon took over Capt. Elfving’s ferry service in 1946, adding the new steel ferry M.R. Chessman in 1947. Increasing auto traffic in the 1950s brought frequent traffic pile-ups during the summer season. Finally, the present 3.7 mile-long bridge spanning the Columbia River from Astoria to Pt. Ellice, Washington was begun in 1962 and completed
Marker detail: 120-foot Wooden Ferry Boat <i>Tourist No. 3</i> image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 9, 2015
2. Marker detail: 120-foot Wooden Ferry Boat Tourist No. 3
Was designed by naval architect Joseph M. Dyer, and built by Astoria Marine Construction Company in 1931. Visible in the background is Tongue Pt., at the east end of Astoria.
four years later. The last regularly scheduled run of the Astoria ferry was July 28, 1966.
 
Erected by City of Astoria.
 
Location. 46° 11.392′ N, 123° 49.725′ W. Marker is in Astoria, Oregon, in Clatsop County. Marker is at the intersection of East Columbia River Highway (U.S. 30) and 14th Street, on the left when traveling east on East Columbia River Highway. Touch for map. Marker overlooks the Columbia River, at the base of the 14th Street Pier, at the point where 14th Street meets the river. Marker is at or near this postal address: 175 14th Street, Astoria OR 97103, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Gimre's Shoe Store (within shouting distance of this marker); Columbia River Tugs And Towboats (within shouting distance of this marker); Pilots on the Columbia River (within shouting distance of this marker); Into the Unknown (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); At Play on the River (about 500 feet away); Harvesting River & Sea (about 600 feet away); A Waterfront at Work (about 600 feet away); Fort Astoria (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Astoria.
 
Also see . . .
1. Astoria to Washington Ferries.
In 1916 construction was completed on the Columbia River Highway (today's Highway 30) linking Astoria and Portland.
Marker detail: Captain F. S. Elfving image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 9, 2015
3. Marker detail: Captain F. S. Elfving
A Swedish immigrant with a resounding voice, retained an accent for his entire life. Noted for insisting his ferries depart on schedule. His familiar, "Vail, it is time ve go now," carried for blocks along the waterfront.
Along with the new highway to Astoria came a demand for reliable ferry service from Astoria to Washington State. In 1921 Captain Fritz Elfving created a ferry service between Astoria and McGowan with a ferry named "The Tourist". Between 1927 and 1930 the Union Pacific Railroad tried to compete with Captain Elfving by running a ferry between Astoria and Megler. In 1932 Elfving bought out the competition and combined the two companies, relocating all ferry landings to Megler, a better location for a landing than McGowan. (Submitted on January 19, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Astoria–Megler ferry.
Ferry service across the Columbia River from Astoria, Oregon to Megler, Washington began in the summer of 1920 when Capt. Fritz S. Elfving set up a scow as an improvised ferry and transported over 700 vehicles during that summer. In April 1921, Elfving incorporated as the Astoria-McGowan Ferry Company. Elfving persuaded the Astoria City Council to use municipal funds to construct a ferry dock on the Oregon side of the river. (Submitted on January 19, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

3. Astoria ferry makes Restore Oregon’s most endangered list.
Restore Oregon has named the ferry Tourist No. 2 one of its 12 most endangered places in 2018. The nonprofit Astoria Ferry Group is restoring the 93-year-old vessel to be used for river excursions and other events. Built in 1924, the
Marker detail: Ferry Route Map image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 9, 2015
4. Marker detail: Ferry Route Map
The ferry routes across the Columbia River from Astoria to the Washington shore were subject to change due to river conditions. Broad shoal areas lie in the middle of the river, often visible at low tide. The channel used by the State ferry system during the 1960s would no longer be passable today, partly because of the sand buildup following the eruption of Mt. St. Helens in 1980.
ferry worked the Columbia River under Capt. Fritz Elfving. The Navy commandeered the vessel in 1941 to lay mines at the mouth of the Columbia after the attack on Pearl Harbor. After the war, the Army used the ferry between Fort Stevens and Fort Canby, Washington. In 1946, Elfving bought the ferry back and used it until 1966, when the Astoria Bridge opened. (Submitted on January 19, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 25, 2018. This page originally submitted on January 19, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 56 times since then. Last updated on January 24, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on January 19, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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