Old Cannery Piers, Along the Lower Columbia, Oregon
More than 50 salmon canneries crowded the waterfront at Astoria in the 1880s, jutting out over the river on pilings like these. The first was built in the 1860s, using technology developed in France to feed Napoleon’s Army. Soon they were springing up like mushrooms in the spring, spawning a huge demand for fish, which were pulled from the river by the thousands with nets, traps and weirs. By the 1880s, Columbia River canneries were producing 500,000 cases of salmon a year and shipping them to ports around the world. But within 20 years they were gradually shutting down, victims of over-fishing. Today there are no major canning operations in Astoria.