Lewis and Clark’s expedition is known to many, but this region’s real trailblazers came in 1810 when the Astor Expedition marched the path of what was once the Oregon Trail. John Astor and Thomas Jefferson set out to recreate Jamestown on the west coast, but they never imagined the starvation and other hardships that were in store. Outside Magazine’s Peter Stark recreates this epic journey in Astoria: Astor and Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition and Survival. What started as a plan to control the fur trade and Pacific shipping rights ended in a two-pronged journey — one by land and another by sea — and the establishment of Fort Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River. Nearly half the expedition died of violence and others went mad, but the trek showed the value of cross-country expansion for the young United States. Stark will be joined in conversation with Feliks Banel, producer of “PIE” on KCTS 9 and host of ‘This NOT Just In” on KUOW 94.9.
Presented by: Town Hall and Elliott Bay Book Company, as part of the Civics series. Series supported by The Boeing Company, the RealNetworks Foundation, and the True-Brown Foundation. Series media sponsorship provided by The Stranger and KUOW.
Learn more: A map of the expedition.