Ales & Ideas: Searching for Astoria’s Pauper Cemetery

When three citizens found a wooden sign in Warrenton’s forest proclaiming “All is lost but hope,” they believed they discovered the entry to Astoria’s long-forgotten Pauper’s Cemetery. However, the authenticity of their discovery raised more questions than answers about the location and boundaries of the cemetery, who was buried there, and whether any grave markers remained. Soon, it became apparent that the history of burying the county’s poor and “undesirables” was inextricably linked to the larger context of Astoria’s cemeteries… a history that is both complex and incomplete.

John Goodenberger, a Historic Preservation instructor at Clatsop Community College, and student intern, Kristi Jenkins-Smith, used an Oregon Historic Cemeteries Grant to document the history of Ocean View Cemetery and its adjacent, overgrown, Potter’s Field. The duo followed the trail of a researcher who, seventy years ago, left hand-written notes in sexton books as he, too, tried to make sense of the records. While following his lead, Goodenberger and Jenkins Smith also sought a hand-drawn map, last seen decades ago, created by a sexton who recorded the location of the cemetery and its remaining markers as measured from a cluster of eight willow trees. The map’s existence, known through oral history, gained almost mythical status among local genealogists. Goodenberger’s lecture will highlight his method of research and t findings as he and Jenkins-Smith traced the cemetery’s unfortunate past.

John Goodenberger is an adjunct instructor at Clatsop Community College. He played a vital role in establishing the college’s Historic Preservation program and presently conducts night classes in architectural history, preservation theory, and hand-drafting. During the day, he is on call as the City Historian for the City of Astoria. He is also writing a 170-year history of the Flavel family, telling the story based on thousands of letters and scraps of paper found within their home.

Doors to the Lovell Showroom open at 6pm with food and beverages available via the Taproom window, talk starts at 7pm. All ages welcome and never a cover.

The Thursday Lecture Series is a reoccurring community lecture series every Thursday, October through May. Thank you to our 2023/2024 Partners –

1st Thursdays – Ales & Ideas w/ Clatsop Community College
2nd Thursdays – Wit & Wisdom w/ Philosofarian
3rd Thursdays – Thursday Night Talk w/ Clatsop County Historical Society
4th Thursdays – Nature Matters w/ Lewis & Clark National Historic Park, Lewis & Clark National Park Association, and North Coast Watershed Association

WHERE: Fort George Brewery, 1483 Duane St. Astoria, Oregon 97103 Map