life experience, living life, small community life

Shanghaeid in Astoria….

Soon after we left the farm we landed in Astoiria, Oregon.  My son got involved with a local production called SHANGHAIED IN ASTORIA . It is a very interesting production utilizing local talent. The group of people were a tight group and brought multiple facets to the production. This production brings together the stereotypical ethnicities of Astoria. Astoria had a large population of finnish, Scandinavian and Norwegian. The humor of the Irish sea-captain, the not so smart Norwegian, a few finnish brothers and the influence of a very lucrative madame. Astoria was known for fishing and logging. The town was full of bars and churches on every corner it also had more brothels than churches and bars put together. Most establishments: the hardware store, the blacksmith, the mercantile, and the barber always had a side door that led to ladies of the night. Many a man told their wives they were going to the hardware store on a regular basis. This history added lots of color to Astoria.

Being shanghaied was a forced conscription. Verbal history tells us that men would be knocked in the head after getting inebriated,  dropped thru the Shanghai trap door and taken out to a ship. The shanghaied person would wake the next morning on a ship sailing to parts unknown. Many a trouble maker were not seen again for years. There are several bars in Astoria that still have the Shanghai trap door.

At the end of the season the cast would have a little fun and trade roles the guys would dress up as the dance hall girls and the girls would dress as the villain, or the finnish fisherman. This was called the Topsey Turvey. A good fundraiser for the Astor Street Opry Company.

The following pictures are of members of the cast at the Topsey Turvey Ball (several years ago);

topsyturvy6 topsyturvy4topsyturvy5  topsyturvy3 topsyturvy2 topsyturvy1When visiting Astoria put “SHANGHAIED IN ASTORIA” on your list of things to do!

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