There are two Flavel houses in Astoria, Orgeon. The most well-known is the Flavel House Museum at Eighth and Exchange streets, the mansion originally built by Astoria’s first millionaire, Capt. George Flavel, in 1885. The other house, the abandoned, crumbling mansion at 15th and Franklin with only a hint of it’s original stately grace, serves as a testament to the decline of the descendants of the legendary Flavel family into a strange and reclusive bunch after the captain’s death.It was in this house that “Hatchet” Harry Flavel lived with his sister Mary Louise Flavel and mother Florence Flavel at the time of the now-infamous stabbing.
Prior to this, gun shots heard inside the house on Halloween and New Year’s, along with an incident where Harry had allegedly locked his mother and sister out on a widow’s peak on a cold night, spraying them with a garden hose, was as serious as it ever got.
But in February 1983 Harry was walking his dog someone came speeding down the road. As the car passed, Flavel hit the car with the chain of the dog leash. The driver stopped, got out, grabbed Flavel’s sleeve and demanded his name so he could call the police. Flavel suddenly stabbed the man in the abdomen, a move he has always contended was in self-defense.
After being convicted in 1985, Flavel exhausted a string of appeals. He became a fugitive when he neglected to appear at his sentencing on August 17th, 1990, having fled the state with his family. The mansion has been abandoned ever since.
After two months on the run, Harry was arrested in Willow Grove, PA for theft of motel towels. Mary raised his bail, and they disappeared once again.
Harry died at 82 On May 31, 2010. Mary still owns the house, but it remains empty. In October of 2010, black mourning bunting mysteriously appeared draped from the balcony.
Astoria, the first permanent American settlement west of the Rockies, remains a place deeply marked by its history. Locals say there are spirits in the old abandoned buildings. Astoria is also the location where the majority of the 1985 classic The Goonies was filmed.
George Flavel made his money braving the perils of the Columbia river, where more than 100 ships have been lost at its mouth since its discovery in 1792. It has become known as The Graveyard of the Pacific.