January 2013 Maracon
Historians M. Constance Guardino III and Rev. Marilyn A. Riedel
Early Words and Sermons (1): An Online Ministry of Rev. Marilyn A. Riedel
Early Words and Sermons (2)
I offer thanks to
relatives, and ancestors whose strength of purpose
led me to my own. A special thanks to my co-author,
Rev. Marilyn A. Riedel, for her deep love and dedication to me and this project.
Without her tireless effort and selfless interest,
this liberating history of Oregon would never have been written.
Historic Oregon Coast Photo Album
Gen Isaac Ingalls Stevens was;
Washington Territory and delegate to congress, 1857-1861. He was
while leading the 79th Regiment New York Volunteers, at
against the Confederates, September 1, 1862. He was
had seized the colors of the regiment after the color-sergeant
Gov. Stevens was highly energetic and constantly active, and was
with the people of the territory. He was at Andover,
18, 1818. In 1839, he was graduated from West Point. He served
in the War of Mexico. The route of his journey to the territory
laid out and surveyed, by him, as one for the railroad, was
by the Northern Pacific. A biography, by his son, Hazard
Stevens, is a
meritorious book: Life of Isaac Ingalls Stevens, Houghton
Company, 1900. Stevens visited the eastern states in 1854. He
March 29, 1854. His report on his council with the Blackfeet,
8, 1854, appear in the Oregonian, July 29, 1854. In 1863, during
War, Fort Stevens was constructed and remained on for the next
as the principal guardian of the Columbia. The fort, in Oregon,
for I. I. Stevens by Cpt. George H. Elliott, USCE, who built the
there and at Cape Disappointment1 in 1864. Fort Stevens post
from February 20, 1899 to January 31, 1949. Edward M. Philebaum
In 1955, Clatsop County gave a large parcel of land immediately south of Fort Stevens to the state for inn in the State Parks system. In 1968, the parks system obtained control of the military reservation via long term lease from the USCE and most of the area is now Fort Stevens State Park. It is not only one of the most popular camping areas but also attracts large numbers of visitors to Battery Russell and other historic gun emplacements. In 1980, Fort Stevens: Oregon's Defender At The River of the West, a detailed history of the post by Marshall Hanft, was published by the State Parks and Recreation Division.
The town of Hammond, located on the western terminus of the railroad on the south bank of the Columbia, about six miles west of Astoria, was named for Andrew Benoni Hammond, a pioneer of the Pacific Northwest. He was born in New Brunswick July 22, 1848, and in 1866-1867 came to Washington and then settled in Montana, where he lived about 30 years, successfully engaged in mercantile and railroad affairs. From 1895 to 1898 he built the Astoria and Columbia River Railroad, later acquired by the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway Company. In later years, Hammond lived in San Francisco, where he died January 15, 1934. He was one of the foremost business men of the Pacific Coast and was interested in timber, lumber, shipping, fishing and various mercantile enterprises. Hammond post office, formerly Flavel, was established June 10, 1897, with Ellen M. Lally first postmaster. Silas B. Smith says that the Clatsop name of the Indian village near the present site of Hammond was He-ahk-stow.
Local history has its roots in the
tribal cultures that inhabited the area for thousands of years.
Columbia River Basin was home to numerous tribes of Chinook
settled both banks of the Columbia and developed highly evolved
systems based on maritime, trading and fishing activities.
on the south side of the river were known as Clatsops and at
their villages spread from Tongue Point and Knappa, in the
Head (45° 57' 54"), south of Seaside.
During the great age of exploration and discovery, the Clatsop came in contact with Europeans who first washed ashore as survivors of shipwrecks and later as members of expeditionary forces. There are numerous stories of sailing ships wrecked along the treacherous Oregon Coast, with survivors being found and nursed back to health by local Clatsop. Many of those sailors assimilated into the culture, living out their days as members of the clan.
For centuries, tales of the Great River of the West drove seafarers to search the Pacific coastline for its source. Both Spanish and British vessels sailed and explored the coast of Oregon as early as the 1500s. However, it wasn't until May 1792, that Captain Robert Gray (1755-1806) and the crew of the Columbia Rediviva became the first representatives of the US to sail across the bar at the mouth of the Columbia. This discovery, almost by accident, gave the US government claim to the area in its continuing territorial disputes with Great Britain and Spain.
With the Louisiana Purchase came impetus to secure a direct land route from the westernmost border of the US (until then the Mississippi River) to the Oregon territories. To that end, Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) appointed Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809) and William Clark (1770-1838) to lead an expedition to the Pacific Northwest and return. Traveling westward from Saint Louis in 1803, the explorers arrived at the mouth of the Columbia River and built a stockade in November for the winter of 1805-1806. Returning to Saint Louis in September of 1806, the expedition released meticulously kept records and observations of their journey, thus serving to launch a westward expansion of settlers.
Trappers, traders, and adventurers were the first of the migrants to settle the area around the mouth of the Columbia. Lured to remote outposts of the Northwest by the lucrative fur trade, a number of companies dispatched representatives to settlements and forts throughout the region.
The two most influential of these trading organizations were the Hudson's Bay Company and John Jacob Astor's (1763-1848) Pacific Fur Company. In 1811, agents of the Pacific Fur Company built a stockade on the site of what is now 15th and Exchange streets and named it "Astoria." The first American settlement west of the Rocky Mountains, the outpost fell under British control on December 13, 1818, due to the War of 1812. Astor's request for reinforcements to protect Astoria had been rejected by the US government; thus he was compelled to sell the fur trading operation to the North West Company, based in Montreal. Renaming it Fort George, the outpost was expanded and fortified. It remained under British control and continued to be used for fur trading operations until the 1814 Treaty of Ghent was observed, and control officially transferred back to the Americans in an 1818 ceremony. However, the North West Company was too established in the region to compete against; thus efforts to revive Pacific Fur Company operations in Astoria were abandoned. The North West and Hudson Bay companies merged in 1821 and in 1824 Fort Vancouver was constructed 100 miles upstream as their new headquarters. Astoria's importance declined rapidly and the desolate outpost deteriorated.
In the late 1830s, missionaries arrived, and by the early 1840s, a number of pioneer settlers chose to make permanent homes around Astoria, Clatsop Plains and Skipanon River. The area began to develop into a regional settlement and commerce point. The first post office west of the Rocky Mountains began operation in 1847 at J. M. Shively's Astoria residence.
Completed for years earlier, erection of the first sawmill in the area ushered in an era of logging that became one of the two defining industries in the region for a century. In its heyday, there were dozens of mills and logging operations around Clatsop County, employing generations of area families in the woods and at the mills. From the beginning the industry had a lucrative export trade, using Astoria’s waterfront to load lumber bound for ports upstream, along the West Coast, and across the Pacific.
Astoria's location as a seaport gave the area its second, and most influential, industrial foundation. All that surrounds the seafaring life came to bear upon forming Astoria's municipal, cultural and business growth. The Columbia and waters of the Pacific Ocean were a wealthy source of fish, particularly the five species of Pacific salmon. As early as 1824, a fish trade had been established with Asia, some Pacific Islanders, and down the coast as far as South America. Over the next 100 years the fishing industry boomed, spurring developments of the area and an influx of residents. By 1877 there were 36 canneries in Astoria, employing a large work force that attracted a variety of immigrants. In the years between 1890 and 1910, a large influx of Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish immigrants resulted in a predominantly Scandinavian population that remained permanently.
In addition to the fishing industry, other maritime activities included boat and ship building, a naval base at Tongue Point, a Coast Guard station, the establishment of the Columbia River Bar Pilots to safely shepherd ships across the treacherous entrance to the Columbia, and a shipping industry that made Astoria a major port.
By the turn of the century numerous towns had grown up around the Columbia Pacific Basin, providing services and supplies to what were once isolated farms and wilderness homesteads.
Case Hotel, Newport, Oregon 1940
Perhaps one of the first experiments
"planned community" began in 1870, when Daniel Knight Warren
160 acres along the Skipanon River and spent the next few years
and platting the land. In 1896, Warren offered cash rebates of
sums to anybody building a residence on lots in the area. He
saplings to border the planned streets and tried,
the rights for dredging a channel deep enough to accommodate
in the Skipanon. By 1899, the town of Warrenton had been
The community of Lexington, which was laid out in 1848, was the forerunner of Warrenton and was the first county seat of Clatsop County. Lexington was a post office in the early history of Oregon. The site of Lexington was near the south limits of Warrenton and about where Skipanon Station was situated. The name Lexington fell into disuse and for many years the territory where Warrenton is now was known as Skipanon. Small boats went up Skipanon River to the place know known as Skipanon, or Upper Landing, and there unloaded passengers and goods for Clatsop Plains. Warrenton near the mouth of the river was platted by its proprietor in 1889 and the development of the community immediately began around Warrenton, with the result that Skipanon ceased to be of equal importance. Most of Skipanon is now within the city limits of Warrenton, although it is about a mile away from the business part of Warrenton.
As the new century began, both Warrenton and Astoria urbanized. Railroad travel to and from Portland began in 1898, and by 1922 the automobile began to replace a local streetcar system that had operated in Astoria since 1905. With increased transportation options came an influx of tourists. Weekenders took the train to Astoria and on into Seaside, necessitating development of lodging and entertainment in the area. The tourist industry continues to thrive.
Once an isolated outpost of trade, the area became more cosmopolitan as this century progressed. Both world wars had effects upon growth. As a strategic point, the mouth of the Columbia became a hub of activity, both at the Tongue Point naval base in Astoria and at Fort Stevens artillery base in Warrenton. Logging and fishing continue to support part of the population, while the influx of visitors is a driving force behind the cultural, political and financial life of the community.
Silas B. Smith, Clatsop County
quoted in Oregon Historical Quarterly, Vol. I, p. 322, to the
Tlatskani was a point in the Nehalem Valley reached by Indians
Columbia either by way of what we now know as Youngs River, or
Clatskanie River. The Indians used the word Tlatskani by
applying it to
certain streams indicating the route they took to get to
not as the name of the streams for Indians were not in the habit
streams. Non-indian settlers carelessly applied the name to the
Clatskanie River in Columbia County, and Klaskanine River in
were thus named, and Clatskanie, a town, developed near the
the former joined the Columbia. Clatskanie is the spelling
USBGN for the features in Columbia County. The locality
hills south of Clatskanie River was named for the Tlatskani
who lived along the river and in the Nehalem Valley to the
are many variations in the spelling of the name. A news story in
Review, October 2, 1931, says that the town of Clatskanie was
in an Historical Records Survey release printed in the Review,
Clatskanie post office, located about 18 miles west of Rainier, was established December 1, 1871, with Enoch W. Conyer, first postmaster.
Central Oregon Coast
Photo Courtesy of Julie Hendricks
Since it was founded in 1918, Gearhart
grown slowly. And that's the way residents of this small town a
a half north of Seaside like it.
Philip Gearhart was a pioneer settler on Clatsop Plains, and on the part of his donation land claim is now located the summer beach resort of Gearhart. Gearhart's record is shown on land office certificate 3,109. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1810, arrived in Oregon in 1848, and settled on his claim in 1850. Gearhart died in September 1881. Incorporated in 1918, the community and has managed to duck the mass wave of migration comprised of those with a yearning to live on the Oregon Coast. However, despite its low profile, Gearhart's population experienced a spurt within the last few years, jumping from 1,045 in 1995 to 1,215 in 1998.
Gearhart post office was established June 11, 1897 with John Waterhouse first postmaster. It was discontinued October 27, 1961 when it became a contract branch of Seaside.
Gearhart Golf Links is the oldest golf course in Oregon, established in 1892 as a nine hole course and extended to the current 18 hole setup in 1913.
The life of the transportation tycoon,
Holladay, was more closely
San Francisco than merely through the marriage of his son, Ben
Holladay, to the woman who subsequently became Ms. William G.
the mother of the late Ms. Paul I. Fagan.
We were recently introduced to the flamboyant Holladay, an early-day figure somewhat neglected by historians, through the beautiful Canton, China, once the property of his erstwhile daughter-in-law, currently on display at the California Historical Society.
For one thing, in the 1860s, Holladay established headquarters here in an office at the corner of California and Liedesdorff streets. It was for the steamship company he was operating, sending vessels from this port to the Southern states, Canada, Alaska, Mexico, Hawaii, and the Orient.
This was after he had sold his Overland Mail & Express Company, a Colorado corporation and the largest stage line in the world, to the Wells Fargo Express in November 1886. The transaction, by the way, marked the latter's first connection with the extinct Pony Express.
When the firm founded and operated by William Russell, Alexander Majors and William Waddell ran into financial difficulties, they'd been forced to borrow heavily—principally from Holladay—whom they considered a trusted friend. But Holladay, never hampered by scruples, had been nursing a grudge against the trio for a long time.
"Big Ben lured them deeper and deeper into the trap he was hoping to spring," wrote Ellis Lucia in his vastly informative biography of that giant of the Old West.
The machinations are too complicated to go into here, but Holladay managed to force Russell, Majors and Waddell to the wall and the stagecoach system was advertised for sale on December 31, 1861. However, other creditors secured an injunction postponing the sale for several months.
Hope that winter profits could stave off the creditors and save the line vanished when the weather turned vicious, schedules were disrupted and passenger trade dwindled.
It went on the block again the following March. Holladay made the highest bid of $100,000 for the company, franchises and equipment.
"Russell, Majors and Waddell lay in financial ruins," wrote Lucia. "Ben Holladay grabbed the reins of the foundering stage and pony express system and destroyed his chief freighting rivals with a single blow."
The line was incorporated in his Overland Mail & Express Company, and he then controlled almost 5,000 miles of stagecoach lines and the lucrative mail contracts for them all.
When ribbons of steel rails began to fan out across the continent, the ever canny Holladay saw the handwriting on the wall.
"Since Wells Fargo didn't agree that the stagecoach was doomed, Ben began to play them like a big fish," observed Lucia. "In the past he's turned down several overtures from the company. Now he did an about-face without making it too apparent."
After playing hard-to-get for a bit, he finally sold out to Wells Fargo. But it cost the company a pretty penny. Holladay received $1.5 million in cash; $500,000 for feed and provisions on the route, and $300,000 in Wells Fargo stock plus a seat on the board of directors. Wells Fargo then merged the West’s three major lines into a single operation.
Ben didn't stay long with Wells Fargo... he clung to the contention that the railroad would kill staging... sold his stock and was well out from under before the ceremony at Promontory Point, Utah, in 1869, collapsed the express empire and faced the company with ruin.
Holladay, who could turn his full
to other interests, headed for the flourishing West Coast to
in this city, for the time being, on water instead of railroads.
During WWI, the US army leased the Seaside House to house troops of the Spruce Division. Later they used the hotel as an isolation hospital for infections or seriously ill veterans of the war. The army left the building a total wreck. The furnishings were stored and the appointments were destroyed.,
In 1920, Simon Benson leased the building hoping to restore it to a fine hotel but after thoroughly assessing the damage and reconsidering the costs of remodeling, he purchased many of the furnishings, sending them to his Portland hotels and left the building to the owner. In 1921, the property was sold to Millard Holbrook. His plan was to demolish the buildings and make the grounds into a golf course. The grand opening of the golf course was in 1923.
In 1924, the property was sold to a man named Keysee and Ivan Humeson. In 1978, James B. Cartwright bought out Keysee’s interest in The property. Cartwright sold his part to his son Charles. J. B. Cartwright died in 1937. In 1947, Charles Cartwright bought the Humeson interest in the gold course property. Again the golf course property was sold to Fred Fulmer. The golf course continues today similarly to its original plan. From the second floor restaurant at the north edge of the gold course once can still see the outline of the old race track.
The Turnaround at Seaside is designed as the official end of the Lewis and Clark Trail. In 1990, a bronze statue of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark was installed facing the ocean at the west end of Broadway at the Turnaround on the center of the Prom. The monument commemorates the 18 month, 4,000 journey from Saint Louis to the Oregon Coast.
The City of Seaside commissioned Elizabeth MacQueen to create a lifesize statue of Sacajawea (1789-1812) for Seltzer Park.
Seaside, Oregon 1996
Photo Courtesy of Rev. Marilyn A. Riedel
Some time prior to 1900, J. Couch Flanders of Portland was attracted by the name Ecola and he applied it to a group of cottages owned by the Couch family on the south flank of Tillamook Head about two miles north of what was then known as Elk Creek. The name was attractive, and people living near the mouth of Elk Creek asked for a post office to be named Ecola, which was established November 25, 1910, with Lester E. Bill, first postmaster. To avoid confusion with Eola, Dr. Rodney L. Glisan and L. Allen Lewis then changed the name of the Couch family cottages to Ecola Point, because of the prominent projection nearby. Ecola Point is between Chapman Point and the main promontory of Tillamook Head. The name Ecola is no longer used for the post office, which closed to Cannon Beach May 25, 1922. Cpt. William Clark applied the name ekoli to Elk Creek in 1806. George Gibbs, in his Dictionary of the Chinook Jargon, gives the word ehkoli, a whale and indicates that it came from the Chinook work ekoli, which the accent on the first letter. The modern spelling with the accent on the middle syllable is, however, firmly established.
Lt. Neil M. Howison, US Navy, arrived
the Columbia River July 1, 1846, in the schooner Shark for the
of making an investigation of part of the Oregon Country for the
The Shark wrecked on attempting to leave the Columbia on
1846, and part of her deck and a small iron cannon drifted
of Tillamook head, thus giving the name to Cannon
the cannon and the capstan of the Shark were mounted on a
in a turnabout on the east side of US-101 near the north end of
of Cape Arch and just south of Hug Point State Park. The capstan
have belonged to the Shark. The City of Cannon Beach has marked
and south US-101 exits with replicas of the cannon, but the
located near where it washed ashore. In 1989, the cannon and
removed to Astoria by the Clatsop County Historical Society.
Cannon Beach is a well-known seashore resort, and is of historic interest.
While wintering at nearby Fort Clatsop in 1806, Lewis and Clark heard that a whale had been cast ashore here. For the first time during the entire expedition, Sacajawea made a personal request. She wanted to see the whale. "The Indian woman was very impatient to be permitted to go with me and was therefore indulged," wrote William Clark in his diary. "She observed that she had traveled a long ways to see the great waters, and that now that the monstrous fish was also to be seen, she thought it very hard that she could not be permitted to see either (She had not yet been to the ocean)." By the time the group got here, all that was left of the whale was a 105-foot skeleton; nevertheless, Sacajawea was thrilled by the sight. Years later, it was said that the "big fish" was the only part of the entire trip she never tired of telling her people about. A plaque marks the site of the beaching.
At the south end of Cannon Beach is Arch Cape (45° 48' 10"), which blocks automobile travel on the beach itself. Hug Point, was so called because it was necessary to hug the rocks to get around the point without getting wet. Located about two miles north of Arch Cape, Hug Point originally blocked beach traffic, but a narrow makeshift road was cut around its face in the solid rock. However, some people thought they'd just as soon be drowned as scared to death, and route for automobile travel was abandoned long ago after the completion of the original Oregon Coast Highway. Other important points are Humbug Point, Silver Point, and Chapman Point, which is at the north end and is a southern spur of Tillamook Head. Very much resembling a haystack, at 235 feet high, Haystack Rock is the third largest monolith in the world. It is a prominent sight on Cannon Beach which has done far more than its share to advertise Oregon. Ecola Creek flows into the Pacific ocean at the north end of Cannon Beach. The community has been known by various names including Elk Creek and Ecola, but the Post Office Department in 1922 changed the office name from Ecola to Cannon Beach to agree with the natural feature and to avoid confusion with Eola, where mail was frequently missent. Cannon Beach is about eight miles long. Cannon Beach post office was established May 29, 1891, with James B. Austin postmaster. This office was near Austin Point south of Hug Point, not far from the spot where the old cannon stood and about five miles south of the present Cannon Beach community. The office closed to Seaside November 30, 1901. The office called Ecola located was at the mouth of Elk Creek about five miles north of the previous office. It was established November 25, 1910, with Lester E. Bill, postmaster. The name of the office was changed to Cannon Beach on May 25, 1922, when Eugene C. Lamphere was the postmaster. In 1997, the population of Cannon Beach was 1,425.
Necanicum post office, located at the
place about 12 miles southeast of Seaside on US-26, the Wolf
was established May 25, 1907, with Herman Ahlers postmaster.
named for Ahlers, the name was changed to Push on April 13,
selected the name Push because he expected the place to turn
community. The name was changed from Push to Necanicum on May
Ahlers was postmaster at all three offices mentioned, before the
at that locality was discontinued January 31, 1916.
Necanicum River draws many forms of wildlife. The bald eagle is king of the Necanicum estuary where it can often be seen feeding. An omnivorous and opportunistic eater, the eagle will often snatch prey from other birds, or feed on carrion. Necanicum is derived from Ne-hay-ne-hum, the name of an Indian lodge upstream. William Clark named it Clatsop River on January 7, 1806, but the name did not prevail. In pioneer days the stream was known as Latty Creek, for William Latty, who took up a land claim in what is now the south part of Seaside.
Manzanita—"at the edge of the ocean,
foot of the mountain"—is a quiet community located at sea level
100 miles west of Portland on US-101 between Seaside and
Northern Oregon Coast.
Manzanita was named for the local shrubs of the Arctostaphylos group which produces a fruit shaped like little apples. Sweester states that the shrub growing in Oregon is Arctostaphylos tomentosa. It grows at various places along the coast. This post office, serving as a beach resort that was surveyed and platted in 1912, is located about two miles northwest of Nehalem. It established April 10, 1914, with Emil G. Kardell first postmaster. The town of Manzanita, incorporated in 1946, has a population of about 690.
The Manzanita Beach stretches for nearly seven miles between Neahkahanie Mountain and the Nehalem Bay Jetty where the Nehalem River and Bay meet the Pacific Ocean.
There has at times been some controversy about the meaning of the Indian name of Neahkahnie Mountain (45° 44' 38"), the bold headland north of Nehalem River. Neahkahnie is a place of romance and mystery. Tales of buried treasure, marooned Spaniards, galleons laden with beeswax candles and such like, have drawn the attention of non-indian explorers for three-quarters of a century. Chunks of engraved wax and curious letters on half-buried stones have been all the more mysterious. Joseph H. Frost's diary of 1841 in Oregon Historical Quarterly, Vol. 35, p. 242, says:
This mountain is called Ne-a-karny after one of the deities of these natives, who, it is said by them, a long time since, while sitting on this mountain, turned into a stone, which stone, it is said, presents a colossal figure of Ne-akarny to this day. And in our passage over the mountain, which is a prairie on the side next to the ocean, we discovered a stone which presented a figure of this kind.
S. B. Smith says in Oregon Historical Quarterly, Vol. I, p. 321, that Ne-kah-ni meant the precipice overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the abode of Ekahni, the supreme god. Kee and Frost in Ten Years In Oregon, 1844, p. 343, give the Clatsop word Acarna, meaning chief deity. Ms. Ed Gervias, a Nehalem Indian, is authority for the statement that the name Neahkahnie had its origin in the word used by the supposed Spanish wreck survivors when they saw elk on the side of the mountain, and exclaimed: "Carne," meaning meat. This is probably fanciful. Neahkahnie is one of a number of coast Indian names beginning with the prefix Ne-, which has to do with villages or places where certain tribes lived. These names include also Necanicum, Nehalem, Neskowin, Netarts, Nestucca and Neacoxie. John K. Gill said that a Clatsop Indian told him ne meant a place. Neahkahanie Mountain presents a bold front to the Pacific, and stands 161 feet above the water, an imposing sight.
The Nehalem were a Salish tribe,
living on Nehalem River. Deflot de Mofras gives the name as
Exploration, 1844, Vol. II, p. 104. The name Nehalem in Senate
Document 39, 32nd Congress, first session, p. 2, 1852; Ne-ay-lem
Historical Quarterly, Vol. I, p. 320, by S. B. Smith. The name
for the town of Nehalem
and Nehalem River. The latter flows in all four of the northwest
of Oregon and cuts completely through the Coast Range. The first
extending to the sea north of Nehalem Bay is Neahkahnie
is no little romance about Nehalem and Neahkahnie, having to do
and marooned Spanish sailors. In 1927, John K. Gill said that
ago he had discussed the origin of Clatsop County names with a
Indian, Jenny Williams, the widow of Bill Williams, who lived
Williams informed Gill that the Indian word Nehalem meant "place
people live" and indicated that the prefix Ne used frequently in
names of Northwestern Oregon, meant a place or locality. Nehalem
was established in August 1870 or 1871, with Samuel Corwin first
This office was probably about two miles north of the present
at the locality sometimes called Upper Nehalem, which is not now
The post office was moved to suit the convenience of the
and was from time to time at the Hunt, Scoville and Alley
John M. Alley was postmaster the name of the office was changed
6, 1884, to Onion Peak. By this time the office was some miles
the valley of North Fork Nehalem River and it was of course
nearby mountain, Onion Peak (3057'), a conspicuous landmark.
was closed April 7, 1893. While all this was going on a new post
with the name Nehalem was established May 12, 1884, with Henry
This office was at or near the present community and has been in
operation since it was established.
Mohler post office was originally established as Balm in May 1897, with Everett R. Bales postmaster. The office was on Foley Creek, a little above the mouth, and about two miles southeast of the present site of Mohler. In December 1911, the name of the office was changed to Mohler and it was moved to the new location. The change is said to have been made at the request of E. E. Lytle, who built the Pacific Railway and Navigation Company line into that part of Tillamook County. The station and post office were named in compliment to A. L. Mohler, a prominent railroad official and one-time president of the Union Pacific.
Wheeler, located approximately 23 miles north of Tillamook on US-101 and two miles south of Nehalem, is named for Coleman H. Wheeler, of Portland, a prominent lumberman and sawmill operator, who operated a mill in the community shortly after the railroad was built. Wheeler died about 1920. Wheeler post office was established August 18, 1910 with Frank A. Rowe, first postmaster.
Hoevet was located near the Wheeler lumber mill, about a mile west of the central business district of the town. The post office was established January 14, 1932, with Clara P. Welton, first postmaster. The office served the extreme west part of Wheeler by Nehalem Bay. Wheeler post office was moved eastward to the business district of the community at the request of local residents. This was done with the provision that an office would be provided to serve the Wheeler lumber mill and its employees, all in the west part of town on Nehalem Bay. The new office was named Hoevet for Charles R. Hoevet, at the time manager of the mill. Towards the end of its existence, the Hoevet post office was serving less than 300 people, and it was discontinued January 31, 1944.
Brighton, and inland community, is located near the mouth of the Nehalem River, about two miles west of Wheeler in the northwest part of Tillamook County. The town was platted about 1910 with the name of Brighton Beach although it is not directly on the ocean. This place, together with many others in the US, was named for Brighton, a fashionable seashore resort on the south coast of England. The post office was established May 21, 1912, with James R. Minich first postmaster and closed March 15, 1954, when Brighton became a rural station of Rockaway. That office was closed October 31, 1957. The post office and railroad station were near the mouth of Nehalem River.
Nestled between Tillamook and Nehalem
Rockaway Beach is located along US-101 in north Tillamook County
five miles north of Garibaldi on the Pacific Railway &
Railroad. Rockaway post office was established March 22, 1911,
P. Miller, first postmaster. For many years the simple form
sufficed but about 1987 it was changed to the more stylish
The Rockaway Beach Company projected this summer resort for Portlanders in the 1920s, and named the townsite.
A community of 1,200 year-round residents, the small coastal town is the center of activity for north Tillamook County, and has seven miles of white sandy beach and windswept dunes accessible from the city wayside in the center of town.
Twin Rocks, located one mile south of Rockaway on the US-101, was named for two large sea stacks more than 100 feet high in the Pacific Ocean just beyond low tide line. The post office, which served as a summer resort, was established May 25, 1914, with William E. Dunsmore first postmaster. It was designated a rural station of Rockaway March 15, 1954, and was discontinued October 31, 1959.
The story of Tillamook began on August
1788 when Capt. Robert Gray (1755-1806), an American sailing the
anchored in Tillamook Bay thinking he had found the "great river
East." That was the first not until four years later that Gray
mouth of the Columbia. Gray's stay was short. One of his crew
difficulty with the Indians and the sailers were forced to
visitor to Oregon’s shores was William Clark of the Lewis and
Clark was there to purchase whale blubber from the Nehalem to
the meat supply at his winter quarters in Clatsop County.
There were three tribes in Tillamook County: the Tillamook, Nehalem and Nestucca. They lived in the areas which now bear their names. They were a peaceful, friendly people, faithful to their tribal rituals. Like most Coastal Indians, they were Flatheads, a mark of distinction among the tribes. The house in which they lived was built with cracks in the roof for the release of smoke from fires. The Northwest Indians were the only North American tribes to build homes of wood. Because of their skill in building and handling canoes, they were called the Canoe Indians. The canoes ranged in size from the tiny duck hunting canoe to the large 40 to 60 man dugout and were sailed to Astoria and California. The Indian population of the county was estimated at 2,200 in 1806 and by 1849 had dwindled to 200.
Tillamook Cheese Factory
Photo Courtesy of Julie Hendricks
In 1879, Garibaldi's
first postmaster, Daniel B. Bayley, named the town for the
liberator he admired. The town's namesake, Giuseppe Garibaldi
was a fisherman, merchant marine and liberator who cared about
His birthday is July 4, 1807 and is celebrated annually through
Days the last weekend of July.
This town of 1000 located under the Big "G" offers a variety of activities for all ages. Clamming, crabbing, surfing, bird watching, beachcombing, and wind surfing are popular. Fishing, both sport and commercial, is active out of Garibaldi's harbor or on Miami River. The US Coast Guard maintains a station there.
The harbor was charted by explorers Drake, Meares, Cook, Vancouver, Heceta, and Gray, and was on the trade route of the treasure-laden Spanish galleons.
In 1788, captains John Kendrick and Robert Gray brought the first American fur trading enterprise to the North Pacific Coast in the Columbia Rediviva and the Lady Washington. This was, so far as is now known, the first landing by non-indians on the Oregon Coast and the first landing from an American ship on the Pacific Coast of North America. Gray was also the first American to circumnavigate the globe which he did on this same voyage. Robert Haswell, second mate of the Lady Washington, kept a diary, but notwithstanding the latitudes and landmarks mentioned along the Oregon Coast, it is impossible to trace the course of the vessel with accuracy. H. H. Bancroft (1832-1918), in his History of the Northwest Coast, Vol. I, p. 188, indicates some of the difficulties in interpreting the writing. It is possible that Alsea Bay or Yaquina Bay was seen by the ship. On August 12, 1788, the Lady Washington anchored off Tillamook Bay. On August 14, the ship crossed the bar, and at first the Americans had no trouble with the natives but on August 16, the Indians made a murderous assault and killed Gray's cabin boy, Marcus Lopius, the first person of African decent to reach Oregon. Lopius, who joined Gray's 1788 trip to the Northwest native Cape Verde Islands, was exploring near present-day Bayview, on the northern edge of Tillamook Bay, when he realized an Indian had stolen his knife. When the young sailor tried to recover his property, he was murdered. Two days later the ship got away, and in his dairy Haswell makes the following observation:
Murders Harbor, for so it was named, is, I suppose the entrance of the River of the West, It is by no means a safe place for any but a very small vessel to enter the shoal at its entrance being so awkwardly situated, the passage so narrow, and the tide so strong it is scarce possible to avoid the dangers.
Garibaldi is the site of an ancient
and whaling village of the Tillamook Indians. Pioneers built
here. Today it is known as one of the world's finest fishing,
and crabbing sites.
The port opened outside markets for Tillamook County's dairy industry. It was also a major lumber shipping port before the Tillamook Burns of the 1930s and 1945, when billions of board feet went up in smoke.
Captain Gray Mountain, high ground just northeast of Garibaldi, is prominent from the sea as you enter Tillamook Bay. It was named in 1988 to commemorate Gray's entry into Tillamook Bay. The USBGN met at Garibaldi on August 13, 1998 to participate in the local celebration which included a floral airdrop on the 1420 foot summit. The name was approved by the USBGN in Decision List 8801. Because Gray's cabin boy, Marcus Lopez, was murdered by hostile Indians, the bay was given the name Murderers Harbor.
The "G" landmark on Captain Gray Mountain was put up by the students of Garibaldi High School. Captain Gray Mountain was dedicated by the National Geographic Names board in 1988, the Bicentennial year of Gray's entrance into Tillamook Bay.
Meares (45° 29' 12") is just
Tillamook Bay, and bears the name of John Meares, one of the
of all the early explorers of the north Pacific Coast.
Meares, a retired lieutenant of the British Navy, was the most unconventional and interesting personality of all those figuring in these early marine annals. He sailed under double colors, he succeeded as a fur hunter and geographer, he was the pioneer of two great industries, he sought to plant a colony of Chinese men with Kanaka wives, came near embroiling also the new republic of the US in a serious war. There was nothing dull about Meares.
In 1786, he sailed from Bengal with two vessels, the Nootka and Sea Otter, names redolent of fur and adventure.
In 1787, English merchants in the British East India Company, thinking to make a profit building ships with the lumber of the well-forested northwest American coast, fitted out two ships, the Felice Adventurer and the Iphigenia Nubiana, and placed them in command of John Meares and William Douglas. They sailed from Guangdon Province with a crew of shipbuilders, carpenters, metal laborers, and sailors.
Far more men had volunteered for the work than Meares could enlist, indicating the adventurous spirit of the Guangdongese, for these were skilled laborers, and the 1780s were still a relatively prosperous time in China—and there was no pressing need for them to seek a living so far away from home.
To avoid excessive port charges in China and to evade licenses from the South Sea and East Indian monopolies, a Portuguese partner was taken in, who procured from the governor at Macao, Portuguese flags, papers and captains. In case of need the real masters would appear as clerks or super-cargoes. While little use was made of this scheme, the trick of double colors is condemned as a cheat, closely akin to piracy.
In May 1788, Meares in the Felice Adventurer arrived on Vancouver Island at Nootka Sound, and for two pistols bought some land from Chief Marquina. He at once erected a little fort, and began an important enterprise. He had brought the framework of a schooner. His ship's company included 50 men, crew and artisans, part of each group being Chinese. This little schooner, the North West America, was the first vessel of this size built in this part of the world and this also was the first introduction of Chinese labor on the Pacific Coast.
While Meares' organization was engaged in these activities, he himself set sail on an exploring expedition along the coast. He passed the mouth of the Columbia on July 6, 1788, but he failed to identify it as a river. By nightfall of that same day he had discovered and named three important features, the first of which he referred to as Cape Grenville, and the next as Quicksand Bay, the third feature he christened Cape Lookout (45° 20' 16"), and the volume containing the story of his travels has a very fine plate showing this cape together with the remarkable rocks a little to the southwest. Having failed to discover the new river he was seeking, he returned to Nootka.
It is not easy at this time to identify Cape Grenville. George Davidson of the Coast Pilot supposes it to be Cape Falcon (45° 46' 04").
Cape Falcon is the next cape south of
Cape, and has been known in the past as False Tillamook Head,
further north. On August 18, 1775, Capt.
Bruno Heceta, while cruising
Pacific Coast discovered a cape in latitude 45° 43' north
it Cape Falcon. While this is not far from the correct latitude
we now know as Cape Falcon, 45° 46', the records of Heceta
as to make it impossible exactly to identify his discovery. Cape
as we now know it derived its name from Heceta, irrespective of
he originally discovered. Heceta speaks of Cape Falcon, but Fray
de la Sierra, one of his chaplains, uses the expression "a range
hills, to which we gave the name Sierra de Montefalcon." The day
Clara de Montefalco is August 18, and this name was obviously
her honor. Cape Falcon has been the cause of considerable
among students of Oregon history. Greenow, in his History of
California, appears to have started the trouble by confusing
or as it was sometimes known, False Tillamook Head, with Clarks
View, or Tillamook Head. This error has been perpetuated by both
authorities on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Elliot Coues
and Reuben Thwaites (1853-1913). As a matter of fact Clarks
was on Tillamook head, as is clearly shown by Clark’s
view he had from the point and also by two maps in Original
the Lewis and Clark Expedition, atlas volume. George Davidson,
Coast Pilot, perceived this error. However, Davidson was of the
that the Cape Grenville of Meares was the same as Cape Falcon,
seems improbable. At the time of his discovery of Cape Falcon,
named La Mesa or The Table, putting it some 15 minutes of
south than the cape, with no indication as to whether it was an
mountain or not. It seems that La Mesa must have been what is
Meares, or some flat-topped mountain inland. It is improbable
name La Mesa had anything to do with Neahkahnie Mountain. The
give for La Mesa is much too far south, and the summit of
is not prominent and flat as seen from the sea. There are
imposing and higher points in the immediate vicinity.
Quicksand Bay seems to be what is now known as Tillamook Bay. Meares' description and pictures of Cape Lookout, beyond all doubt, refer to what we now call Cape Meares.
The rocks that Meares christened Three Brothers are now known as Three Arch Rocks and form a bird sanctuary that is frequently written about.
Meares venture proved to be a great success. Not all the Chinese shipbuilders left Nootka Sound for Queen Charlotte Islands off the coast of British Columbia with the North West America. The Nootka fur trading settlement had been augmented by 29 more Chinese settlers brought by Meares and 45 more brought by an American, Capt. Metcalfe, in 1789. Thus, Chinese were working on the West Coast well before the Lewis and Clark Expedition arrived in 1804 for the first view of the Pacific Ocean by East Coast explorers.
Town of Tillamook Settled 1851
Tillamook, located at the head of
Bay, was, during the frontier era, called The Landing, Lincoln,
Landing, later the name was changed to Tillamook meaning "land
Hoquarten, an Indian name meaning "the landing," was an early name for Tillamook, the first community to be settled in the county, situated on the east shore of Tillamook Bay. In 1927, Lucy E. Doughty, of Bay City wrote:
I do not know the meaning of this name... It has been in use since the first settlers came, as Warren N. Vaughn used it in a memorial that he compiled. He always spelled the word "Hoquarton." Now the name is applied only to the slough and to a voting precinct in the city, but for a long time after we came here, Hoquarton Prairie was the name used for the neighborhood now known as Fairview. When a town was first laid out on the bank of this slough, it was named Lincoln, but as there was already a post office of that name in Polk County, the post office had to be Tillamook. The site had been called Hoquarton, the Landing, or Tillamook Landing. I think it was usually called Hoquarton by the settlers in the bay neighborhood and it was not until 1885 that I began to hear the town called Tillamook. Before that, when we said "Tillamook" we meant the county.
Tillamook was the name of a large
whose habitat was near the south of Tillamook Head. In the
Lewis and Clark, this name is spelled Kilamox and Killamuck.
gives it Callemeux and Cal-a-mex; the journals of Henry and
Eliot Coues, give it Callemex.
Tillamook County was created by the territorial legislature December 15, 1853, and has an area of 1,105 square miles. The early spelling Killamook was changed to Tillamook about the time the county was created. In addition to the county, the name is used for the town, the bay, the river and the head.
The first non-colored man of record to visit Tillamook head was William Clark, who spent the night of Jan. 7-8, 1806, near the top of the head, and in his journals comments on the fine view to be had, which gave the place the name of Clarks Point of View. Clark was on his way to what is now called Cannon Beach on a short exploring expedition to inspect a reported whale beaching. The wording in his diary has caused several authorities, notably Greenhow and Reuben G. Thwaites, to confuse Tillamook Head with other features south along the coast. Tillamook Head triangulation station, on the highest point, has an elevation of 1,136 feet.
The first squatter in the region was Joseph Champion, who came in 1851 and made his home in a hollow spruce tree he called the "castle." Within months other squatters came, all bachelors. In 1852, the first two families arrived to make their homes. Each successive year brought more families, and on December 15, 1853, Tillamook County was created by an act of the legislature. The new county was made up of parts of Yamhill and Clatsop counties.
1854 was an eventful year for the pioneers. The first election was held, the first census taken, the first school started and the keel laid for the Morning Star, which was built out of economic necessity because shipwrecks had destroyed all transportation which had carried the dairy products, fish and potatoes to market. The vessel was built by the combined efforts and ingenuity of the squatters. Most of the materials came from the forest but iron work from a wrecked ship was laboriously packed near Netarts. Pitch was used to caulk the craft but paint was not available. Nevertheless, this pioneer ship was launched in Kilchris River on January 5, 1855, and for some years made possible the existence of the pioneers and development of Tillamook County.
In 1861, Thomas Stillwell, aged 70, arrived with his family from Yamhill and purchased land. The following year he laid out the town of Tillamook and opened the first store. Tillamook post office was established March 12, 1866, with George W. Miller first postmaster. The first public building was the jail built in 1873; the courthouse and City Hall in the early 1890s. As more and more squatters came to the area, claims were taken north and south of Tillamook, where in the late 1800s and early 1900s other communities were established. The county’s early occupations were shipping, lumbering, fishing and dairying.
In the early days of Tillamook County the only source of cash was the sale of fish caught in the many bays and rivers. Numerous canneries sprang up from Uppertown in the north and Cretown in the south. Peddlers bought the fish and made the trek to the Willamette Valley to sell for cash or trade for produce; return to the county with their profits and repeat the whole process again. The cash received from the fishing industry helped develop other businesses and enabled the squatters to build a stable economy.
Lumbering was not thought of as an industry in the early days of Tillamook County. The squatters looked at the forest and saw only a stumbling block to the development of their farms and dairies. Some of the great trees were falled and burned or hauled to the low tidelands and left for the tides to carry them to sea. The first use of lumber for manufacturing was a cooper shop which made containers for butter, fish, and other products of the settlers. The first mills were built at Idaville and on Killam Creek. Logging and milling operations were slow in starting but in 1890 the rapid development of the lumber industry began and has been of the main supports of the county's economy.
The western terminus of Wilson River Highway, and the seat of Tillamook County, Tillamook is a prosperous trade center of the dairying industry in Oregon. The rich grasslands and mild climate were ideal for dairy herds. The pioneers produced the finest butter in the country and had a ready market in Portland. However, the transportation was so uncertain it became necessary to find a dairy product which could be stored long periods of time without losing its quality.
It was old Peter McIntosh, a Canadian, who introduced the fine art of cheesemaking to Tillamook County in 1894, and Tillamook has been famous ever since for its American cheddar. In his delightful 1933 book, The Cheddar Box, Dean Collins writes:
If you follow the trail of the history of cheese in the Pacific Northwest, outside the confines of Tillamook County into Southern Oregon, you'll still find Peter McIntosh... And if you'll sit in on a meeting of Alaska sourdoughs talking about the Klondike, you'll hear about McIntosh cheese, which was as yellow as the gold of Alaska,and at times commanded almost ounce for ounce in the mining camps.
The dairymen banded together and built small
factories around the county.
Early in the morning, the pioneer dairy ranchers began to arrive at the factory weighing-in platforms, where an attendant checked the quantity of milk and took samples for the butter-fat test that determines the rate of payment. After the ranchers had delivered their milk, they loaded empty cans with whey, valuable as hod feed. By 8am, after all the milk had been received, the cheese makers emptied the fresh milk into huge stainless steel vats and added rennet—or rennin—which is an enzyme that coagulates milk and is used in making cheese and junkets, salt, and coloring matter to it before turning steam into the jackets around the vats. As soon as the coagulation started, long rakes of wire began a steady movement through the curd to cut and break it. When the curd had been completely separated from the liquid, it was pressed into molds of various shapes that had been lined with cheesecloth. Finally, the containers of the new cheeses were stamped with the trade mark and coated with paraffin. The round disks were placed in long rows in curing rooms where cool air of constant temperature was circulated.
Through the years, the name Tillamook cheese has become world famous because of the high standards of quality set by those early pioneers. The years of gradual growth brought the telegraph in 1893, the first automobile in 1904 and a library in 1901. With the coming of the railroad in 1911, the first paved streets were laid. By 1925 Tillamook County had entered the modern commercial age, a county of the present and the future.
The Tillamook air base for blimps was put in commission December 1, 1942, with the name US Naval Air Station. It was closed after WWII, but the immerse wood framed hangars are prominent landmarks.
In July 1906, Mable Noyes Folks came to Oregon with her family from Kansas. Some of the noticeable changes were the forest-clad hills, the green fields, and the little trickles of water running along the sides of the roadways kept some dairy cows, so her father soon rented a dairy farm on the hill above Nestucca Bay. From the house the family could see across the bay to all the expanse of the ocean. There was a salmon cannery on the bay and a wharf where the seagoing Della came with supplies and took out cheese.
In February 1907, Folks began teaching her first school session—a three months spring term at Otis. The trip to Otis was an outstanding event. Her father, with a team and light hack, started out, never anticipating the changes that would take place. Some distance up Slab Creek the two of them stopped to ask directions. A man named Taggert invited them in for dinner. Folks remembered,
It was a delicious meal with roast bear meat—our first experience of eating wild game.
Taggert told them the road ahead was impossible for a team and rig, and advised them to go over the trail on horseback. He told them where they would find a foot log where her father could cross the creek, for he had decided to walk over and ride Folks' horse back. She was to go a little further, through a gate, then ford the creek to the foot of the trail. She was also advised to dismount after fording the creek. The trail had worn down in steps knee-high where it rose abruptly to more level ground. A horse would have difficulty getting up those steps with me on its back. Folks recalled,
I was to start the horse up the trail, get behind it, and hold on to its tail. As the horse progressed up the steps, it would easily help me make the steps by pulling me with its tail!
The trail was plain and led through dense forests; in places, one could see the sky above. Then it wound over fern ridges to the home of James West, which was to be Mable's Boarding Place. West was the Otis postmaster, as the post office was in their home. Mail was received three times a week from Grande Ronde, and twice a week from Taft. There was always someone coming and going as that was the only place to receive mail. Folks recalled that the West home
was a typical pioneer frontier cabin, made entirely of split shakes and small poles. There was a loft above where the two West girls and I had rooms. The bunks there were well back under the cracks in the roof shakes, but never a drop of rain came through.
The schoolhouse was a more modern room, built of lumber, near the West home. Folks had six pupils—one first grader, one sixth grader, and the others were in between. She related that she was
as much the pupil and the children the teacher as I was the teacher and they the pupils. I was so new to those surroundings. They taught me to identify the different forest trees, the names of shrubs, and underbrush—salmonberry, elderberry, salal, and huckleberry—the names of all the wild flowers, and the wild animals and their ways of living. We had plenty of wild game to eat—mostly deer—and an occasional rabbit or bear.
Folks spent many pleasant evenings
West was a fine violinist and I accompanied him on their nice
The fall of 1907, Folks was a teacher at the Oretown School, where I had 26 pupils, and all grades. One student was her own sister, Eula, who was in the 8th grade. The teacher's duties, recalled Folks,
also included cleaning the boards after school was dismissed, sweeping the room, and getting wood for the fire in the morning. The day began with dusting desks, making the fire, and having a pail of drinking water on hand.
Folks was staying home and helping out with the milking on weekends, throughout the term. For a few weeks in the autumn, her father took a neighbor's herd to milk while they went to the valley to pick hops. During that period of time, she recalled that
I milked 12 cows in the morning, walked one and a half miles to school, was teacher throughout the day, and was home in time to milk 17 cows. At that time, I had never heard of a milking machine.
Mable Noyes Folks said she always liked country schools because
There one was able to know the parents and
often a guest in their homes, and knew the background of the
a town with second and third grades and 20 pupils, I would have
represented. The upper grades were a challenge. The teacher had
that the 8th graders were prepared for their 8th grade
passed in good standing.
Bayocean was founded by a realtor from Kanas
City named T.B. Potter who claimed it would be the "Queen
Oregon Resorts". It had a hotel, grocery, bowling alley
largest indoor saltwater swimming pool on the west coast.
Hundreds of lots were sold. One night it was reported that by
Potter's wife that he had gone violently insane and he was never
again. In 1917 the ocean currents changed and street after
began to disapear into the sea. By 1952 the city completly
into the sea.
Ghost Town of Bayocean 1938 and 1947
Photo Courtesy of Julie Hendricks
This is one of the
remaining resorts at
Bayocean in Tillamook County as seen on September 16,
1947. On the
peninsula that extends northward from the southern lip of
Bay, beginning in 1907 the T.B. Potter Co. developed the
resort town of
Bayocean, fronting the Pacific. In 1928 a road finally was
disintegration of resort developments had already begun,
storms pounding against the peninsula's seaward side.
Gradually, as the
land was eaten away, only residents clung to their houses
were endangered or began to crumble. By 1948 Bayocean,
queen of the
Oregon resorts, had taken a ghostly departure.
Cape Meares Lighthouse
One hundred years after then-president
Washington (1732-1799) signed a bill for the US government to
the expenses for the operation and maintenance of US
Meares was selected as the site
beacon, guiding a growing fleet of ships along the often foggy
Commissioned in 1890, the Cape Meares Lighthouse served this purpose until 1963, when it was replaced with an automated beacon which still functions and is clearly visible 24 hours a day.
Cape Meares Lighthouse, named for John Meares, is located in the Cape Meares State Park north of Oceanside, and ten miles west of Tillamook and US-101. The lighthouse stands 217 feet above the Pacific Ocean, but its 38-foot tower is the shortest of any on the Oregon Coast.
When the lighthouse was decommissioned, concerned citizens rallied to save the old lighthouse. The old, weather-worn lighthouse is now a remarkable reminder of the vital role it once played.
Perched on top of a 200-foot cliff, the building, with its wrought iron spiral staircase leads up to the prismatic Fresnel lenses. The automated halogen light now operates 24 hours a day. The lighthouse is open much of the summer by volunteers. On display inside is a collection of historic artifacts from the lighthouse's early years, including several photographs of early lighthouse keepers and architecture plans.
Cape Meares National Refuge, located within the park, is home to a wide variety of interesting animals and plants, including the mysterious Octopus Tree, a giant Sitka spruce, ten feet in diameter at its base. It is said to be an Indian burial tree and is featured in Ripley's Believe It Or Not. The Octopus Tree is located some 200 yards through the woods east of the parking lot.
Seals and sea lions can be spotted from the lighthouse while they lounge on Three Arch Rocks, once known as Three Brothers. As many as 200,000 puffins and other birds can be seen nesting on the face of these huge rocks that are visible from the cape during the spring and summer. When whales are migrating in the fall and spring, Cape Meares provides an excellent viewpoint.
State Highway 6 carves its way west through Tillamook State Forest. The lush forest canopy reveals little about the fires that devastated the area so many years before. Healthy stands of timber defy the name bestowed upon the forest following the famous conflagration: the Tillamook Burn.
Retaining walls and recently repaved sections of the old road announce the location of severe landslides that all but cut off Tillamook County from the east several months during the great floods of 1996. Today, Wilson River is relatively tame, as it rushes toward Tillamook Bay and the Pacific Ocean, the road closely following its course.
Tillamook State Forest offers many opportunities, luring motorists off the beaten path. Hiking, Biking, ATV trails, old spur roads, and camping areas abound, inviting visitors to explore her abundance of flora and fauna.
As the two-lane highway straightens, forest land gives way to fertile pasture land.
Green fields, dotted with grazing cows, stretch out before you. In fact, at one time, cows outnumbered people in Tillamook County.
Today, there are around 140 operating dairy farms within Tillamook County, providing fresh milk for the production of world famous Tillamook Cheese.
Tillamook’s history and culture is deeply rooted in agriculture and timber, and to a lesser extent than in past years, both industries still contribute to the county’s economy. Today, other business and industries take up where dairy and timber leave off.
Tourism plays an important role in Tillamook County's economy, and businesses and organizations have sprung up to accommodate the visitors. Luckily, however, the county has avoided many of the downfalls sometimes associated with a location when it is designated "a tourist destination.”
Unlike Lincoln City, Seaside and other coastal destinations, there are no high rise hotels lining the beaches and obstructing views. Quaint motels, cabins and bed and breakfasts located throughout the county provide visitors with the services and convenience they expect without unnecessarily scarring the landscape.
Las Vegas-style casinos are nowhere to be found within Tillamook County. Those wishing to play games of chance can quench their desire by frequenting any one of the taverns and lounges offering video poker, keno and blackjack dealers. Or, stop in at one of the countless bingo games, where, not only might you win a few bucks, but you’ll also be helping to support non-profit agencies and organizations within the community.
There is something for everyone within Tillamook County. With the veritable plethora of attractions and activities, its the ideal destination for people of all interests.
However, arguable the best attraction offered by the county is nature itself.
Ancient, old growth stands of Sitka spruce. Clean, clear rivers, streams and lakes stocked with salmon and trout. Bald eagles hunting in a pristine estuary. Herds of elk and deer meandering through a meadow. Unpolluted bays teaming with oysters, clams and crabs. Whales spouting and breaching easily within view from miles of state protected beaches. Breathtaking sunsets and landscapes welcoming a camera or canvas. Tillamook County offers this and much more.
Devil's Punch Bowl 1909
Photo Courtesy of Julie Hendricks
Munson Creek Falls
While there are numerous waterfalls
Tillamook County, most of the accessible ones are small. The
is Munson Creek Falls, located about seven miles south of
Munson Creek Falls ranks as the highest waterfall in the Coast Range, dropping 266 feet over spectacular rugged cliffs.
A sign off US-101 directs motorists to a one and a half to two mile roadway leading to a parking area and trails. The lower trail is a short, easy walk to the base of the falls with a picnic area nearby.
Following the canyon floor and Munson Creek, the lower trail takes hikers on an easy, one-quarter mile jaunt to a picnic area near the base of the falls.
The upper trail provides some excellent views of moss-covered, old-growth timber and Munson Creek Canyon. The trail ends at a viewing platform located 300 feet from the falls, offering a mid-point view of the falls.
While spring, summer and fall provide the most colorful backdrops, the winter views are truly remarkable. Massive runoffs, and freezing temperatures transform the forests and falls into a crystal paradise.
Munson Creek and Munson Creek Falls about six miles south of Tillamook were both named for Goran Munson who came from Michigan and settled along the creek in 1889.
The Great Tillamook Burn 1933
At high noon on August 14, 1933, a
runner was sent into the woods with orders to close down the
in the Gales Canyon. The trail was rough, the going slow and
A suffocating east wind sucked the last remaining moisture from
needles. The humidity read 20 percent. The forest was dust dry.
and sword fern hung lifelessly.
At the spur tree, the crew sensed danger and were preparing to shut down. "One more log," the super said. One more log, the rasp of steel cable against a dray stump, the crunch of wood against wood, a trickle of smoke and a fire that 3,000 couldn't put out. This is how it all started.
Suddenly, the fire call rang through the woods. The entire crew seized tools and rushed to the scene. Frantically they tried to control the flames but a freakish wind caught up and burning bands and carried them into the adjoining slash. The fire spread with explosive force. A dense smoke column billowed, the Saddle Mountain Lookout, to the south, sent their urgent calls to the forestry headquarters at Forest Grove.
In the next 11 days developed the largest and most destructive fire that has occurred in Oregon since the Coos Bay Conflagration in 1868. Growing through the finest stand of virgin timber remaining in the state, it laid waste over 270,000 acres of forest land in spite of the determined efforts of nearly 3,000 men to control it.
Meanwhile, all available men from adjoining mills and logging camps pushed to the scene of the fire Grimly they fought to trench and hold it. Hazel hoe, axe and dynamite were used to no avail. To the tops of snags 150-200 feet high licked the flames, burning like enormous lighted candles. Flaming bark sailed into the air and was carried far into the adjoining timber.
With the help of loggers, Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) crewmen, and volunteers from towns and cities in the district, the area burned during the first ten days had been held at 40,000 acres.
Then came the day foresters will remember in Oregon forever, when everything was bone dry, humidity was low, and danger lurked in every valley near the fire. Then, within the space of 20 hours on August 24 and 25, the fire blew up, in the parlance of the loggers, and 270,000 acres were consumed. Trees 400 years old—great giants—were sucked into the roaring cauldron created by the inferno of heat, and as the fire roared on, it sounded like the pounding of a dozen surfs. Down along the Pacific Ocean, chickens went to roost, influenced by the darkness caused by the smoke, and ashes fell on ships 500 miles at sea, and to a depth of two feet along the Oregon beaches for 30 miles distance from the fire.
More than 3,000 men worked to control the fire, all under the direction of the tired state forester, who hardly slept for ten days. Only one man lost his life, a CCC enrollee from Illinois named Frank Palmer.
The Tillamook Burn, which includes the Wolf Creek Burn just to the north—which burned at the same time—and the Salmonberry Burn—which was destroyed in the late autumn of the year before—covers 311,000 aces of land.
More than 12 billion board feet of green timber was destroyed. Total values of the timber at prewar prices was estimated at $20 million and about $100 million in 1977. Payrolls lost to the state from this timber destruction are set at $200 million and the forests burned would have supplied raw products by Clark & Wilson that they were forced to cease operations due to timber reduction, had the real effect of this forest fire come home to Portland and Northwest Oregon citizens.
Smoke reached to a height of 40,000 feet during the peak of the 11 days, and a dense pall hung over the coastal area of Western Oregon for miles north and south of the burn area. More than 400 square miles of Oregon’s finest timber, some of it four centuries old, went up in this man-caused conflagration, which could have been avoided. It was one of the greatest economic losses Oregon has ever suffered. Now, by the medium of Keep Oregon Green, the public is largely curbing man-caused fires, reducing each year the area burned needlessly and carelessly to a very satisfactory size.
Eleven days later, the fire left the state of Oregon $100 million poorer and hundreds of years of growing time lost forever.
Since 1933, all foresters have dreamed and planned for the day when the burn could be reforested. Many obstacles stood in the path. First, the salvageable timber must be logged. Taxes much be paid. Snags must be cut. Roads for logging and fire protection must be constructed. Bare land seeded or planted. The task seemed too gigantic.
The vicious six-year jinx—1933, 1939, 1945. Could it be broken? Only time would tell for sure. But the people of Oregon weren’t going to resign themselves to the inevitable.
Even before the third fire was controlled, machinery was set in motion to put an end to these periodic holocausts and, at the same time, to discover means of rehabilitating this monstrous eyesore whose reputation had spread over the nation.
The late gov. Earl Snell (1935-1943) appointed a ten-man committee. Its function was to explore methods, policies, law and action affecting the state forestry program. Committee members represented lumbering, agricultural and labor interests.
Nearly a year later, after holding numerous public hearings throughout the state, the committee brought out a comprehensive report. The prime target was one of rehabilitating the Tillamook Burn.
The 1949 state legislature passed an enabling act which set up administrative authority. Charged with carrying out the program was the State Forestry Department.
July 18, 1949 was an historic date in Oregon. That was the day when the late Gov. Douglas McKay (1949-1952) from atop a giant Douglas fir stump at Owl Camp, officially launched the rehabilitation program which would be paid for by the people of Oregon.
The program was underway. Treatment had been prescribed in the healing of an ugly wound. Preliminary surveys had already established the need for reforestation on some 220,000 acres of the 250,000 acre total since acquired by the state. The remaining 30,000 acres represented those with natural regeneration or contained unburned islands of timber, capable of reseeding in close proximity.
To say the least, this rehabilitation program was one of the largest of its type ever undertaken by man. This was a large-scale affair if there ever was one. Some facts were known about seeding and planting. At the same time there were many unknowns.
One thing was clear. Foresters given this task had to think big because of the immensity of the undertaking. The unfortunate recurrence of fire on the same lands, had completely removed all vestige of natural production on most of the area. New techniques, and new thinking came into play in terms of quantity—thousands of acres, tons of seeds, millions of seedlings, with manpower and equipment to match. From analysis of the area, nursery production, manpower, transportation and organization, it was evident that only part of the vast area could be hand planted efficiently. Planting had to be done during the winter rainy season with the attendant risk of delays from snow. At the calculated rate the job might consume 24 to 30 years. Tillamook County and the state could ill-afford to wait that long.
There was a possible short-cut. Why not attempt aerial seeding? Trial seedings by the department dating back to 1945 looked promising.
So the decision was made to use a combination of the two methods—seeding and planting—applying which ever one was best adapted to specific areas.
To Oregon went the distinction of the first large-scale use of the helicopter in forest seeding. During the autumn of 1949, the first major seeding was performed.
Snags posed a serious threat to the burn. Historically, snags had been the reason for the fire control failures in 1939 and 1945. What was the sense of planting seeds, if the seedlings could not be protected against the ravages of fire?
Out of this thinking and well in advance of the actual program, emerged the decision to take care of the snag problem. Sales were taking care of some merchantable snags. Future sales would account for still more. But this would lack the swiftness and organization necessary. Hence the snag-free corridor system was programmed. In some cases, it was recognized that these would need to be at least a half mile in width to serve the purpose intended—to act as holding points on tops of ridges in the event of fire.
The program was moved along. Since the beginning of the full-scale effort inaugurated during the first autumn, impressive accomplishments have been marked up. As of the end of 1961, 80,000 acres have been aerially seeded, using 27 tons of seed in the process. That's more than 2 billion seeds for the benefit of the statistical minded! Along with that, 46,000 acres have been planted and 7,800 acres replanted, with 42 million seedlings used.
Roads are highly essential for access to timber sales, reforestation and fire. Some 154 miles have been constructed. Snag-free corridors totaling 199 miles are there, giving comfort to fire protection forces. Three new lookouts situated strategically for fire detection purposes insure quick location of fire.
Brush and animal damage to small seedlings have been vexing problems. Encroachment of brush species, especially on the Western Oregon coastal side of the burn has become more severe with each passing year. As a consequence, aerial brush spraying with herbicides has been used and shows promise. When topography permits, scarification (cutting) with bulldozers has been deemed successful.
Animal damage to seedlings by deer, rabbits and mountain beaver, has become severe. Buildups in both deer and rodent populations beyond the normal food supply is at least partly responsible for the damage to young growth. Research in game management with regard to seedling establishment is presently going ahead on a special 330-acre fenced area within the burn. This is a cooperative project being carried on by the Forestry Department and the game commission to determine the point of compatibility between animal land plant life. The study is providing a basis for decision on controlled hunts elsewhere in the burn, so that fame and trees may live in harmony.
The rehabilitation program thus far has cost slightly more than $8 million. But the general feeling among Oregonians is that it's something like placing money in a savings bank. Right now the money is collecting interest in the form of young growing stock. One of these days, its going to start yielding returns to the investors—the people of Oregon.
Tillamook Naval Air Station Museum
Originally, two hangers were built to
Navy airships during WWII. Hanger "A" was completely lost on
1992, when a fire decimated The structure. Hanger "B," which
the Tillamook Naval Air Station Museum, is listed in the Guiness
World Records as the largest wooden clear-span structure on the
The building is 192 feet high, 300 feet wide and 1,072 feet in
During WWII, the air base was home to eight K-series airships. The buildings’ post-war incarnations included a sawmill and plywood veneer plant. On that fateful night in August 1992, the buildings contained tons of straw which were stored awaiting shipping to Japan.
The Port of Tillamook Bay opened the Blimp Hanger Museum in 1992 to allow visitors the opportunity to view the interior of the one-of-a-kind structure. The name was soon changed to the Tillamook Naval Air Station Museum.
The Tillamook Naval Air Station Museum is open daily and hosts an impressive collection of warbirds and vintage aircraft, most of which are fully restored and fully operational. In fact, on a clear day in the summer in Tillamook County, it is not uncommon to hear the distinct drone and upon looking skyward, be treated with the sight of a meticulous Mitchell B-26 bomber soaring through the clouds.
The buildings and planes within are no strangers to Silver Hanrahan, a volunteer at the museum. Hanrahan worked at the two lumber companies who occupied the space prior to it being turned into a museum. It would seem that through all of the changes the venerable blimp hanger has experienced over the years, the one constant has been Silver Hanrahan.
The museum contains many examples of aviation history including a F4U Corsair, a P-51 Mustang, a PBY Catalina, Me-109 Messerschmidt, FM-2 Wildcat, MK-VIII Spitfire, the B-25 and an impeccable SBD Dauntless.
Cape Meares Lake
After WWII, the ocean cut through the Bayocean peninsula which formed the west side of Tillamook Bay. The breakthrough was at Biggs Cove just north of the high ground forming Cape Meares and the narrowest spot on the peninsula. The second ocean entry posted entry posed serious problems for Tillamook Bay and the USCE constructed a substantial dike from Pitcher Point northwest to the southern extremity of what was then Bayocean Island. The dike altered the current and sand reestablished the old shoreline, changing what had been Biggs Cove into a lake. Nearby residents, capitalizing on this natural accretion, renamed the impoundment Cape Meares Lake. Biggs Cove was named for John A. Biggs who came to Tillamook County about 1885. He was a son-in-law of Webley Hauxhurst, a companion of Ewing Young in 1835.
Slab Creek, now known as Neskowin, has
wide view of the Pacific Ocean and an excellent beach. Numerous
of fish, including cutthroat and steelhead trout, Chinook and
salmon, bass, halibut, flounders, and perch inhabit the waters.
basin and that of Salmon River, evergreens grow so thickly along
that there is scarcely any undergrowth except huckleberry.
Sage old-timers and eager young students gathered round the huge stone fireplace in the great room of Neskowin Valley School last week to reminisce and share stories of Slab Creek Road.
A winding two-lane path that follows Neskowin Creek into the rain forest of the Coast Range, Slab Creek Road used to be the main road to the beach from the valley. Today, the road is dotted with old dairy barns and soggy pastureland classic farm houses and a few newer dwellings, lush greenery and abundant wildlife.
They are views forged forever into the memories of residents and the minds of students, parents and teachers as they make their daily two-mile trek to Neskowin Valley School from US-101.
The bond between the school and the road made it the perfect choice for this year’s all-school study, which involves a variety of activities and participation from every student.
The project kicked off in the fall with a macro-invertebrate study of Neskowin Creek and research into the history of the road, and culminated last week with oral interviews of community members who grew up or lived on Slab Creek Road.
Neskowin Valley School development director Kaline Klaas said students prepared for the interviews by practicing questions and not-taking strategies, and holding mock interviews with teachers and peers.
"Some of the older students are veterans of an oral history project from last year when they interviewed ten senior volunteers from the Kiwanda Center in Pacific City," noted Klaas. "The results were published in a booklet, which was distributed to libraries, chambers of commerce and schools."
Sharing their Slab Creek stories were Klaas, Randall Koch, Laine Koch, Voni Deddekopp, Gale Ousele, Sally Rissel, Jeanette Carver, Jack Sutton, Joe Goodrich, Karen Goodrich, Melissa Madenski, Gene Carver, Marvin Greenbaum and Jane Greenbaum.
Jack Sutton, 71, told Justin Stovall, Ian Dawson, Vince Geagle and David Walker that he came to Slab Creek Road with his parents in 1937. He recalled how he milked the family cows before and after school, and often went to bed exhausted. He also said there once were so many salmon in the creek that the water was completely black, and his family depended on the fish for survival.
"This was during the Depression, therefore we did not have much money," said Sutton. “"f my mother told us to get a salmon, we went out and caught a salmon. The way we were catching them was illegal. We speared them, but spearing got us food, so we did it."
Sutton returned to Slab Creek Road after living in Southern California for 20 years. "I reside in this area for its beauty and seclusion. The elk come right into my yard," he told the students.
Sutton added, "I like the creek even in winter, the creek used to overflow. It became very high, although it never reached the road."
Matthew Salmons, Lars Helgerson, Jana Rogers and Houston Woods interviewed 70-year-old Jeanette Carver. She told them the name "Neskowin" means "plenty fish," and the name Slab Creek Road came from the slabs of wood that floated down the creek.
"I was 15 when I first moved here," said Salmons. "I am now a homemaker. The area hasn't changed much since I first moved here, except there were many dairy farms.
"My family moved here, to the West Coast, because it's very peaceful and beautiful and I love the out-of-doors," Carver added.
Klaas said the students will compile the interviews into a written history, which will be published in a newsletter for distribution of students and guests. Cassette tapes of the interviews will be donated to the Pioneer Museum in Tillamook and Pioneer Museum in Tillamook and archived with other audiotaped oral histories.
By 2,500 years ago, the Nehalem,
Nestucca, and Salmon Rivers of the Oregon Coast, some of whom
moved to the Grand
Reservation, were settled just
mouth of the Columbia with a fully-developed Northwest Coast
The prehistory of the peoples of the mountain valley southward
Willamette Valley is not well known, but the culture of the
seems similar to the Great Basin cultures across the mountains
Oregon and Nevada. The ancestors of the Umpqua and Rogue River
from Northern Canada and Alaska south to Southwestern Oregon and
California. Shasta-speaking people from Rogue River were among
Indians settled on the Grand Ronde Reservation.
Whether descendants of people who have probably lived in the Willamette Valley for over 8,000 years, or of others who may have arrived only about 1,000 years ago, all ancestors of the present day Grand Ronde people were established in Western Oregon well before the arrival of the first non-indian visitors and explorers.
European explorers and traders were visiting the Northwest by the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries. However, apart from the Coastal people and those on the Lower Columbia, none of the ancestors of the Grand Ronde people had direct contact in their own territories with these early visitors.
Fur traders were followed by missionaries and others. The Donation Land Act was passed in 1850, offering free land to settlers who would open up farms in Oregon. By the mid-1850s, large numbers of non-indians had entered the valley and taken claim to much of the prime land. Pressure to remove the Indians from their ancestral lands increased. By 1855, lawless frontier elements were advocating extermination of the Indians, and land cession treaties were hurriedly concluded to clear the legal impediment to white settlement.
City, a fishing village without
or piers, is a small unincorporated community of approximately
located along Nestucca River and the Pacific Ocean. The area is
for its salmon and steelhead fishing and for the famous fishing
that launch directly from the beach at Cape Kiwanda (45° 13'
Cape Kiwanda was once known as Sand Cape, but Kiwanda is the name in general use and the one adopted by the USBGN. Cape Kiwanda is a low, yellow, rocky point, much broken and eroded, projecting about one half mile from the general of the coast. Behind the cape are bright sand dunes, and it is probable that these rather than sand on the cape itself suggested the name of Cape Sand. There is some uncertainty about the origin of the name of Kiwanda, and it is said to mean "wind mountain." However, John W. Meldrum of Oregon City, former surveyor general of Oregon, said that Kiwanda was the name of a Nestucca Chief and local celebrity. This origin of the name seems much more probable, as the name Wild Mountain is not applicable to the cape.
The jutting sandstone of Cape Kiwanda provided a protected lee and the smooth, sandy beaches were a perfect launch site for the double-edged boats developed by dory pioneers of South Tillamook County.
But the horse-and-wagon method of transporting the heavy boats to the cape limited the number of fishermen. The major method of motivation was rowing, also a factor in limiting fishermen.
In the late 1950s, the addition of a road from Pacific City to the cape provided easy access to the launch site.
The dory itself was also getting a face lift. The square stern dory was becoming more and more popular to accommodate bigger and faster engines.
Originally the dory was a flat-bottomed fishing boat that was rowed through the surf as it launched into the ocean. Loaded with the catch of the day, it heads, full-throttle, into the beach to a sand-slide stop. The evolution of the craft led to wells being added to boats which allowed small motors to be dropped in once the surf was cleared, and eventually to single-bowed craft with inboard or outboard motors, which powered them quickly through the waves.
Pacific City's Dory Days celebrates the heritage of the dory and recognizes the important part this craft played in the history of Pacific City.
Dories continue to play a role in modern Pacific City. Depending on the official fishing seasons, the open-topped, double-ended boats may be seen trolling for silver or Chinook salmon or working the underwater reefs around Haystack Rock or bottom fishing on almost any calm day from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Chapter 19: Central Oregon Coast
Three Rocks, home of mystery writer, M.K.
Wren, is located on the north
River at its mouth. Indians in the region told the first
the story of a sailing ship wrecked here long ago, of strange
treasure. When some years later bits of unknown wreckage were
a shell mound, along with two nonaboriginal skeletons, one of an
tall African, it appeared there was something more to the story
In the 1920, County Commissioner Elmer G. Calkins (1887-1976) purchased 160 acres on the north bank of the Salmon River Estuary from his parents, Olive and William Calkins, with an idea to create a tourist settlement, the Three Rox Resort.
When Calkins announced in August 1936 he was bringing in fleet of 14 streetcars to serve as cottages, many people thought he was joking.
He acquired the cars from the City of Portland. Some, if not all, were first put into use at the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition. Portland was switching over to buses and found itself with 200 surplus streetcars to sell.
Despite the bargain-basement price of $50 each, there were few takers, and most of the obsolete cars were burned.
Calkins saw potential in the streetcars that everyone else had overlooked. He envisioned them as cute little tourist cottages at his resort. Calkins hired Fred Horning (1880-1969), of Toledo, to haul the 33-foot-long cars from Portland with his log trucks. He was to deliver them to Three Rocks, where they would be completely remodeled.
Calkins' streetcar cottage idea proved to be less than practical. The cars were expensive to transport from Portland and difficult to move into position once they were actually used as cottages, most of the streetcars, according to a 1940 article in the Oregon Journal, sat abandoned on a bluff over the ocean, "just as the trucker set them down," lined up to form a "decrepit train on the road to nowhere."
Evidently the streetcars were later burned. Some believed the remaining metal parts where thrown into the bay at the mouth of the Salmon River.
The streetcar story resurfaced in 1973 when Calkins' 60-year-old son Edward discovered what he believed to be the remains of the 17th Century sailing vessel spoken of in the provocative Indian legend of Three Rocks. Some locals were certain what he actually found were the remains of the old streetcars, and the state turned thumbs down on Calkins' appeal to recover the wreckage.
According to the legend Indians claimed was handed down to them from their ancestry, a sailing ship, they’d graphically described as "a monstrous canoe with wings" had been blown into the mouth of the Salmon River and wrecked. The Indians told of three men, one a giant African, who along with two non-african companions, had been left to guard something of value within the wreckage, while 20 others aboard the vessel, left the area on foot, never to be heard from again.
It is said that the three men had lived among the Indians for some time, the African had been worshipped by the Indians as a god.
But as the story goes, the Indians later killed all three men, for some reason, the African giant's mortality was exposed.
When the state denied Calkins approval for a treasure trove permit, the reason given was, "insufficient evidence of shipwreck in or near the Salmon River area."
Calkins has several reasons for believing the legendary sailing ship lies within the confines of the Salmon River Estuary, and he'd depended upon a 1931 Oregon Journal photo taken at Three Rocks to convince the state to reverse the decision that has denied him access to it.
The photo accompanied a story written by a Journal reporter on the scene shortly after Calkins' father, William, a longtime resident of that area, had unearthed three human skeletons from an ancient Indian shell mound being leveled for a tourist campsite.
At the time, the find had sparked renewed interest in the legend of the shipwreck and of the African giant and his two companions, when it appeared that one of the individuals had, in his lifetime, attained an approximate height of eight feet.
The remains had also displayed mute evidence that all three had shared a violent death. One of the leg bones was shattered, a two inch bone spearhead was found lodged at the base of one skull, and a large stone was embedded in the crushed skull of another.
In addition to the hoards of treasure seekers and newsmen to arrive at the site that week, the find had drawn the attention of Prof. John B. Horner, an historian at the Oregon State College, Corvallis.
Prof. Horner was also a devotee of Indian Lore and an avid collector of artifacts, and so he'd gathered up all the contents of the shell mound, except the seashells, and had taken them back to Corvallis for a museum, then in the planning stages.
Some newspaper accounts of that time indicated that Horner had placed the age of the skeletal remains at from 260 to 300 years. It is believed now, this dating was a guess derived from atop the mound prior to the leveling. On the scene witnesses have declared the trees were, "as big around as table tops."
In 1973, when Calkins began collecting evidence to prove the validity of his claim to the legendary discovery, he found that neither the artifacts, nor any record of the find could be located at the museum—that somewhere along the way, since 1931, the contents of the shell mound "disappeared," along with a 3,000 word essay Horner had written on the find.
The missing essay is said to have included mention of some artifacts other than human remains found in the shell mound. They were: a broken iron receptacle, believed to be a tea kettle, an object described as a whale bone war club, and a smooth, round rock, which Prof. Horner had determined was a "crude stone pestle."
In January 1999, Katrina Poole, North Lincoln Historical Museum Curator, presented a talk on Salmon River settlements for the Oregon Legacy Series at Driftwood Public Library in Lincoln City. She also alluded to the mysterious disappearance of the seamen's bones:
Calkins created a major sensation in the press when he claimed to have found the remains of the wreck. But the bones disappeared after they were supposedly taken to Oregon State University for examination, and Calkins' story was never verified.
Calkins contends, if the alleged
of the old growth spruce trees supports Horner's assumed burial
is highly unlikely that a broken iron tea kettle would have been
in by those from another land.
The object Horner had accounted for as a whale bone war club has been viewed by some as resembling a belaying pin used in sailing vessels of that era. Also, the smooth round rock is similar to the special type of rock used as ballast in those old vessels.
Armed only with his father's personal testimony at the final hearing, Calkins lost his appeal for the permit when the state determined that hearsay and folklore was not enough reason to justify the adverse impact the excavation project would have on the estuary.
Recent legislation enacted in 1975 proclaimed the 9,670 acres of land surrounding Cascade Head (45° 03' 41") to a federally protected scenic and scientific research area. This includes the Salmon River Estuary, which is now valued as the "smallest and most pristine estuary on the Oregon Coast."
Although members of the State Land Board were impressed with Calkins' story, they based their decision largely upon testimony given by Linfield College professor, Stephen Dow Beckham, a noted historian and authority on Coastal Indians, past and present.
Dr. Beckham testified that in all his extensive research into Oregon Coast shipping disasters of the last few centuries, he'd not found any documented evidence that a ship had ever wrecked in or near the Salmon River.
Beckham also objected to Calkins' proposed method of recovery, which was to lift out the hull of the artifact with a clamshell and dragline:
"I think the only permissible way to excavate such a vessel or artifact, would be through rigorous archeological techniques and there are well established techniques for excavation of ships."
Beckham said also that he would have encouraged the development of Calkins’ project techniques and procedures, if any of the five middens (shell mounds) all located within a half mile radius of the skeletal find, had ever yielded any evidence of a shipwreck, which to Beckham's knowledge, they had not.
He cited as an example the excavations carried out at a coastal Modoc village site north of San Francisco Bay, in the early 1930s, where porcelains and spikes were found that gave evidence of a wreck of one of the Manila galleons on the Northern California Coast.
There is historic evidence that a line of these Spanish galleons sailed between Acapulco, Mexico and the Philippines on an annual basis from 1565 to 1815.
Because landfalls at Cape Mendocino, on the Northern California Coast, were recorded during that time, it has led to speculation that vessels plying this trade route, would not have to be blown far off course to have wrecked on the upper Oregon beaches.
History also reveals that in the two-and-a-half centuries of Spanish trade with the Philippines, at least two different galleons disappeared without a trace. One was the San Antonio in 1603—the other, the San Francisco Xavier in 1707.
Manifests of these galleons had included gold ingots, cotton cloth, and cakes of white and yellow wax.
Because the San Francisco Xavier was known to carry vast quantities of the same kind washed onto the sand at Nehalem from the wreckage of another legendary "winged canoe" around the 18th Century, historians find it reasonable to suppose the Nehalem wreck might have been the missing San Francisco Xavier.
Also, before the age of ship to shore communication, acts of piracy went unrecorded, since there was no way to determine the fate of ships spirited away from their scheduled routes.
Another reason Calkins is so sure he has located the resting place of the legendary ship is that his father, thinking there might be some possible connection with the skeletal find, guided him to the vicinity of the Salmon River Channel where, in 1913, Elmer Calkins had gill netted for salmon. Then, it has been a constant source of irritation to Calkins to find his nets entangled in some object seven or eight feet below the surface, within 300 yards of the shore where the three skeletons were found.
On two of these occasions, Calkins had managed to pull the nets free to find them still clinging to part of the obstruction. One time it was a curved piece of wood resembling a rib of a ship. Another time the nets had yielded a heavily corroded copper nail.
Calkins and other gillnetters, all annoyed by the same net-rending hindrance, had given it no more thought than to assume it was "just some old shipwreck."
It has been suggested by two good working experts that the wood from some half core samples taken from the sunken object is a variety of ironwood found only in the southern hemisphere.
The state has allowed one small shaft of light to penetrate the barrier to any further plans for recovery of the alleged artifact. The final report reads:
...On the one hand we see a potential
to add to the historical background of our coast area, and on
hand, we see the proposed disturbance of a fragile estuarine
value. Under ORS 541.605 et. seq., the Division is charged to
aquatic resources of the waters of the state.
However, everyone benefits from new information on historical events.
...We are not prepared to close the door on a possible historical or treasure trove "find"... The Division of State Lands would consider a subsequent application in this matter, provided that additional, substantive evidence of the ship is obtained by non-destructive testing, and submitted to the division.
Calkins hoped then that the Journal
would prove sufficiently that the remains his father unearthed
were indeed, the slain crew members from the wreckage of the
ship—one that quite possibly retains its valuable cargo of gold
According to Fred Barrett, author of Sea Mountain, only one streetcar in the original fleet of 14 survived. It is believed to be the namesake of Street Car Village in the Cutler City section of Lincoln County. This streetcar was moved from Slick Rock Creek near Rose Lodge in the early 1970s. Today it houses the Monkey Business Joke Shop, a landmark on US-101 as you enter Lincoln City from the south.
Back in 1936, many thought Elmer Calkins' desire for streetcar housing decades later was a joke. It wasn't, but a few decades later it turned out that way.
Boyer is located in the extreme northeast
section of Lincoln County, on OR-18, about eight miles east of
Lodge and one mile from the county line. The post office, named
pioneer settlers Julia and John Boyer, was established August
with Mervin O. Boyer first postmaster. The office closed to Rose
March 31, 1915. In 1908, Julia and John Boyer settled near here.
Sheridan Road was probably built in 1856 while Sheridan was on
patrol duty at Ft. Yamhill. It facilitated necessary travel via
Elk Trail, ocean beaches, and Siletz River to the Siletz Indian
and an attempt was made to make the Old Elk Trail a toll road as
as 1860. Other desultory attempts followed and in 1908, John
improved the route, over which people had used to crossed the
Range since antiquity, and established the Salmon River Toll
which he and Julia Boyer operated for 12 years. In winter the
almost impassable. In 1930, Boyer was honored at a public
“Father of the Salmon River Road.”
Boyer Gas Station and Post Office Town of Boyer 1950
Photo Courtesy of Julie Hendricks
Salmon River Area Settled 1074 AD
The Salmon River Estuary is unique
its quiet wilderness and spectacular beauty have been relatively
over the centuries. From the first Native American settlements
inhabitants and stewards, a conscious effort has been made to
man's impact upon the land.
Archeological evidence shows that Salmon River Indians were present at the site as early as 1070 AD. These people are considered part of the Tillamook tribe, which ranged from Neahkahnie to Otter Rock.
"They're a small group that like to live near small river mouths and bays," said North Lincoln Historical Museum curator Ketrina Poole.
Moving with the seasons, they employed simple methods of food gathering and housing and relied heavily on salmon fishing for sustenance. The Salmon River Indians impressed non-indian visitors as being "very active, creative people... who were bold in interacting with the environment despite early technology," Poole said.
Willamette Valley Ranchers Arrive 1880s
The most visible impact left from the
Indians is the grassy headland of Cascade Head (originally known
or Bald Mountain), which they burned annually to create pasture
elk and deer.
The lush Salmon River estuary became known as prime pasture for cattle in the early 1800s, and ranchers from the Willamette Valley would drive their herds over the Coast Range to graze on the fertile land.
Homesteaders began arriving later in the century, and early non-indian settlers included Savage, Long, Wallace, Tooze and Calkins.
The families lived on fishing and dairy farming, which were conducted under often-harsh conditions. Records from Jimmy Gentry, son-in-law of James Savage, told how 25 cows were milked by had each morning, with the milk sold to a diary on Slab Creek Road near Neskowin. He also recalled stringing 150 feet of net across the Salmon River and filling a boat with fish on one tide. Chinook salmon sold for 25 cents a pound, coho went for ten cents a pound, and all other fish sold for five cents a pound.
Pearl and Alex Frasier milked 40 cows in the rain for two years because it took that long to get enough lumber from a mill on Drift Creek to build a barn. The Frasiers made cheese with excess milk, which they sent by streamer to Portland or overland to Willamina.
The Salmon River estuary was spared heavy development because of the river's medium size. Instead, settlers concentrated their lumber and fishing industries on larger rivers such as the Siletz and Nestucca.
The lack of development plus the light use of the land by early Amerindians created the perfect venue for preservation and study, and the first opportunity came as early as 1934, when the Cascade Head Experimental Forest was created to examine the growth and development of Sitka spruce and hemlock.
As years went by, other organizations
individuals—including The Nature Conservancy, Sitka Center for
Ecology, Cascade Head Ranch, and the Neskowin Coast
the conservation effort. In the mid-1980s, the US forest Service
part as well by undertaking a major reclamation project on the
through the $204,000 purchase of Pixieland,
an unsuccessful amusement park located between US-101 and OR-18
Owned and operated by Jerry Parks from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, Pixieland was located on 57 heavily-diked acres near the Salmon River. It never quite took off as a tourist spot, due to its remote location and short operating season.
Conservation on the Salmon River continues to this day with the area being listed as a "defining feature" in state and national Scenic Byway plans, guaranteeing that yet more generations will enjoy an unspoiled vista from atop the grassy knoll of Cascade Head.
When the first settlers came to the
end of Lincoln County they couldn't have foreseen the changes
taken place and visioned that it would become the home of many
who sought the quiet beauty and mild climate of this coastal
Maybe the name "Rose Lodge" sounded inviting. When a post office
in 1908 with Ms. Oliver McMinn Dodson as postmaster, the post
given this poetic name. A person wouldn’t expect to find roses
remote wilderness, be, planted by Julia E. Dodson who had
varieties of roses from her father who lived in California.
The first homesteaders came to the area about 1888, and several others followed. Among those were Walt Crowley, Jim Crowley, Olvie and Tom Ackerson, John, Marion, Ples and Henry Deaken, John Fletcher, Clint Star, Jasper Agee and Frank Gesner, most of them settled on Slick Rock Creek.
Otis McMillen, Jacob Sleighter, and Bill Gorton were among the settlers on Bear Creek. The Wesley Horner homestead was in a remote area of Bear Creek.
Other early settlers coming to the coast to make a living in the forested valleys included the Lauri Makis, the Will Blooms, and Eric Lunds. The James Slater family came in 1919, and the Irwin Hubbard family came in 1923. Alexander Seder settled on Bear Creek, and Robert Seder lived near what is now the Rose Lodge Store. He was one resident who had received his mail at the Rose Lodge post office for over 50 years.
Life was trying in those early days, and roads did not exist. Supplies were brought in from Sheridan, and to reach Rose Lodge the Salmon River had to be forded six times, and Slick Rock Creek once. The settlers did not want for meat and fish. Venison was plentiful, and when the salmon were spawning and Salmon River would be alive with salmon to the extent that wagons had to wait for schools of fish to swim be before they could cross the river with a team.
Log cabins were the first homes for these sturdy settlers, and babies were born with the help of a neighbor. Ms. Eric Lund, who had been a practical nurse in Spokane, Washington before coming to the coastal area assisted in many of the births. Some women even bore their babies while alone on homesteads when their menfolk were away from the home.
There were no dentists in the area, but "Granddad" Crowley did own a pair of forceps, and when someone had an unbearable toothache, he would pull the infected tooth for the sufferer, free of charge.
The Kangiser family moved to Rose Lodge and put in a new mill, providing employment for many as well as better housing for the residents.
Charles Harding put in a small store which was a great convenience for the squatters. Otis McMillen hauled freight for the store, as well as others who needed items from the valley.
Later, Howard McMillen had the contract to clear the right-of-way for the new highway between Rose Lodge and Otis. He also hauled the mail between these two points. In the summertime, his wife, Beulah McMillen, hauled the mail while her spouse worked elsewhere. The McMillens are now spending their retirement years in a home near Otis.
Slick Rock Creek boasted a covered bridge located near the Lund place. This has now been razed and replaced by a new bridge, and instead of serving just a few residents it is being used for many with which to make their homes.
Cape Perpetua on the Oregon Coast
Photo Courtesy of Julie Hendricks
The mystery of Devils
Lake remains unsolved. The legend
die but grows with retelling. Devils Lake was once known as
until it was inhabited by an Evil Spirit. Siletz Indian warriors
mysteriously lost in the lake. On one occasion, as later recited
non-indian settlers, Chief Fleetfoot dispatched his warriors
waters. Suddenly in the moon path of the still evening waters of
there was a turmoil. Gigantic tentacles wrapped themselves about
canoes. With cries of warning they were pulled below the surface
to be seen again. It is said that if a boat crosses the moon's
at night in the center of Devils Lake a strange chill of fear
by the occupants of the boat. Even today great feasts and
held on the shores of Devils Lake to pacify the Spirit of the
Devils Lake was formed about 14,000 BCE when sand dunes and beach deposits blocked the lower end of the valley drained by the D River. The lake is one of the primary wintering areas for waterfowl along the Oregon Coast. The density of waterfowl is greater than any other wetland habitat on the Coast.
A Short History of a Short River
If you look up the "rivers" category
1998 Guinness Book of World Records, you will find that Lincoln
D River is one of the two shortest rivers in the world. The
Roe River near Great Falls, Montana, which has two forks fed by
freshwater spring. The Roe flows into the larger Missouri River.
its unspectacular appearance, it was the cause celebre when
to withdraw the D's claim to fame in favor of the Roe. When the
threatened, local school kids rallied to the Oregon river's
an amended measurement, and perhaps the D's title will be
to Guiness, the D River is 120 feet long, plus or minus five
before achieving any notoriety, the D River had a long list of
the "mouth of Devils Lake," "the channel to Devils Lake," Devils
and Delake Creek.
For perhaps thousands of years before settlement times, this river was a favorite gathering place. For the local Indians, it was a choice fishing spot. The D River continued to be very popular with fishermen into settlement times. A 1938 newspaper account described "scores of spectators" lining the lake outlet to see "one of the most picturesque sights know... literally thousands of salmon, steelhead and sea-run trout."
In 1940, the Delake Chamber of Commerce sponsored a nationwide contest to come up with a new, shorter name for the shortest river.
Entries came from as far away as Australia, but the winning entry of D River was submitted by Johanna Beard of Albany. The name "D" was officially accepted by the US Geographic Board of Names.
At the time of the contest, the D River was a recreational hub. It provided a freshwater swimming pool complete with a beach just above the high-tide line. The Delake Chamber of Commerce made improvements to the area in 1940 and installed a chalkboard at the nearby Point of View Tavern, where daily tide tables were posted "for the convenience of the traveling public." That same year, construction began on a 175-foot retaining sea wall of timbers. Behind the wall, 20 cottages were to be constructed.
Public access to the beach at the mouth of the river was secured in 1969 when the Oregon State Parks Department purchased four acres along the south bank of the river, where it established the D River State Wayside.
The D River has earned a reputation among city engineers and planners as a bit of a headache. Robin Reed, who owned the property along the river for decades, described it as "a pretty little stream" but added it was about the meanest one he knew. Reed recalled three highway bridges, and numerous sets of wave breaks and fish control gates that were destroyed when ocean debris washed into the river and blocked its path. On past occasions, ocean debris had completely dammed the river and left Devils Lake landlocked for weeks at a time.
Over the years, it has become clear that while the D River may be lacking in length, its close proximity to the ocean and to the heart of town make it long on challenged.
D River Bridge at Delake
Photo Courtesy of Julie Hendricks
While stationed at Siletz, Fr. Charles
founded a small resort town on 80 acres of land, between Devils
the Pacific Ocean, a little to the north of D River. He gave It
family name, but it was afterwards known as Oceanlake.
In 1966, it become part of Lincoln City.
Although this shore of the Pacific is not marked by any great gulfs or peninsulas, it is punctuated many lofty headlands—great spurs of the Coastal Range, which sweep down beyond the beaches and overshadow the shallows with spectacular cliffs and strew them with tall islets of volcanic basalt. Between one headland and the next, many lakes open up and various coastal streams spread estuaries and mud flats. The abundant shellfish of these shores had fed countless aboriginal generations before ever the non-indian settlers flocked to their commercial advantages.
Early settlement sought access to the Willamette Valley. This could be had either by wagon road or by trail. By the year 1924, west-to-east access was available at many points along the coast. There had, for instance, always been some sort of a road up Salmon River and over into the South Yamhill Valley, near Grand Ronde; and for some years now Toledo had been connected with Corvallis by rail. But north-south access from one coastal settlement to the still remained very limited, and in most cases primitive. Stories abound of how difficult it was to travel over or around the headlands. It was, therefore, quite a feat, both politically and in terms of engineering, when, in 1924, all the coastal settlements clubbed together to build one continuous coastal highway. In those days They called it Roosevelt Military Highway; we today call its updated successor US-101. Until such a thoroughfare was built, the only practical way for Fr. Raymond to get from Siletz to Devils Lake was to begin on foot, to continue by boat, and to do the last stretch by horseback.
Fr. Raymond wrote the following article which appeared in the November 20, 1924 issue of the Catholic Sentinel:
A Missionary's Dream Comes True
In this land of mixed Christianity and
when dreams are held as forebodings of good or evil, even the
be down into the prevailing fallacy and wonder if dreams come
however, was a day dream, which was realized beyond my most
It was during my first years of ministry in Oregon that I was one of a party bent on exploring the coast country of Lincoln County. Exploring seems to be the proper word here, for the one road leading to it was next to impassible, the safest means travel was riding in the saddle, and few venture in—because of expected difficulties.
I confess I was not exempt from fatigue, but on reaching the first prominence that overlooked our nation, the hardships experienced in traveling were completely forgotten. My wondering eyes surveyed the panorama of the most beautiful country I had ever seen. What I experienced then was very indefinite, but it had the effect of filling to overflowing and to transporting heavenward. I dreamed then that some day I should be instrumental in building a church there were God's glory was so magnificently reflected.
The dream materializes. By appointment I became missionary among the Siletz Indians, and then I seemed possessed of a sense of proprietorship over this land of wonderful charm. God's country to work in and to enjoy.
My main object was the care of the Indian, the child of nature, pursued from his cherished Haunts by the advance of so-called civilization, and corralled in strongholds under guard of the steel-souled military. Religion, pure and undefiled (James 1:27), was the only factor that could bring them a sense of freedom in their captivity, joy in their sorrow, consolation in their suffering. Religion must be brought to them, to their very doors.
Zealous missionaries with Christ-like hearts suffered pioneering hardships to bring the message of love divine to the least of God's children. They worked nobly and well, and their efforts bore praiseworthy results, but their work must continue, and the time has come when, with greater facility, the full message of Christianity can be brought to them.
Somehow, a church must be built in the north end of the county. The mass, the sacraments, instruction must be theirs, that benighted and sorrowing people may realize that they who sow in tears reap in joy; that life is a blessing, that the firm hope of immortality is stressed in their consciousness.
I saw my work and set out to accomplish it. Encouraged by the promise of $1,000 from the great extension society, and $500 from his grace, went out in the early spring of this year to find a suitable location for a church. Dressed for protection against mud and rain, I walked 13 miles over a road in the worst possible condition after the winter's rains, to the boat landing, where I boarded an open launch to make the 25 miles on the winding Siletz River that separated me from my point of destination.
I had still 14 miles to cover before
Fortunately a saddle horse was placed at my disposal without
beach was pointed out to me as the best means to travel and I
started to brave the storms.
The wind was blowing a small hurricane, and the rain pelted us like buck shot. The beast was of a mind to turn back for He had no worthy purpose impelling him, but the rider had, and so we pushed ahead.
We went up a road leading inland from the beach and connecting with the south end of the completed Roosevelt Military Highway. We continued our way north until we entered a haven so calm that, were it not for the roar of wind and wave, I would have been deceived into thinking the storm had abated. Taking a view from my surroundings and noting the land gently loping upward on either side and terminating in ridges covered with tall evergreens, I realized the perfect windbreak. The words of the apostle on the mount transfiguration came to my lips: Let us build—a church! Little did I then think of the possibility of accomplishing my purpose.
The rest is detailed work of purchasing 80 acres, surveying and platting, recording it as Raymond Townsite selling lots. I had in mind to surround the church with Catholic people who by their practical Catholic lives would edify the Indians and be an argument to them of the saving grace of redemption. Certainly the undertaking was blessed, for at the present time, for the sale of lots enough money has been realized to clear the place of all debt. The returns from further sales will be used in the development of the townsite and for the benefit of the owners.
While I am thankful for the interest shown by a good number of Catholic people, I must confess that noncatholics have shown even greater interest, though probably not from the same motive; they evidently saw the big value they were getting for a small outlay.
I hope Catholic people will see the great good that can be done by their locating at Raymond, the finest townsite on the coast.
Description of Raymond Town
It is not easy to pinpoint the spot
Fr. Raymond and his horse experience so wonderful a calm amid
This is partly because the lay of the land has changed
the years, as was explained to the present author by one of the
inhabitants of his town, Leonore Campau McGinty. Before offering
from maps and official documents, we would like to pass along
elements learned from McGinty.
Leonore Campau was nine years old the first time her father drove the family down from Portland. The roads were then such that he chose a roundabout route, requiring nine hours' travel: from Portland south to Salem, then west to Grande Ronde Agency. The old road down Salmon River to Rose Lodge was in poor condition, and so they headed west to Dolph, and then north to Hebo, where they struck the fresh gravel of the newly built Roosevelt Military Highway. This they followed down Nestucca River, through Cloverdale, and so south to Raymond Town. From Hebo onward, they needed a government permit and had to tag along behind the road-grader. On later trips, Fr. Raymond often drove along behind them, to profit by their permit.
Mr. Campau wanted to buy several lots in a cluster, so that his mother and other family members could each have their beach cottage. The lots measured about 100' X 100' apiece, and sold for $50. By way of comparison, Campau's plumbing business in Portland used to net, in those days, about $85 per month. The townsite was still forested, except where the highway had been cut through. And so, to choose his cluster of lots, Campau had his wife's young brother climb a tree and see if he could spot any "canyon," leading from the ocean to the lake, and promising someday to become a major thoroughfare. He did spot a bit of a ravine, running east-west, and so Campau made that the heart of his cluster. The ravine proved to be a blessing, for, though it had only a tiny catchment area, and though it has long since been filled in by landscapers, in those days it had a steady flow of water, enough for both drinking and washing.
This presence of "canyons" at Raymond Town, or at least of ravines, streams and small eminences, is also shown on the original survey of the site, both by the indication of some watercourses and by the name fr. Raymond chose for certain streets, as we shall now see.
The Survey and the Purchase 1924
For the purposes of land ownership,
like other states, is divided into east-west and north-south
six miles wide, though with due allowance for the curvature of
The east-west bands are known as "townships" and the north-south
The whole of Oregon is thus made up of great squares, six miles
each named for the crossing of a numbered "township" and a
Such squares are then subdivided into 36 numbered "sections,"
one mile square. The earliest non-indian settlers, taking
the Land Donation laws, simply picked their acreage as the lay
land suggested, but by Fr. Raymond's time, purchase of virgin
respected the legal lines. Typically, purchases were made in
each a quarter-mile square, but in Fr. Raymond's case, the
the beach and of the highway called for some adjustment.
Fr. Raymond might well have wished to buy a band of land stretching neatly from the ocean to the lake—a distance of about a mile—but what he actually bought was 80 acres, in the shape of a reversed "L," defined partly by the "section" lines and partly by the highway. The "L" measured some 2,000 feet from beach inland, and some 2,500 feet from the edge of the highway to the base line.
The original survey set up the pattern of streets that still holds today, but their names were changed when the town was incorporated into modern Lincoln City. In terms of present-day street names, Fr. Raymond's purchase ran from NW 10th Street up to NW 21st Street. The lower part to the reversed "L," from 10th Street up through 15th Street, intersecting with north-south streets, from modern Inlet Avenue to modern Port Avenue; but the narrower upper part of the "L," from 16th Street to 21st Street, touched the highway, embraced Oar Avenue and reached as far as modern Port Avenue.
The names Fr. Raymond gave these streets are quite interesting. As we mentioned above, some refer to geographical details. Port Avenue was called Lakeside, and 10th Street was called Brookside. Oar Avenue was called Nob View, perhaps a misspelled reference to “knob,” or hillock, visible from there. Similarly, 18th Street was called Sunset Street, perhaps as offering views of the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean. And 16th Street was named Summit Street, presumably on account of a ridge passing through there in those days. Also, 19th Street was Ferndale Street, presumably named for a dip where ferns abounded. The name Oceanlake was given to a street which seemed to lend itself to extension all the way from the ocean to the lake, and which has indeed since been extended a large part of that way, under the name NW 14th Street.
As for Campau’s “canyon,” this corresponded to modern 15th Street, and the original plat seems to show its little stream trickling down to the ocean, with a bit of a track alongside It for access to the beach. This street was approximately given the same name as the town itself—Raymond. Similarly, modern Keel Avenue was given the name of the county—Lincoln; and modern 21st, that of the state—Oregon.
Interestingly, modern Mast Avenue was named Park Avenue, as if Fr. Raymond had plans of a picnic ground there, though, of course, the main picnic area was going to be the grounds of the St. August, which was located on the west side of the highway, at the extreme southeast corner of the town.
Businesses, likewise, were to be concentrated along the highway. In fact, the legal document for each residential sale had a clause forbidding any dance hall or gambling place to be set up there. No mention was made of sale of alcohol, for Prohibition was still in force. Fr. Raymond was not adverse to dancing, nor to modest gambling. One of the very first buildings in the business section was, in fact, a dance hall, run by a trusted friend. But it would be contrary to the whole purpose of the town to have strangers competing with the community's own recreation facility. And as for modest gambling, Leonore McGinty recalls how, on the first night they spent there, Fr. Raymond invited the family to pitch their tent right at the church. The children were sent to bed early, and the priest then enjoyed card games with the grown-ups late into the summer evening!
Building Saint August's Church
The surveyor dated his map of the Raymond Townsite to the year 1924, but on the one available copy he failed to indicate the month and day. The county published its approval of the purchase in the Newport News-Times on October 1, 1924. Oddly enough, this seems to be that paper's only mention of the founding of Raymond Town or its church. The Catholic Sentinel, however, had already carried report back in July, written by Fr. Raymond himself. It reads:
New Church Under Construction in Delake Country
A church is under construction in the
Country, between Salmon River and Siletz Bay. In order to get a
church site, it was necessary to purchase quite a large piece of
It was my good fortune to get 80 acres in the most pleasant
on the coast.
It is situated between a three-mile lane and the ocean. The low hills bordering the lake and the ocean are covered with trees, which form an effective windbreak. Three miles south of Delake is the beautiful Siletz Bay, into which flow Schooner Creek, Drift Creek and Siletz River—three wonderful fishing streams.
Roosevelt Military Highway passes through our property. It will be completed this summer from Portland as far as Delake, a distance of 125 miles. The grading in the direction of Siletz Bay probably will be finished this week.
In order to get the money necessary to build the church and pay for the land, I have had the acreage platted into a townsite. The lots were made 100' X 100' and the price is $50 a lot. The first 100 lots go at that, but we shall have to raise the price of the second 100. Already 25 lots are assigned. Lots have been allowed for a store, a post office and a garage.
No lots will be sold for speculation—the low price is to enable people to build their summer cottages here and spend the warm season by the sea. Those desirous of getting one of the lots should write me immediately, and their applications will be considered in the order in which they come. Of course it will be a cash transaction, but as I am not prepared to transfer title at present, no money should accompany the application.
I want a group of Catholic people around this church, and I urge them to be prompt in writing me.
--Rev. Charles Raymond
Dedication of Saint August's Church 1925
The little church was ready for
on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend, May 30, 1925. Fr.
enlisted many volunteers, to build first the church and then a
A number of Native Americans were involved in both projects,
especially the Mercier family, descendants of fr. Croquet
come out from Belgium to help at Grand Ronde, and there had
Petit in 1882.
On May 21, The Catholic Sentinel briefly announced the event, at Fr. Raymond's prompting, but the editor could hardly have been impressed, for in the next week's edition he published a front-page article on the glories of the Oregon Coast, which much on the Newport area, but not one word on Raymond Town! Happily, however, some souvenirs and memories do survive from the dig day.
Indeed, the little building itself survives, though superseded for liturgical purposes by a larger structure, which was hauled in from Camp Adair, near Corvallis, in 1949. The original, now tucked away in an obscure corner of the parking lot, measures a mere 20' X 40', but in its first setting It gazed majestically down upon the highway and stood tall above the ground, with half-a-dozen broad steps leading up to the neat porch that sheltered its double doors. The shingled roof and clapboard siding were then dark in color, and contrasted nicely with the white trim of the rectangular windows and of the triangular supports that strengthened the eaves against storms from the ocean. It had the simple lines of a beach cottage, but its double doors, its broad steps and sits belfry, all combined to make it unmistakably a church.
Leonore McGinty clearly remembers clearly the dedication day; and there lingers in the archdiocesan archives one copy of the modest leaflet Fr. Raymond distributed as a souvenir. We also know that the ceremony was performed by Msgr. Arthur Lane, grandson of former governor, Joseph Lane.
The clearing around the church looked out on to a hillside covered with one mass of wild rhododendrons in full bloom, their pink and lavender contrasting with the dark evergreen trees. It was down this hill that the Siletz dancers advanced, dressed in their full regalia. Some wore feathers, but others sore hides, and the young Campau girls almost mistook the latter for real bears!
Choosing a name "for a brand new city
plenty of thought and consideration—thought about the nature of
in which the city lies and consideration of the wishes of the
of population therein." This was written on December 16, 1948,
by Jerry Sittser, editor of the North Lincoln County News.
was written in the midst of the debate over the first attempt to
the North Lincoln County communities of Taft, Delake, Nelscott,
and Cutler City.
Sittser argued that the name "Lincoln City" was "a bit too hackneyed," or common. He contended there were enough "Lincoln" place names in the county and the nation already. In his editorial, Sittser hinted that the name "Grand View" had some merit because the area's earliest settlers designated it for their first town site, on Schooner Creek. To drive the point home, he wrote, "There's no denying that most of us have a grand view of the sea and of the lofty timber-mantled hills or of the placid waters of Devils Lake."
Sittser's comments apparently were written after an open meeting on consolidation was held at the Taft Legion Hall. Those in attendance decided that "Lincoln City" would serve as the temporary name to be used on a circulating petition to create the new city. As it turned out, the name selected did not really matter. Four months after the legion hall meeting, voters in the affected communities turned down the proposed consolidation by 374 votes, a margin of 2.5 to 1.
When North Lincoln County residents revisited the consolidation issue again in 1964, the name Lincoln City was chosen prior to the election. Lewis A. McArthur wrote in his definitive work, Oregon Geographic Names:
The name Lincoln City was, of course, derived from the county and was a noncontroversial solution to the often thorny surviving name problem.
This time around, voters approved the
of their cities into a single "Lincoln City" by a margin of just
In March, 2000, some Lincoln County residents have expressed interest in reconsidering the name of their city. One possible new name debated of late was "Beach City."
Using the criteria Sittser outlined in 1948, Beach City is certainly descriptive of "the nature of the land." It remains to be seen, however, whether this or any other possible name would reflect "the wishes of the elements of population therein."
In 1913, when Ida and Jack (1876-1942)
came to the Siletz Bay area, this region was still virtually
although many homesteads had been proved—some even before 1900.
been built and land developed but roads were little more than
came by train to Yaquina, by boat to Newport, by wagon to
(Salishan), and then by rowboat across Siletz Bay and up
Schooner Creek is a well known stream that flowers into Siletz Bay just south of Taft. In 1945, Andrew L. Porter of Newport said that the stream was named for a 50 foot long schooner that came in over Siletz Bar about 1890 and ran aground on the rocks on the east side of the bay just south of the creek. Porter reported that some of the ship's ribs were still showing above the sand at low tide. Porter also said that he understood that about 1894 the ship's bell was taken to Grand Ronde and used at the Indian school. The schooner was hauled above high tide by means of oxen and tackle, and in 1944 it was reported that some of her remains were on ground. A small point of rocks about a quarter of a mile north of the mouth of the creek is called Schooner Point.
At that time, Taft had the only post office and merchandise store. The buildings were located at the extreme end of the present South 51st and South 50th streets on the Bayfront. There were three roads leading to "The Bay," as everyone called it when they were going for their groceries.
To the north, the road circled the bluff on the point of the present 101 Realty (above Spanish Head), led to the beach. This route was shorter ad faster and was used whenever the tide permitted.
The road from Drift Creek came over the hill from Parmeles, past the Longcoy Building on the south side of Schooner Creek, to the beach. Travelers either forded the creek at low tide or crossed by boat to Taft. This building, where the Liswigs lived all the summer of 1913, is located across the creek from the present grade school. It has been the summer home of the Ross family for years, and was pictured in a 1975 issue Lincoln City News Guard. In earlier years, it was a store and later a school.
From the Bayfront, the Schooner Creek Road was through to Rose Lodge, but from the south the only road came to Siletz River at a point opposite what is now The Boat Works, formerly the Gerttula Cannery. The river was crossed by ferry and a narrow road ran over the hill to Drift Creek and onto Schooner Creek. This was used until the highway went through to Newport in 1927.
Buildings in Taft that were vacant in 1913 included the former Taft Cooperative Store and the Andrew Alinger Building situated in the area between South 51 and approximately South 50 streets. After Alinger's (1876-1918) death, the building became a hotel.
Merchandise to the area came by ocean-going vessels, some of these being Nina Mosh, Mirene, Roamer, L. C. Smith and George M. Brown.
Drift Creek Covered Bridge 1947
Photo Courtesy of Julie Hendricks
Frank Murray, Thomas Hill (1873-1930)
Sylvia's, Jack Liswig, were teamsters. In return, they loaded
cheese from cheese factories in the area. Cheese was the only
could market their milk. The Parmeles on Drift Creek, Boneses on
Creek, Hilda (1893-1974) and Louis (1888-1971) Holton, Bertha
and Abraham (1862-1933) Erickson (Iler place), and Tom Hill
place) on what is now East Devils Lake Road, all had their own
Other farmers with only a few cows shipped cream to market by
Twice a week a mail boat operated on the Siletz River between Taft and Mowery's Landing. Wagons carried the mail on to Siletz. In May 1905, Anton Resch died carrying the mail from Otis to Kernville.
Hop picking was a booster on the pioneer income. Families as well as individuals would go to Independence to participate. Sylvia Liswig joined her mother, her sister and a neighbor to make this trip when she was ten years old, walking to Willamina and then taking the train to Independence.
The Fourth of July was a big event every year. Everyone came from miles around to celebrate.
Dancing was the main social event, occasionally in homes but mostly in the hall over the Taft Store and later on at Rose Lodge, Millport and in a hall built by Bruno Rydjeske on the Siletz. Dancing lasted all night with a midnight supper. Walking to the dance with a lantern for light and your dancing shoes in a bag was a way of life then.
Taft High School Established 1922
The first school building in Taft was
in 1921, and was situated east on the playground area of the
grammar school. The year 1922 saw the beginning of the Taft High
A partition was built to divide the school building, with grade
pupils using the front door and high school students entering
back. The following year, the high school used a temporary
directly behind the present two-story grade school building.
was Taft High School until it outgrew its facilities.
In 1927, Almon A. Kerry came to the Taft area to manage the Lincoln County Logging Company for its owners. The earlier logging operations had failed because they could not get their product. The Lincoln County Logging Company brought its tugs to tow ocean-going log rafts over the Siletz River Bar. The tugboats Dodeca and Chahunta were operated by Capt. Martin Guchee and Capt. Benjamin F. Gerttula, both very competent seamen. This trow presented a real risk as this entrance to the ocean was not considered navigable. Tension filled the air whenever a tug was maneuvering its tow into position to put to sea. Relief came when a blast from the tug signaled "safely over!" It was some time after this, with good highways and gasoline-powered equipment, that the timber industry really became big time.
Those early years of discovery and development contain history enough for volumes. It is indeed fortunate that much of it was recorded before it was lost forever. I would particularly like to mention four publications written by people with contacts in this area. Not only are they delightful reading, but also contain a wealth of information for history buffs and researchers: Pioneer History of Lincoln County, Oregon, published in 1951; Fifty Years In Siletz Timber, published in 1959 and written by A. W. Morgan; Sixty Years of Logging by A. A. Kerry, published in 1962; and The Crook Book: Hot Biscuits and Scrambled Eggs, by Laura Bones Crook, published in 1974.
City, just south of Taft and on
of Siletz Bay, has had a remarkable development as a resort
This is a beautiful area full of huckleberries, rhododendrons and pine trees. There was one deserted house which everyone referred to as Gibbs Point. It was often a picnic spot, reached only by crossing Schooner Creek by horse and wagon or by boat, or wading at low tide. Due to the high rock point, the pioneers were unable to cut a road through.
The town was named for George Cutler, who acquired the property from Charley DePoe, a Siletz Indian, and developed the resort with several other nearby communities to form Lincoln City. The post office was established April 14, 1930, with Jacob H. Boomer serving as first postmaster. The Cutlers formerly lived near Dallas. Cutler died in 1913, and his wife in 1939. On December 8, 1964, Cutler City voted to become part of a new community called Lincoln City, and the post office was discontinued on September 24, 1965.
It was in 1923 that Taft became a tent city to accommodate the road and bridge construction crews, with Warren Construction Company building the highway and the Rice Brothers, working for Soleum & Gustafson, constructing the bridges. They built all the wooden bridges from Neskowin to Siletz River, Salmon River, Schooner Creek and Drift Creek were covered bridges and only pictures of these remain.
has become an important summer resort on US-101 about two miles
Taft. A letter by Alma Anderson, published in the North Lincoln
May 4, 1939, indicates that the name was formed by combining
names of Charles P. Nelson and Dr. W. G. Scott, who opened the
in April 1926. The post office was established August 2, 1929
serving as first postmaster. Nelson died in December 1946. On
8, 1964, the town voted to become a part of a new community to
Lincoln City, and the post office closed to the newly created
On the beach at Nelscott, as elsewhere along the Oregon Coast, Japanese floats—colored glass balls, are frequently found. These floats—used as net supports by Oriental fishermen—are carried across the ocean by the Japanese current. They are prized by tourists for decorative purposes. A line of substantial cottages face the ocean here.
North of Nelscott were the Elvin A. Thorpe and Harry Thorpe homesteads.
The Polk County town of Independence was named by E. A. Thorpe who founded the community. The name was in compliment to Independence, Missouri. Thorpe was born in Howard County, Missouri, in 1820. He came to Oregon in 1844, took up a donation land claim at the present site of the town, in June 1845. Independence is located about two miles east of Monmouth on the west bank of the Willamette. The post office was established April 3, 1852, with Leonard Williams first postmaster.
The Thorpe brothers' Lincoln County homesteads were platted in the 1920s and named, after Roosevelt Military Highway, Camp Roosevelt and Roosevelt-by-the-Sea. These tracts subsequently became part of the City of Delake.
In 1837, Methodist missionaries Jason Lee and Cyrus Sheppard, with their brides of one month, and guide Joseph Gervias, came over the Old Elk Trail and camped at the site of what is now Delake for a week. The honeymooners "cured themselves of malaria and evangelized the Salmon River Indians." So far as is known, they were the first vacationers on the Oregon Coast.
Henry A. Hostettler, a civic leader,
Indian allotment land in the Delake area as early as 1910 but it
before growth began.
Delake post office, named for Devils Lake, near which it was located, was established January 11, 1924.
Arthur C. Deuel, the first postmaster, said that Delake was the name agreed upon by himself and judge Frank L. Mann (1863-1956), a Lincoln County resident, because it was the way many of the Finnish people, who settled in the area as fishermen, pronounced Devils Lake. When the name of the original post office was changed to Oceanlake on March 15, 1927, the site was moved a bit over a mile south. The original community then applied for and received a new post office, which was established the same date that the name change took place.
The post office was discontinued September 24, 1965, and on December 8, 1964, Delake voted to become part of a new community to be called Lincoln City.
Development of all areas began with the opening of the highway and continues to this day.
A miraculous and rugged, basalt-rimmed
bay, Boiler Bay is a great place to watch wild surf action
rocky spurs. This splendid panoramic viewpoint presents a good
opportunity to see migrating and resident gray whales.
binoculars -- this is one of the best sites in Oregon to see
ocean-going birds (like shearwaters, jaegers, albatrosses,
pelicans, loons, oystercatchers and murrelets). In 1910,
explosion sank the J. Marhoffer, and you can see the
boiler at low tide. A short, rough trail takes you to some
Oregon's richest tide pools.
Boiler Bay on the Oregon Coast
Photo Courtesy of Julie Hendricks
Sign at Boiler Bay Reads:
The steam schooner "J. Marhoffer" exploded and burned near here in 1910. One life was lost. The boiler drifted here and is still visible at very low tide. Before construction of Highway 101, steamboats such as the "J. Marhoffer" transported freight and passengers along the Oregon Coast. Old-timers called this place "Briggs Landing" after a pioneer family. (Lincoln County Historical Society)
The community of Wecoma Beach is two
north of Lincoln City, overlooking the ocean. John Gill in his
of the Chinook jargon, 1909, says that wecoma is the jargon word
First named Wecoma, the post office was established April 3, 1935, with William Lohkamp serving as first postmaster. The Wecoma office was located on US-101 at the intersection of Holmes Road. On November 1, 1949 that office closed when it was renamed Wecoma Beach. On April 1, 1957, Wecoma Beach was designated a rural station of Oceanlake. On December 8, 1964, the town voted to become a part of a new community to be called Lincoln City, and on September 25, 1965 the post office was designated a contract station of Lincoln City. The Wecoma Beach office was discontinued on August 31, 1969.
Crater Lake, Oregon
Photo Courtesy of Julie Hendricks
Neotsu post office, at the northern
Devils Lake, was established March 28, 1928, with Frank M.
serving as first postmaster.
The name is said to be an Indian word meaning "evil water." George Davidson, in the Coast Pilot, 1889, uses the spelling Na-ah-so, but does not explain the word.
Devils Lake has been referred to as me-sah'-chie-chuck, which is Chinook jargon for "evil water." There are a number of Indian legends about Devils Lake. The Indians believed that in these waters lived powerful malign deities known as skookums that occasionally rose to the surface to attack men.
When used in connection with localities, the word skookum generally indicates a place haunted by an evil spirit, or god of the woods. It sometimes meant a place used as a burial ground.
In Clackamas County, Skookum Lake, about ten acres in size and 20 feet deep, is located on the north slope of Thunder Mountain, between Toketee Falls and OR-230. It drains into Fish Creek, a tributary of Clackamas River, and is stocked with brook trout.
The modern meaning of the work skookum is quite different from the earlier connotation; it can also mean "stout" or "strong," and a skookum chuck did not mean a strong, swift stream, but a place to stay away from. The word skookum has been applied to various geographic features in Oregon.
Indians near the mouth of Rogue River in Curry County built a fort or stockade on the south bank of the stream about 15 miles from the ocean. White settlers drove the Indians out and took the fort. Skookumhouse Butte was named on account of stockade incident, and the word skookumhouse was also used by early settlers to describe a jail.
In contradistinction to a skookum, a hehe was a good spirit and a hehe chuck was a fine place for games, races and other sports and festivities.
Drift Creek, Daisy Dell, and Upper and Lower Schooner Creek had schools before Taft. The Longcoy Building, when put into use as a school, had to be reached by a swinging bridge spanning Schooner Creek at the present site of the Kenneth Casey home.
In the sands of Siletz Bay lie the remains of a large ship at least "100 feet between perpendiculars and of about 30 feet in beam." Schooner Creek is said to have been named for this shipwreck. The exact type of ship, its actual name and the year it drifted into the Bay are still debated. Perhaps it was the Blanco which capsized off Siletz Bay in 1864; or the Sunbeam, hailing from New Jersey, which disappeared in 1887. The museum's model of a schooner was built and donated to the museum by Norman C. Hall.
Schooner Creek School
Alma and Lila Ojalla, the daughters of
and Mathias Ojalla (1858-1928), graduated from Siletz and
schools, where they earned the necessary teacher's training
then tackled the State Teachers Examinations in 11 subjects at
in Toledo. Finally, the crucial letters arrived from the State
of Education in Salem. The first hurdle on their educational
been successfully conquered, the second obstacle loomed ahead.
4, they went to Toledo once again via mail stage to see
Richard P. Goin (1875-1954). The trip was to assess the
teaching positions yet open.
The Ojallas, who had four children, indicated their desire for nearby schools. Each of them applied for a school at the north end of the county near the Siletz River estuary. In due time out, contracts arrived, nine months at $90 a month. The contracts were hurriedly signed and returned to the respective district clerks. No duplicates were used then.
Early in September, Mathias drove them in a buckboard to Mowery's Landing on the Siletz, a half day's driving. They transferred to the lone mail boat plying the river daily at Taft, then a hamlet of about 25 persons with its one general store, owned and operated by Fred Roberson, was the activity hub of the area.
Lila Ojalla's initiation into pedagogy was the Schooner Creek School District No. 60, nine miles up a mountain from Taft. This fresh-out-of-high school teacher-janitor ($5 extra), the first Monday rode horseback, with a pupil, Edna Bones, behind the saddle. Atop the second draft horse sat Edna's brother, Ernest, three lunch pails (lard), a securely fastened teacher's knapsack bulging with books and supplies, and two hand-sewn nose bags containing oats for our equestrian mounts. Thus began the six mile mountain climb. Sixty plus minutes later, Lila spied her own white schoolhouse, literally astraddle the mountain top. Three little girls and a boy, dressed in their Sunday best," sat primly on the front steps waiting for them, and solemnly appraising their new teacher. The daily trek up the mountain and down abruptly ended in early October as the Lower Schooner Creek School was reactivated, thus losing two riding companions and the horses. In a matter of days, a very blonde sister-brother twosome enrolled. Lila grew fond of these studious, well-mannered children, who were ethnically Scandinavian—Finnish and Swedish. Her six pupils were in the first, second, third, fifth and seventh grades.
Confronted with no alternative to "batching" in the one-room teacherage [sic] nestled along side my school, Lila lived in her fortress. She barricaded the door nightly with her table on which she placed "just right" her lone butcher knife and an axe used for cabin and school wood chopping, chopped usually by a school board member. For further safety, she locked and padlocked the door at dusk, and gazed trustingly at the loaded .45 Colt revolver in its holster hanging within easy reach of her bed. The gun was loaned to her by her board chairman who had instructed her in its use. She returned it intact upon leaving the district at the close of her second year.
Lila's concerned and protective friendly school patrons, tucked onto bits of land clinging to the mountain sides, lavishly gave to her of their bounty of soil, fruit trees, cows, ovens, pantries and storehouses.
The isolated area schools, unsuitable for community activities, defaulted in favor of Taft.
The one general store with a dance hall overhead, attracted people like bees to a honey pot, for miles around. They came by land and river on Saturday night. Five A.M. Sunday scattered the revelers, who were sore of foot with an occasional blister, droopy-eyed, and exhausted. Bodies wended homeward by boat, wagon, horseback and on shanks' [sic] horses, the exuberance of Saturday night not even a memory.
Schooner Creek Suspension Bridge 1914
In 1914 Jesse Stone built a suspension
across Schooner Creek on the Henry Stanton's land. Stanton's
was sold in 1907 to Aliina and Mathias Ojalla, who, with their
moved here in July of that year. A son, Martin, was born here
The suspension bridge swung freely from side to side, frightening some of the people who needed to cross from Taft to the schoolhouse at Grand View, the first settlement on Schooner Creek. To show the bridge was safe, Stone walked tight-rope along one of the wire rails and started the bridge swaying by jumping up and down on it.
In 1916, educator Dovie Odom, Senator Mark Hatfield's mother, crossed the bridge with students Ernest Bones and Rose Abrams.
The suspension bridge was destroyed by a break in the Valsetz Dam on the Siletz River in 1921. It was replaced by a covered wooden bridge built in 1922.
The steel bridge now spanning the Siletz River on Highway 229, about 13 miles from US-101 at Kernville, commemorates the Ojalla family.
In 1930, Lila Ojalla married John A. Wilson (1899-2000), who was head sawyer for C. D. Johnson Lumber Company in Toledo.
Schooner Creek By Sled 1920
On January 2, in the early 1920s,
Allen accepted and began her first teaching assignment. It was
Creek School, nine miles from the coast town of Taft. Blanche
until later that she was the ninth teacher who had accepted the
the term! The other eight had looked the situation over,
returned to their homes. Had she but known all that she was
into, she might have done the same.
At the time, Blanche was living in Portland, and it took five days and five vehicles to get to her school—one train, two busses, and one mail boat, and a home-made sled. There was no road fit to accommodate cars so the principle modes of transportation on Schooner Creek were walking, horseback, and sleds.
Of Blanche Allen's five students, several walked five miles to school. One sixth grade girl, whose parents had just separated, stayed with her in a little roughly built one-room cabin about 20 yards from the schoolhouse. They slept in a homemade bed and cooked on an old wood burning stove that was about ready to fall to pieces. Their water was carried uphill from a spring by "Guess Who!" They used old-fashioned lanterns for light and got plenty of exercise and fresh air walking to their "outside bathroom."
The school board members took turns going into the woods to saw and chop wood for both the cabin and schoolhouse. Blanche split the wood, often getting up at 5am on cold days so the supply wouldn't run short. The wood was so wet there would be a puddle of water on the floor beneath the pile behind the stove. The school board members were kind, good men, and were very helpful to her in numerous ways. They did their job the best they knew how. They had few advantages in life; two of them could neither read nor write.
In this remote area everyone had to depend on each other for some things, and were always ready and willing to lend a hand where needed. Once or twice a month someone going to Taft would bring Blanche her mail and some groceries. A fifth grade boy half-soled her shoes, using leather for the job which he had cured and tanned himself. After she'd been there for quite a while, some of her students informed her that she was the first teacher they had ever had who didn't sleep with a gun under her pillow! They didn't know it, but Blanche kept a hammer there, considering herself a real amateur with guns.
In spite of the hardships and disadvantages, Blanche enjoyed her work and her life at Schooner Creek, and made lasting friends there. She considered the time she spent there on her first teaching job one of the most enriching experiences of her entire life.
Johnson post office, named for an Indian Shaker couple, Sissy (1859-1931) and Jakie Johnson (1859-1933), was at the Parmele place about half a mile up Drift Creek from the mouth of the stream on the east side of Siletz Bay, and about two miles north of Kernville. The office was established March 11, 1899, with George S. Parmele (1853-1930) first and only postmaster. The office was closed May 23, 1903, and what business there was turned over to Kernville. Sissy and Jakie Johnson, a local Native American couple, were well and favorably known. Jakie Johnson is said to have been a Siletz Indian. Sissy Johnson, a Shasta from Northern California, bore the tribal markings of three double lines tattooed on her chin. Among the Southern Oregon tribes, women tattooed their chins with three vertical stripes and were dubbed the "One-Eleven Girls" by non-indians. The ancient Shasta had tattooed the entire chin, and while the Yakonan did not use face markings they tattooed dots on the wrists of their women for strength. Tattooing was also practiced among the Siuslaw and Kuitsh, especially among women who marked their wrists and legs. The commonest tattoos were lines on the arms, as a ready-made calculator for measuring strings of valuable dentalia. Edward S. Curtis in 1923 photographed an elderly Tolowa man (100 miles to the south) with these distinctive tattoos. Indians of the Willamette Valley (the closest to the Siletz on the east) did not use tattoos. A very light-skinned people, comparatively speaking, the Southern Oregon Chasta Costa women also wore chin tatoos. This was not unlike the chin-tattooing tradition of the ancient Libyans. In 1980, Harvard professor Berry Fell wrote:
"Those Berbers who retained their ancient customs practiced chin-tattooing of the women, who did not wear the veil even though they are now Moslems. The men on the other hand often cover their head and face with a scarf-like cloth, showing only the eyes to strangers."
Indian women of Sissy Johnson's period
non-indian dress habits and were especially fond of hats, shoes
shirts. One news reporter said, "The Indian women from Siletz
appearance in their Sunday best." He watched the two cultures
on" as it were, however, when blue facial tattoos appeared atop
urban fashions. A more graceful blend resulted when Indian women
their costumes with their own beautiful basketry hand bags. A
and outgoing woman, Sissy Johnson taught local people how to
and how to mix ashes and salt to make a cement to patch cracks
in wood-burning stoves.
The Johnsons held land by patent and part of the town of Taft is on property owned by the pair. Sissy and Jackie Johnson were influential Siletz Shaker missionaries and ministers. The Johnsons, who are both buried at Paul Washington Cemetery on Government Hill in Siletz, were well and favorably known. The Johnsons operated a general store, once owned by Parmele, for Nelson & Ray of Cloverdale, who built their ocean-going boat, Della. They built their large, two-story home on the hill east of the store at a location near the present Highway 101 and Coast Avenue. They rented rooms and served meals to travelers as there were no other accommodations available. Their estate included many farm buildings.
Later, in 1909, the Mercer family built a home on the bluff facing the ocean just above the store, and operated it as a hotel. In 1974, a new home replaced this landmark.
In 1904, John W. Bones (1884-1970), homesteaded a claim on the Bayfront adjoining the Johnson estate. On January 22, 1906, Taft post office was established with Bones the first postmaster. The post office, named after the Pres. William Howard Taft (1857-1930), was located on the north shore of Siletz Bay in the urban strip, which is now Lincoln City.
Bones donated land for the cemetery located above Spanish Head and some time later the pioneers collected money to buy land for the cemetery.
He sold his business in 1910 to William Dodson, who built a new general merchandise store a little farther back from the waterfront. This building, after many renovations and additions, eventually became the Driftwood Nursing Home. The nursing home is no longer in operation but the building still stands.
All that glitters in ghost town lore
gold. It can even be the silver horde Rex Beach wrote about—the
sides of salmon establishing an industry and a town. It happened
The man who started it was Daniel Kern, born in Menominee, Michigan, September 12, 1856. He came West at 21, working at one odd job after another in Portland, Oregon. They taught him how to get along with people and lead them and in a short time he was a contractor on jetty projects at the mouth of the Columbia River, at Bandon, Coos Bay, Yaquina City, and Grays Harbor on the Washington coast. Kern was particular about the type of rock used in the jetties and prospected for the material personally. He discovered the quarry at Elk City, and the sandstone from it was sent down the Yaquina River to build the breakwater in the Bay.
A man working along the Washington and Oregon coasts in those days could not help being involved with salmon in one way or another. In 1896, Daniel Kern enlisted his brother, John H. Kern, as partner and built a large fish cannery on the north bank of the Oregon coastal river called the Siletz. Wildly remote from civilization, the spot became the first white settlement in Northern Lincoln County.
Two years later a youth, Warren Pohle of Salem, wrote: "The river was full of Indians fishing for salmon to supply the cannery there." He said the Indians got 25 cents apiece for Chinook and a dime for 'silversides," regardless of size. The Kern Brothers Packing Company was later sold to Matthew P. Kiernan and J. W. Cook of Portland and in 1907 Samuel Elmore of Astoria took it over.
Elmore wrecked the building, using the lumber to rebuild a short distance from the Siletz. The "new" Elmore Cannery employed a large number of Chinese laborers in the plant, bunkhouses being built back of the main building. Rice was their staple food, imported by the ton, the straw bundles coming in by boat.
Bridge of the Gods
Photo Courtesy of Julie Hendricks
Chinese Cannery Laborers 1880s
In the 1880s, there were 9,510 Chinese
in Oregon—about five percent of the state's population. They
mining operations, railroad construction and canneries to
back home; they were a preferred source of labor in Oregon
worked hard for low wages.
Locally their presence increased in the 1880s when a Chinese crew was hired to construct the railroad line from Corvallis to Yaquina. A Chinese community soon established itself on Newport's Bayfront. Many Chinese found employment in the hotels; others operated laundries. They also found work in the canneries that started up on the Alsea, Siletz and Yaquina bays during the 1880s.
Oregon Fish Catch 1921
Photo Courtesy of Julie Hendricks
There is little information on the
operations of the early canneries. The Kernville cannery may be
documented local use of Chinese labor. In 1896, the Kern
a cannery on the north side of the Siletz River, six miles from
The Kern operation consisted of four buildings, the cannery, an
store, and post office combination, a mess hall for whites and a
and mess hall for the Chinese. The immigrant laborers at
from Astoria, where Chinese cannery crews had been favored since
To provide staples for the Chinese, the Kern brothers saw to it
boat included shipments of rice.
A brief description of their operation written in 1897 indicates 25 Chinese men worked there. Chinese cannery laborers toiled at what one historian had called "the slimy, dangerous work of cutting, cleaning and packing the fish into cans." It appears this was true of the Kernville operation; "white labor" was used for management and the operation of the cannery's engines. The Kernville operation packed Chinook salmon under the brand name "Golden Rod." While the Chinese performed the cannery work, a large percentage of the fishermen were Indians, former residents of the Siletz Reservation.
Exactly how long the local Chinese presence endured is not known. Many Chinese laborers left the American West in the second half of the 1880s.
Chinese Exclusion Act 1882
The economy had suffered a downturn,
the Chinese were seen by some as taking away jobs from
they would work for lower wages. Protest marches were held in
San Francisco, Portland and elsewhere against the Chinese,
to expel them. In some areas, the demonstrations turned violent
Chinese were forced out of town.
Chinese immigration was halted when Congress passed the Exclusion Act of 1882, which was renewed every ten years until the 1920s. By 1920 there were only 3,090 Chinese living in Oregon—less than one-third of one percent of the state's population. Racial prejudice, the Exclusion Act and a decline in the number of small canneries all contributed to the virtual disappearance of the Chinese presence in Lincoln County.
Eventually the cannery became a boat
According to Lincoln County Sylvia Liswig DeForest,
Kernville's first cannery was built
Rock on Siletz River in 1896. In about 1907, the
sold it to Samuel Elmore of Astoria who dismantled and brought
present site of Kernville. This building was Shaner's Riverside
for many years (currently owned by A. W. Buisman). Will Gerttula
the Elmore Cannery as well as his own cannery further up the
was a big industry for the area at the time. The Bay used to be
drift netters; then came the trolling boats. Chinese labor was
the cannery along with locals.
One time in 1925 when the trollers came in loaded, I remember seeing the floor of the cannery at least two feet deep with salmon. My dad built bins to ice the fish until the packers could get to them. Finally, only set netters were allowed to fish and the salmon they caught were trucked to Astoria. ...
Elections were held in the cannery, the precinct being called "Kern." According to Alma Phelps Plunkett,
There is a story I was told that makes me go into convulsions every time I remember it. Kernville at one time was very important. There was a very important election coming up at Kernville, and the man down there who was influential sent work to Toledo to bring some liquor down. That's how they controlled the votes. They'd get a guy to drink some liquor and then butter him up a bit. A couple of fellows volunteered to get the liquor and take it to Kernville. They got to Siletz all right, but their load was getting to be a little bit heavy, so they thought they'd lighten the load by putting some of their bottles into their stomachs, which they proceeded to do. They stumbled to Kernville partly by rowboat any stumbled and fell; it was pretty rugged going. Finally they got there with just part of the liquor.
A number of other industries, including a
were developed on the south side of the small river, the short
made by boat. The post office was also established there, July
with J. H. Kern as the first postmaster, succeeded by M.
7, 1899. There were some dark, slack periods in Kernville
the post office was listed as "Not In Service."
Daniel's daughter, Grace, who now lives in retirement in Portland, recalls a trip to Kernville in the early days before there was a road along the coast:
We spent a summer at the cannery, hoping the sea air would be of benefit to my brother, Arthur, who was suffering from rheumatic fever. I was two years younger but well remember the interesting trip from Portland. We went to Corvallis, transferring to a line called the Corvallis & Eastern. It was pulled by a wood-burning locomotive and ran only to Yaquina City on the coast. We got off at Toledo just this side of Yaquina City and again transferred, this time to a buckboard. We rode on this to a place called Olsson's Landing, then completed the remainder of the trip to the Siletz by rowboat. There were four young men there on a fishing trip, one of them a medical student named Lee Steiner. All the young men had beautiful voices and would serenade us every night. Then one day Arthur had a very bad attack of the fever. Steiner carried him to the salmon boat which was to get us to the steamer for Astoria and he stayed with us, helping mother take care of Arthur. At Astoria we got on the train going up the Oregon side of Columbia River to Portland where we met my father who took us to the hospital there. My brother recovered and about 1943 met Dr. Steiner who remarked: "You don’t look much like the sick boy I carried out of Kernville years ago."
Kernville Spruce Division Mill
Kernville's busiest years were those
Kaiser Wilhelm was so close to winning WWI. Oregon's coastal
found to be the best material known for making airplanes. The
reached its finest development and heaviest stand along the
An average acre of these trees yielded 150,000 board feet. A
Division Mill, with a capacity of 30,000 board feet
had to "hump it" to cope with the war department's estimate of
board feet accessible from tidewater. The mill maintained a
credible consistency, considering all the difficulties of
was no dependable wagon road reaching the place. Wet weather
of the only road there was and high tide covered it. The Siletz
crossed by a "drift and pull" ferry, since no bridge had been
this river was only one of many along the route north.
During the hectic days of WWI, Kernville was confusingly called Millport. The general offices of the mill company and the bunkhouses, called "bachelors' halls," were still standing in 1964.
Except for a few supplies brought in by wagon in the summer when roads were dryer and tides lower, all materials depended upon boat shipments and there were plenty of troubles with these too. The depth of the Siletz Bar was only about seven feet in a changing channel.
When a drawbridge was finally completed over the Siletz in November 1926, it was a major link in the coastal highway system, so impeded with tidal flats, rivers and canyons. Kernville was already a ghost town and the new bridge only hastened the removal of almost all the remaining residents and old machinery from the mill to the new Kernville on the highway.
Oregon Logging Train
"Sometimes a Great Notion"
As the trees fell and the hours
three men grew accustomed to one another's abilities and
words actually passed between them; they communicated with the
language of labor toward their shared end, becoming more and
skilled team as they worked their way across the steep slopes;
almost one man, one laborer who knew his body and his still and
to use them without waste or overlap.
Henry chose the trees, picked the troughs where they would fall, placed the jacks where they would do the most good. And stepped back out of the way... Hand did the falling and trimming, wielding the cumbersome chain saw tirelessly in his long, cable-strong arms, as relentless as a machine; working not fast but steadily, mechanically, and certainly fast past the point where other fallers would have rested.
...Joe Ben handled most of the screwjack work, rushing back and forth from jack to jack, a little twist here, a little shove there, and whup! she's turnin', tippin', heading out downhill! Okay—get down there an’ set the jacks again, crank and uncrank right back an' over again. Oh yeah, that's the one'll do it. Shooooom, all the way, an' here comes another one, Andy old buddy, bit as the ark... feeling a mountain of joyous power collecting in his back muscles, an exhilaration of faith rising with the crash of each log into the river.
--Ken Kesey, Sometimes a Great Notion, 1963
There is a Victorian House on the
of the Siletz River that's built to last. A huge porch once
riverbank, heavily reinforced against the elements. This was
in the decade following the movie version of Ken Kesey's
Notion," but it lives on in the first pages of the novel.
In her 1976 essay, "History of Siletz Bay Area," Sylvia Liswig DeForest pinpoints the location of the famous house:
Millport, across the river from the Gerttula Cannery, came into being during WWI. After a short boom marketing spruce for airplane wings, it folded and remains now as the site of the Stamper House used in filming "Sometimes a Great Notion" in 1970.
The 1971 film version of Kesey's novel
Paul Neuman, Lee Remick, Henry Fonda, and Michael Sarrazin. The
the nevery-say-die spirit of an anti-union timber baron, his
family, and life in the mythical Coast Range logging community
It is the story of a small family-owned logging business
that clear-cut whole sections and threaten to destroy their way
Much of this movie was shot in the area, with cafe scenes taking place at Mo's Fish Shanty on Newport's Bayfront. Restaurant scenes from "Sometimes a Great Notion" were filmed here, and the stars soon became restaurant devotees. Over the years other luminaries, ranging from Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968) to Bruce Springsteen, joined the club. Newport's Bayhaven Inn was briefly renamed "The Snag" in the summer of 1970 for the filming of the movie.
In 1985 book, On the Yaquina and Big Elk, Evelyn Payne Parry (1906-1994) wrote about the impact the filming of "Sometimes a Great Notion" had on the local economy:
The shooting part of the movie,
a Great Notion," brought some prosperity and thrills to Elk City
I have a photograph, loaned by Bill and Arlene McKay, of Paul
his hand on Henry Fonda's chair, planning a day's work on Main
Another photo depicts the movie crew cycle races. Newman is is
have wished he could ride as the Elk City boys did.
Sharp-eyed film buffs will recognize Depoe Bay's harbor, which was featured in the movie, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," which was based on another novel by Ken Kesey, Oregon's famous son. This is where Randle McMurphy, played by Jack Nicholson, took his fellow escapees aboard a charter boat and headed out for a day of salmon fishing.
Wisconsin State Historical Society, Madison: The authors displaying copies of
Lords of Themselves: A History of East Lincoln County, Oregon
by M. Constance Guardino (Hodges) and
At Rest in Lincoln County by Evelyn Payne Parry
Vincent Discovers Wreckers Cove 1878
In 1878, Dr. Fred W. Vincent of
and his grandfather cruised up the Oregon Coast north from
observed a break in the shoreline. Lowering the sails of this
they finally rowed it into the little harbor. "We found there
chains of a sea-going craft, two headlights and the letters US,
the little spot Wreckers
Cove," Vincent reported in 1935.
Lands about the small bay just north of Cape Foulweather (44° 46' 21") were allotted by the US government in 1894 to a Siletz Indian named William "Old Charley" Depot, whose name was derived from his employment at a US Army depot. Evidence of an ancient culture, Indian shell mounds and kitchen middens can still be seen in and around the city.
The government granted 200 acres encompassing the harbor and townsite.
In June 1927, the then owners, Sunset Investment Company of Portland, plotted a modern townsite and named it in honor Matilda and Charley, whose family name has evolved from the plain "Depot" to a more fancy "DePoe." The name became Depoe Bay when the post office was established in 1928.
The narrow inlet of Depoe Bay is the world's smallest navigable harbor, with just six square acres of water. Because of its proximity to the ocean, fishermen or whale watchers can be from dockside to viewing or fishing in a matter of minutes.
The town has the distinction of being the only town of the entire coast with this amenity. Waves run the beneath lava beds and build pressure to spout water as high as 60 feet into the air. These are known as "spouting horns" and are visible during turbulent seas and stormy weather.
Depoe Bay is also the Whale Watching Capital of the Oregon Coast with its resident pod of grey whales which makes its home there ten months out of the year. Each spring the town hosts the "Celebration of the Whales."
Fleet of Flowers celebration is held on Memorial Day. Local boats venture out of the harbor to place floral wreaths on the Pacific as a tribute to friends and loved ones. Over 20,000 people come to witness a blanket of blossoms cast upon high waters.
The Depoe Bay Salmon Bake takes place on the third Saturday of September at Depoe Bay City Park, located just south and east of the bridge flanking the rear of the boat basin. Approximately 3,000 pounds of fresh ocean fish are caught cooked over open fires of alder and cedar just as Indians like Matilda and William Depoe did years ago.
In her April 4, 199 letter to M. Constance Guardino III, Julie Hendricks of Tiller wrote:
While working at Pacific Communities Hospital I met and came to love Chief William DePoe while he was alive. I hope his biography is published one day. He was quite a dear fellow, with many stories to tell. He lived a very full and rewarding life. He was in one Elvis Presley (1935-1977) movie, and he was on the Lawrence Welk (1903-1992) show. Through his 80-plus years he remained very active with cultural activities, and he maintained a superb sense of humor. He declined rapidly after his wife, Matilda, passed on.
Otter Rock post office, located on US-101, eight miles north of Newport, was established April 13, 1913, with Thomas H. Horning (1856-1940) first postmaster. The office was discontinued September 3, 1971. The name originated from the 36-feet high sea stack situated about one half mile offshore and three and a quarter miles north of Yaquina Head. About a mile to the north is a larger rock. Sea otter formerly inhabited these rocks. No one has been able to learn who suggested the name either of the rock or for the post office.
Connecting the County
The first attempt to connect North
County with Newport via automobile was carried out long before
had a Highway Department. It was an undertaking of Otter Rock
Benjamin F. Jones (1867-1925). Jones was a pioneer lawyer, state
and promoter who purchased the Doke Spencer Allotment (Dawes Act
where he developed the community to get a highway built along
A former mayor of both Newport and Toledo, Jones was regarded as
of Lincoln County."
As the principal developer of Otter Rock, Jones knew his chances of turning this area into a "first class resort" would be greatly enhanced it if were accessible by automobile.
In April 1908, Jones announced to the local newspaper that a road would be planked over "the Head" (presumably Yaquina Head). The other obstacle, "that hill from the beach to the Punch Bowl,would be planked in good style" as well. Jones, who had a sawmill in Otter Rock, likely milled the lumber for this undertaking himself. Most of the trip was a beach road that could "not be excelled in the world for natural scenery." Jones employed J. J. Kadderline of Portland to run the automobiles back and forth between Newport and Otter Rock during the summer months; in 1908, there were very few privately owned automobiles on the coast.
Jones's road to Otter Rock also opened up Depoe Bay to travelers:
From Otter Rock to Depoe Bay is one of the most interesting trips imaginable, and the opening up of a road to Otter Rock will put this rugged coast with its fishing and hunting within an easy day's travel of this place.
The road to Otter Rock also had a
side, especially for the people living along the Lower Siletz
resort at Otter Rock would be a resting place for weary
travelers, or a
"half-way house," as it was called then.
Exactly how successful was Jones's scheme is not clear. However, it was several decades before the construction of any large-scale resorts at Otter Rock took place. Nor is there any evidence that Jones became wealthy from Otter Rock development efforts.
Perhaps it was lessons learned from building and maintaining the road to Otter Rock that spurred Jones to seek government intervention. While serving in the state legislature in 1919, he wrote a bill that resulted in construction of Roosevelt Military Highway. The Ben Jones Bridge, erected in 1927, is located where old US-101 crosses Rocky Creek at the north end of old Otter Rock Loop, and in that year Jones was honored at a public ceremony at which this bridge was dedicated to him as the "Father of the Roosevelt Military Highway."
In 1919, railroad promoter Wallis Nash visited Otter Rock. In his book, a Lawyer's Life on Two Continents, he wrote:
...a couple of Indians came in out of the dark, one carrying slung over his shoulder, some long, dark beast, which he jerked on the counter before the storekeeper. [Henry N.] Moseley pricked up his ears and came to the notice. From nose tip to tail the animal was about four to five and a half feet long, plainly of the otter type—the fur dark brown and glossy: but the feet were webbed... The Indian began to dicker with "Bush" for the hide: the bidding started at $200, and Moseley’s face fell, for, by slow degrees it went up to $400, and changed hands at that. The price was too high for him, and he had to content himself with the skeleton, which we arranged to have cleaned by the ants at a neighboring, ant-heap in the woods. In due time the skeleton followed him to Oxford and took its unique place in the Museum of Natural History. Even then these sea otters were rare—now they are all but extinct. They live in the great kelp fields along the ocean front. There they are shot from the shore with long range rifles. One otter means a year’s work for white or Indian hunters. If one is seen disporting itself in the kelp, it is followed up and down the coast for miles until the chance for a shot comes: then all is staked on success which is much rarer than failure.
Beverly Beach is a small community north of Yaquina Head (44° 40' 37") and Beverly Beach State Park adjoins it on the north. In 1981, Florence May Christy wrote:
During the early 1930s my husband, Curtis E. Christy, and I owned the property which is now known as Beverly Beach, Lincoln County, Oregon. Our goal was to establish a small seaside community on this property. In choosing a name for this site my daughter, Florence Daneene Christy Pearson, who at that time was a small child, was asked what she would like to call the community. Her favorite doll at that time was Beverly, and her choice of that name established the location as Beverly Beach, which it has remained to this day.
Ocean Park Campground and Trout Farm Created 1920
Going after the elusive yet tasty
rod and reel was once a camp/auto court that was located about
Beach State Park is now.
In 1920, Lester Martin and C. B. Ryckman organized the Ocean Park Campground and Trout Farm and declared their intention to sell a limited amount of stock. Their plans also called for at least 50 cabins and a playground.
The development of Ocean Park coincided with construction of Roosevelt Military Highway. At that time, the highway snaked its way through the nearby foothills east of its present location. The site chosen for Ocean Park was convenient for travelers, as the highway ran right through the grounds.
Five years later, the partners announced the completion of a new dam that created a lake that, when filled, would cover 34 acres with six feet of water. The partners claimed the new lake, along with their other lakes, held enough water to sustain 10,000,000 trout. In January 1925, 1.8 million trout were hatched at their facility, which by this time had become a mecca for authorities on fish and hatcheries.
By 1925, the trout farm and campground had been supplemented with a bathhouse, store, restaurant and cottages with access to the beach.
Picture postcards from about 1930 document that Ocean Park also kept a bear mascot chained up on the grounds.
It is not known exactly when the trout farm and resort came to an end, but relocation of the highway may have been a deadly blow for this privately owned attraction.
The state acquired lands for what would become Beverly Beach State Park campground in 1942 and 1943. This was shortly after construction began on the present-day route of US-101. In October 1952, the state awarded a $23,817 contract for construction of an overnight camping area at Spencer Creek, which flows into the Pacific Ocean at Ocean Park about a mile south of Otter Rock. This creek was named for Doke Spencer, a Native American who lived near its mouth. Spencer and his family were allotted land in this locality.
According to a 1957 newspaper article, Beverly Beach State park opened as a park in 1953. At that time it was just 17 acres with 32 campsites, 12 trailer spaces and a separate parking area.
The park has since grown to more than 103 acres. This 129-acre site camp and day use area now attracts in excess of 300,000 visitors annually.
While the simple pleasure of trout fishing in a convenient artificial pond has been long lost, the present-day park at Spencer Creek continues to be a popular attraction for coastal visitors.
Located on the central Oregon coast, Depoe Bay has become a favorite of coastal visitors for its unique tidal attractions and variety of eating and shopping opportunities. For several million years the Pacific Ocean has been carving its way through the tough basalt formations that form the sides of Depoe Bay, resulting in the smallest year-round navigable harbor in the world.
Depoe Bay on the Oregon Coast 1935
Photo Courtesy of Julie Hendricks
The picturesque bay is landlocked, except for the harbor
through the rocks, which can accommodate boats up to fifty feet
length. Visitors watch with excitement as the vessels make their
and from the sea through the narrow channels leading under
to the harbor, known locally as "shooting the hole." For those
to brave the seas themselves, there are numerous charter fishing
whale watching companies.
Depending on tidal conditions, visitors can watch and sometimes be drenched by the famous spouting horns that shoot geysers of salt water into the air, yards away from Highway 101. Depoe Bay is two hours from Portland, Oregon and the Portland International Airport.
Killer Whales Murial at Newport
Photo Courtesy of Julie Hendricks
Beach, the sea beach about three miles north of
Head, has long been noted for the very fine agates
and was named to call attention to one of the principal
beachcombing in the area.
Beachcombing is at its best during the winter, when winter waves, high seas and runoff carry sand off the beaches, uncovering treasures.
Also, storms carry in objects lost at sea. Among the possibilities are trash from ships, packing crates, floats, driftwood, shells, fossils—and agates.
The Central Oregon Coast is prime agate-hunting territory.
Agates are beautiful, translucent rocks. Before the Ice Ages, silicates, oxides and metals were squeezed into existing earth forms to create these quartzes, also known as chalcedony. More oxides and minerals create the red, amber and blue tones, sometimes forming a banded or mottled pattern. Some agates contain fossilized clams, snails and shark's teeth.
Agate Beach lives up to its name as the area with the greatest concentration of these rocks. Dealers in Newport make a specialty of cutting and polishing these stones.
Agate Beach on the Oregon Coast
Photo Courtesy of Julie Hendircks
The beach north of Seal Rock and mouths of freshwater streams and rivers are also good places. Some of the best are Cummins Creek, Bob Creek, Nye Beach, Ona Beach, Smelt Sands and Squaw Creek.
In 1883, John Fitzpatrick, an Ireland-born man who, by all accounts, was an easy-going gentleman with a flair for investing in profitable pieces of land, purchased an 18-acre woodland lot near Agate Beach.
During the beginning of what would become the 19th Century's worst economic depression, Fitzpatrick built the Monterey Hotel on his 18-acre parcel of land, which was surrounded by more than 100 acres of forest.
Popular with bathers and tourists from Salem, the hotel enjoyed extreme prosperity during its first year in business. Then, for reasons "far more intriguing than simple economics," the hotel's business dropped and the tragedies began.
Less than two years after the Monterey's construction, Fitzpatrick was dead from pneumonia and, shortly thereafter, his 25-year-old daughter, Sarah Fitzpatrick, was found shot to death in one of the hotel’s grand rooms.
Today, the 18 acres is owned by the state and acts as a picnic and beach-access park for Agate Beach's visitors.
In 1912, Colonel Hofer built Madinore, the first house at Agate Beach. Other people from Salem followed and built homes, the Pattons, the Livesleys, Thielsens, the Bushes, and Florence Bynon's brother Mac built a house to the south of Madinore.
Agate Beach post office was established April 18, 1912 with John G. Mackey serving as first postmaster. The office closed to Newport on August 20, 1971.
Swiss-born composer Ernest Bloch (1880-1959) spent the last years of his life in the Newport area.
Bloch had a long and illustrious career, both in Europe and the US.
From 1911 to 1915, Bloch taught at the Geneva Conservatory. He migrated to the US in 1916, and founded the Cleveland Institute of Music in 1920. Bloch was naturalized in 1924, and served as the director of the Cleveland Institute until 1925. He was director of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music from 1925 to 1930.
Bloch's compositions included works on Jewish themes, such as Trois Poémes Juifs (1913); Israel (1916); Schelomo (1916); Baal Shem (1923); and Avodath Hakodesh (1933).
He built a beautiful home on the shore at Agate Beach, a picturesque spot on the Oregon Coast which helped to inspire some of his last works including his Symphony In E Flat, Proclamation For Trumpet and Orchestra and his fifth (and final) String Quartet.
Bloch's other works included Hiver-Printemps (1905); Macbeth (1910); Suite for Viola and Piano (1919); Quintet for Piano and Strings (1923); America (1926); Suite Symphonique (1944); and Scherzo Fantasque (1948).
Today his memory is carried on through the Ernest Bloch Music Festival which is held annually in July.
Yaquina Head Lighthouse
Standing 93-foot-tall, Yaquina Head
is the tallest of the Oregon
lighthouses, and stands 162 feet above sea level.
1872, and first illuminated on August 20, 1873, it is the
active lighthouse on the Oregon Coast, and is still maintained
Coast Guard, its automated beacon serving as an aid to maritime
and to identify the entrance to Yaquina Bay.
A single oil flame was originally the source of the lighthouse beacon. In the mid-1930s, the power source was changed to electricity. When the lighthouse was first illuminated, the beacon was fixed, but was changed to a flashing pattern called a signature, unique to each lighthouse. At Yaquina Head Lighthouse, this pattern is two seconds on, two seconds off, two seconds on, 14 off, and then it repeats. The light is visible 19 miles at sea.
The era of the lighthouse keeper at Yaquina Head ended in 1966, when the lighthouse became fully automated. Although the Coast Guard continues to use Yaquina Head Lighthouse as an aid to navigation and maintains the operation of the light, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has assumed all other maintenance duties.
Nearby is Eternus, a sculpture by Mark Sponenburgh of Seal Rock, a memorial to local fishermen lost at sea.
Yaquina Head is a wildlife sanctuary and home to a number of species of birds, harbor seals and sea life living in the area's many tidepools. It is also one of the region's designated whalewatching sites and provides an excellent place to view the annual migration of the gray whale.
Chapter 20: Yaquina Bay
The first vessel to enter Yaquina Bay
the Calamet, in the year 1856, guided by the able hand of Capt.
V. Tichenor, and being ladened with supplies for 2nd Lt. Philip
for the garrison at Siletz
Blockhouse. Later, the craft made several voyages to
with Indian goods for Robert Metcalfe, then the agent at Siletz.
It was in the year 1856 too, that the first journey to the bay district from the Willamette Valley was made, the excursion being undertaken by Edwin A. Abbey, Thomas J. Right, Eldridge Hartless and R. M. Mose. The doctor established the Indian agency and it was in quest of his official position that he, with his companions, had undertaken a journey through a trackless region of endless forest. The only vestige of a road was that being then cut under the supervision of Lt. Sheridan to lead over the mountains from the Internment to civilization. Following the Indian trails, the party reached Yaquina Bay about two miles from its mouth. But the bay was a lonely sheet of water: not a single inhabitant on its shores and not a house in the region.
In 1864, Capt. Richard Hillyer (1818-? NY), with the schooner Cornelius Terry, owned by Ludlow & Company of San Francisco, entered Yaquina Bay for the purpose of gathering oysters, the discovery of which had been previously made by Capt. William Valentine Spencer, of Shoalwater Bay.
Not long after, another San Francisco firm commenced the oyster business. Capt. James J. Winant (1838-1895) arrived with the schooner Anna G. Doyle, running between Shoalwater Bay, Oysterville, Washington, and San Francisco.
There are few names indelibly connected with the history of Yaquina Bay than J. J. Winant (1838-1895), who was born in upstate New York, April 12, 1838.
In the fall of 1856 he followed his brother Mark to California where they began dealing in oysters in San Francisco Bay; they were the real pioneers of the oyster trade on the Pacific Coast.
Winant was master of vessels on the Pacific Coast for nearly a third of a century. He traded pearls in the South Pacific and hunted walrus and whales along the shore of Alaska, the Aleutian Islands, and the Coast of Siberia.
A salvage voyage to the coast of Mexico, where he explored the sunken ship City of San Francisco and recovered $23,000 of her treasure, was the climax of his legendary career. In 1862 or 1863, the Winant brothers began the oyster trade on Yaquina Bay.
In June 1882, Winant married Amy A. Peck in Alameda County, California. They had one child, Anita.
The community bearing the captain's name was located at Oysterville Station on the Corvallis & Eastern Railway, about two miles due south of Yaquina City, on the north bank of Yaquina River.
Winant post office was established November 17, 1902, with Emma Leabo first postmaster. The office closed to Yaquina City November 30, 1946.
The government found that by the terms of the treaty setting out the Coast Reservation that "all amenities arising there from" belonged to the Indians, and the agent at Siletz, Judge Benjamin Simpson was authorized to lease the oyster beds and protect the leasees. Ludlow & Company, relying on the "free right of all citizens to take fish in American waters," refused to lease, but Winant & Company were more cautious: they leased the entire affair taken. Under orders of Brig. Gen. Benjamin Alvord, the employees of Ludlow & Company were arrested by US soldiers and removed from the reservation. Suit was brought and an injunction issued out of the supreme court; but while this was pending, Ludlow & Company shipped several cargoes of oysters to San Francisco. The courts decided in favor of the government leasees and the military were again used for the protection of Winant & Company.
The oyster business attracted considerable attention from the company from Corvallis to the head of Yaquina Bay, at the confluence of the Elk and Yaquina rivers, the subscribed capital being $20,000. The road was duly constructed and opened to wagons in 1866, the distance being 45 miles. People were anxious to settle the country; the pressures became strong. The Indian Department readily conceded the people’s claim, and the US senator, James W. Nesmith, succeeded in having all that portion of the Coast Reservation lying between the Alsea River south, and Cape Foulweather north of Yaquina Bay, opened to settlement.
On the night of January 8, 1866, Royal A. Bensell, George R. Meggison and Josiah S. Copeland located the first claim on Yaquina Bay. By the aid of a poor candle stuck into a poorer lantern the metes and bounds of the land were stated, on which the Premier (the first) steam sawmill was built.
These gentlemen had a hankering after town sites and remembering that Portland "got the start" by being located where the "ships and wagons could meet," naturally looked upon the head of navigation, now Elk City, as the point. Well do these gentlemen remember the chilly east wind, the gray of extremely frosty mornings, the melancholy chant of four Indians paddling the canoe and their own satisfaction in believing themselves to be a little ahead of anyone else. Muffled up and seated in the bow of the canoe, they laid off in Alnascher-like dreams the town site in wide streets, planted umbageous trees under those spreading boughs met youth, beauty and fashion, and making commendable provisions for parks and fountains—for theirs was a liberal mood. Then came the eagerly looked-for time when they should land and proclaim themselves "monarchs of all they surveyed." In reaching the top bank our party found a man dressed—or rather undressed—for he was clothed in naught but a pistol and belt—who was trying to kindle a fire, evidently having just arrived. To the question, "How long have you been here?" "Long enough to hold the ground," was the reply.
Finding the fellow's further conversation to be more forcible than elegant, our heroes concluded that town sites were poor property, anyhow, and retraced their steps to the canoe.
At this period intense excitement prevailed throughout the entire Yaquina country. Every man appeared to be the possessor of a valuable secret. People were to be encouraged moving up and down and across the river. A boom raged. ":A" walked into Coquille John's hut, on Coquille Point (43° 06' 52"), informed "L" with the untutored mind that the land now belonged to the non-indian, hustled the Indian out and he seated himself on a soap box by the fire. In less than an hour "B" arrived on the scene, and gave "A" $80 for his chance. "A" pocketed the money, jumped into his canoe, and quickly had another claim where he notified all comers, "On this day I have took the present site of Newport."
In a little while those from the Willamette Valley began to arrive; all became mad with excitement; claims changed hands rapidly; money was plentiful; speculators ran riot.
The first schoolhouse was built on the land of William Graham; while the initial house of learning at the bay was located on South Beach and taught by Thomas J. Griggs. The first schooner was built by Peck & Company, and named the Oneatta, by Kellogg Brothers, but the first steamer to ply on Yaquina Bay was the Pioneer, in charge of George Kellogg, MD. The first sermon was preached by elder Gilmore Callison of Lane County, his audience being seated on the driftwood opposite the present site of Newport. Here was held the first grand celebration of the 4th of July in Benton County. The Declaration of Independence was read by Judge Richard Williams; judges F. A. Chenoweth (1819-199) and John Kelsey each delivered an oration. These gentlemen were very anxious to please the "sovereigns" of Yaquina Bay, who, in those days, held the balance of political powerful people and the time had arrived, and judge John Kelsey, is said, was nervous and anxious to begin exercises all of youthful conceit," says Rialto, "I had taken a position to be admired by the populace, when Judge John Kelsey came up excitedly, and said, 'Man, Jerusalem, get your bell or drum, and made noise, don't you see!' It was evident that some practical joker had informed the learned judge it was my business to post bills and ring bells on all public occasions."
First Settlers on Yaquina Bay
The first actual settler in the
precinct was Capt. W. V. Spencer, who, about the year 1861, came
coast with an Indian guide and discovered the oyster beds which
made Yaquina Bay famous.
In 1863, Capt. Solomon Dodge, a native of Maine, located in what is now Oysterville, as the agent of Winant & Company, one of the first firms to enter the commercial oyster trade on the Pacific Coast.
One of the best known and best liked oyster men of the early days on Yaquina Bay, Capt. Dodge was drowned on April 15, 1870, when the schooner Champion, from Astoria, was wrecked on the bar while entering Shoalwater Bay.
In 1864 came William H. "Butch" Hammond (1832-1893) and others arrived.
Feb. 19, 1864, R. A Bensell wrote in his Journal:
Rains. [Wm. S.] Dunn and [Wm. H.] Hammond in for oysters for the ball using government mules for that purpose. Two little squaws come in, packed with oysters. I weighed a bag; contained 91 pounds. They carry this weight for "ick dolla" [one dollar].
In 1866, under the provisions of the
of Congress mentioned above, Bensell took up his claim on Depot
others being taken up by R. P. Earnhart, G. R. Meggison, Samuel
Capt. Richard Hillyer, the two last being on the land now
City of Newport.
About the same time Capt. Kellogg located on the site of the former Pioneer, and put the first steamboat on Yaquina Bay; while in 1866 there were residing in the precinct M. Livingston (1800-? VA) with his daughter and two sons, messrs. Post, Carter, McClellan, Rufus McLean, Thomas Russell (1819-1894), and Frederick Olsson.
Capt. John Olsson was born in Guttenberg, Sweden, March 20, 1838. In 1852, he went to sea and followed the seafaring life for 15 years. Arriving in San Francisco, he came with Capt. J. J. Winant to Yaquina Bay, and was involved in the oyster trade until 1864. In 1866, he located 112 acres on the north side of Yaquina Bay, known as Olssonville. In 1882, he had his estate divided, placing part as an addition to the City of Newport and the balance to a town he started known as Fredericksburg—and probably named for Frederick Olsson—which was then one of the most desire able location on the bay.
In 1867, Peter M. Abbey (1837-1916) and family arrived at Yaquina Bay.
Abbey, who was born in Cleveland, Ohio on August 19, 1937, moved to California.
After a short stay, he moved to Oregon, first locating in Corvallis.
One year later, he moved to Newport on Yaquina Bay and engaged in merchandising until 1870, when he built the Bay View House, which was at the time one of the best hotels in Oregon.
That same year, Joseph Polley, William Cox and family, a man by the name of Norton, Thomas Ferr (1839-1917) and Henry P. Butler (1826-1893), took up claim in the Yaquina Bay region. Butler was the first to start plowing near the community of Pioneer.
The first merchandise store on Yaquina Bay, was opened at Oysterville in 1864 by Winant & Company, while the first school was opened in 1867 under the tuition of T. J. Griggs.
On January 5, 1866, there was introduced into the Senate by James W. Nesmith (1820-1885), the bill granting to the State of Oregon to aid in the construction of a military road from Corvallis to Yaquina Bay, alternate sections of non-occupied public lands, designated by odd numbers, for three sections in width on each side of the highway. This work was to be undertaken by the Corvallis & Yaquina Bay Wagon Road Company, incorporated in the year 1864, but that they had not made any great progress in the work is evident from the fact that at a meeting held at Monroe's Landing, Yaquina Bay, April 16, to take into consideration the matter of the road then being built to the Seaside, it was unanimously resolved that a committee of two from each voting precinct be appointed to solicit aid from any citizen in the county in preference to employing Indians from Siletz Agency on the work and providing them with food while so employed, it being deemed by the settlers along the route that it was not in their power to comply with the stipulation agreed to in respect to the employing of Indians. The company continued their labors until May 25, 1871, when it sold its land and franchise to Col. Thomas Egenton Hogg, of San Francisco, and transferred its effects May 13. The first meeting of the new company was held on June 5, when the choice was made of Joseph C. Avery, superintendent; P. Avery, secretary, at which time orders for the continuance and repair of the road was given, and the levy of tolls stopped. In June 1873, the entire distance between Corvallis and the beach at Yaquina Bay was completed after five years being expanded upon the shore being do county and private subscription. But this was not effected without considerable difficulties of various kinds. During the month of September 1873, the corporation figured in two appeal cases, viz: the Corvallis & Yaquina Bay Wagon Road Company vs. Christopher Rogers, and the same against Elijah Mulkey, which was taken before the Secretary of the Interior, Judge C. Delano, from the decision of the commissioner of the General Land Office, at Washington DC in relation to certain lands between Corvallis and Yaquina Bay, which the former officer reversed. This was considered an important decision, not only on account of the two cases on appeal being settled, but also it quited title to other land claims by the road company under their grant for the construction of a military road. But the company served its purpose. In the case of the State of Oregon vs. the Corvallis & Yaquina Bay Wagon Road Company, which was taken to Linn County on a change of venue and tried there in March 1875, Judge Benjamin F. Bohanan rendered a verdict annulling the charter and dissolving the corporation.
We have been informed that the first stage line from Corvallis was run by Edwin Alden Abbey. On May 19, 1866, a stage was put on the route by Simeon Bethers, which left Corvallis every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, while in the month of July a four-horse vehicle was run by Lytle & Bethers, making the trip each way in 12 hours. Frank Stanton's express was in full blast also at this time, but so ruinous was the opposition of the rival lines that they wisely consolidated their powers, August 22, 1866.
Notwithstanding the many comparative dangers on the road, but one serious accident had occurred that we have been able to learn.
On September 6, 1874, as the stage containing Ms. P. M. Abbey, the R. G. Heads, their three children, and Cyrus Powers, the driver, was passing a point known as the Devil's Well, on the summit of Elk Mountain, owning to the narrowness of the road, it careened, and before the team could be stopped, went over into the fearful abyss, down the almost vertical mountain slide, the vehicle striking completely bottom upwards, Ms. Head, her three children and her spouse being inside. The cover was forcibly detached by the concussion and left lying there where it struck, but the conveyance and horses pitched down the mountain side about 100 feet, finally lodging on some underbrush. Cerina Abbey and the driver were on the "box," the former being thrown violently to the ground. The driver became entangled with the team, and was carried down the hill. Ms. Head, and her youngest child were hurled down the mountain, tumbling over and over, as far as the wagon went, where they were overtaken by the spouse and father, who escaped uninjured, and immediately rushed to their assistance. The other two children were rescued by Cerina Abbey, and prevented from going down the fearful chasm. The horses were extricated from the harness, when the back, being forced from them, continued its downward flight and plunged fully 100 feet farther into the forge. Darkness overtaking the party, they walked to Elk City, offering up thanks to the Almighty that no life was lost nor bones broken. It is hard to conceive a more miraculous escape.
In those days, the residents at Yaquina Bay paid ten cents for each letter received and sent by stage, but through the exertion of Senator Henry W. Corbett, a mail route was established between Corvallis and Newport in June 1868, when post offices were located by Judge Quincy A. Brooks, postal agent, at the following places: Philomath (Hemptonstalls), Little Elk (Toll Gate), Yaquina (Pioneer), Newton (Elk City), Toledo (Mackey's Point) and Newport.
We have elsewhere mentioned the discovery of coal in the Yaquina Bay District. In the month of August 1887, the Yaquina Coal Company was organized by electing Dr. Sharples, president; Dr. Lee, secretary; Mr. Jones, superintendent, who at once commenced a vigorous prosecution of the work necessary to develop the richness of their possessions. Another company was also incorporated about the same period under the name of the Big Elk River Coal Company by William F. Dixon, William W. Oglesby and J. J. Oglesby, but unhappily, so far, the work of bringing the black diamonds from the bowels of the earth has not been prosecuted with any success. On February 29, 1868, mssers. Bensell and Meggison became proprietors of the Premier Sawmills, with the purpose of shipping lumber direct to San Francisco.
We have already stated that the first sailing craft built at Yaquina Bay was the Flora Maybell. In 1868, mssers. Hillyer and Monroe commenced the construction of the Louisa Simpson, which was successfully launched January 17, 1869, and on the February 16 following, sailed for San Francisco with 100,000 board feet of lumber and other freight, besides a number of passengers. In the year of 1870, the three-masted schooner Elnora, of 200 tons, was built by Ben Simpson, and in 1874, was sold to parties in San Francisco for $10,000, while at the same time there was another vessel nearly completed. In 1879, Capt. Albert H. Lutjens finished a schooner at the Oneatta Mills, to be put on the lumber trade, while as has been mentioned two small steamers have been constructed at Yaquina Bay, all of which goes to prove that here is an industry capable of the widest extension.
The first vessel to be lost at Yaquina Bay was the Larry Doyle... late in 1873, the John Hunter became a total wreck on the beach; on February 6, 1876, the Lizzie, a small schooner built at Alsea Bay by Titus & Lee, was wrecked on South Beach, while attempting to put to sea with a cargo of oysters, in command of Capt. J. J. Winant, to whom no blame was attached. On April 5 of the same year, the Caroline Medeau was lost; while in the early portion of the same month, the Uncle Sam was cast ashore among the rocks and breakers a few miles north of Cape Foulweather.
Mystery of the Uncle Sam 1876
One day in early 1976, a ship's hull
washed up on Siletz Indian Reservation land in a rocky cove
Foulweather. The hull yielded no clues for identifying the
it had no name plate, no log book, no papers or identifying
was, however, a body on board: a lone sailor who had strange
on his stomach. Indian Agent Bagley had the body buried near the
site just beyond the reach of high tides.
When word of the wreck reached Newport, George W. Stevens, a seasoned sailor, and John Jessup (1818-1879 OH) were dispatched to investigate the scene. The hull showed no signs of damage. Because both of the ship's masts were broken off, Stevens and Jessup concluded the ship must have rolled while at sea and failed to right herself. Although they were unable to find any indicators of the vessel's identity, the two men concluded it was built of Pacific Coast timber.
Yaquina Bay oysterman Capt. J. J. Winant, and a few others felt the wreck must be that of the Uncle Sam, an 80-foot, 113-ton schooner that had left Wilmington, CA, in late January or early February bound for Coos Bay. Winant, who probably had seen the Uncle Sam in this extensive travels up and down the coast, sent a detailed description of the wreck to San Francisco. When B. H. Madison read Winant's description, he knew it was the Uncle Sam, which he owned along with four other men. After Winant sent them a piece of its rather unique style hemp rigging (originally from a man-of-war), the ship's identity was confirmed and the owners received $6,200 from their insurance company.
While the circumstances of the wreck will never be known, there is a plausible theory. On February 7, 1876, a violent storm hit the Oregon Coast. It is believed turbulent seas rolled the Uncle Sam, and Capt. H. Hopkins and his crew drowned before they could escape.
The exact site of the wreck's landing is also a mystery. A modern guide to shipwrecks places it at Cape Foulweather. Accounts of the day describe the wreck as "about 20 miles north of Cape Foulweather" and somewhere south of the Siletz River and north of Newport. Part of the confusion probably lies in the fact that in the 1880s, Yaquina Bay was often referred to as Foulweather Bay.
One possible site could be Depoe Bay. In 1935, Dr. Fred W. Vincent claimed that he and his grandfather first visited what later became known as Depoe Bay in 1878. When they entered the bay, they said, they found "anchor chains of a sea-going craft, two headlights and the letters US." They named the bay Wreckers Cove.
One eyewitness account written just a year after the wreck describes its remains as "a few beach-worn round timbers." Like the cause of the wreck, the site of its landing may elude historians forever.
Cape Foulweather Lighthouse
Photo Courtesy of Julie Hendricks
By the wreck of the schooner Champion
Shoalwater Bay, Washington Territory (1853-1889), on the evening
14, 1870, when all on board, save an Indian boy, perished, the
around Yaquina Bay lost one of its most prominent citizens in
of Capt. Solomon Dodge, who with his son perished on the
Capt. Dodge was a native of Maine. He commanded several vessels at different times on the Atlantic side, and some 12 years before he met his death, left his family to try his fortune on the Pacific Coast. He was at Shoalwater Bay engaged in the oyster trade for several years, but adversity seemed to follow him. In 1864, he came to Yaquina Bay where he became connected with Winant & Company, for three years was successful. Those who visited Yaquina Bay at that time will remember the hospitality of Capt. Dodge; full of information concerning the "hollow sounding and mysterious main;" ever ready with his boats; he was always acceptable company, and no assemblage was considered complete without his presence. His extreme generosity went far to create the necessity for following the sea, a calling he never liked, and one he tried hard to avoid. He carried with him on that perilous voyage, Willie Carson, a manly little fellow, the captain's adopted child; they loved each other and none but the Almighty knows how nobly the captain struggled to save that widow's son. Dodge, like every truly "brave" man, was not inclined to speak of his exploits; usually taciturn on such subjects, he left others to tell of his calmness in the presence of danger. It is related to him on one occasion, on a vessel off this coast, when the water was gaining on the pumps and the passengers panic stricken, he, by example, coolness and threats encouraged the use of buckets and by this means the ship was worked safely to port, and thus a number of valuable lives were saved. Many men for less courageous services have been rewarded with goodly-sized volumes descriptive of their valor—let this record be our simple tribute to his memory. His noble qualities sank down into the bosom of the mighty deep along with him as he passed from this world of trouble to that of peace eternal, leaving an estimable widow to whom the most heartfelt condolence was suffered by an entire community.
Forest Fire on Yaquina Bay
During the early part of the month of September 1868, an extensive forest fire raged in the mountains around Yaquina Bay, the smoke of which was so intensely dense that the residents were compelled to light candles in order to facilitate the taking of food at noon-day. A large amount of damage was sustained. The dwellings of B. F. Jones, I. C. Espy, W. J. Dennis, E. Stone, H. C. Hutes, as well as Long's Landing were consumed, while fences, hay and rails were destroyed in vast quantities. The Premier Sawmill was at one time completely surrounded by the devouring element, while great pieces of lighted bark were carried fully three-quarters of a mile, igniting the lumber yard anything that was combustible. Day and night were of equal darkness; the steamer Pioneer was unable to navigate her way through the dense smoke; while, probably, at no time since the "Great Fire" had there been so extensive destruction as was then caused.
Oyster Protective Association Formed 1869
The value of the oyster trade at Yaquina Bay had been already adverted to, but as it was suffering in the month of March 1869, for the oystermen to form themselves into a protective association for the better preservation of the beds. As a means of securing greater benefits to the public, the following officers and members were enrolled to carry out the purposes of the association: Newton Poole, president; Joseph B. Lewis, secretary; William McCaffrey, treasurer; Norman McCullen, Charles G. Hagmer, William H. Anderson, Christian Baker, John E. Ford, W. Baker, Celestine Jaguan, R. Starkey, James Brown, Thomas Ferr.
In 1877, Wallis Nash met Thomas Ferr, an Italian apiarist on Yaquina Bay:
We were glad to make friends with an
settler on the borders of Yaquina Bay. As we sailed up the bay
he came out to meet us in his canoe from the mouth of a little
with a bright-eyed, four-year-old son in the bow of his boat.
On the slope above stood a clean white frame-house, with quite a large clearing in front, between the house and the bay. The fallen trunks of the great firs were smoking here and there, the fires that were burning them up requiring frequent tending. A vigorous young orchard of peach, apple, and plum trees showed two or three years' growth at one side, and a garden full of vegetables on the other side of the house testified to the industry of the one pair of hands which kept all in order.
There was a row of between 30 and 40 wooden beehives under a long boarded over cover, at right with the house, their inhabitants filling the air with a familiar humming.
The owner welcomed us ashore, and with great pride ushered us into his parlour, built, ceiled, walled, and floored with cedar planks and boards, showing a grain and surface an English cabinetmaker would have admired.
The furniture was likewise homemade. No one but a sailor could have been master of so many trades, and this proved to have been our friend's original calling. He had come out about eight years before from Italy; had spent a year or two at the salmon fishery in the Columbia, among many of his compatriots. He had then fancied a season's work at farming, had fallen in love with and married a pretty and well-educated half-breed girl [Jane Craigie Ferr], and had chosen a location and settled down.
He told us that he too was contented and happy; that he could sell at a good price all the vegetables and all the honey he could raise; and that fruit of all kinds, even peaches, grew and ripened well. His honey brought him, in the comb, about 25 cents a pound. His stock of bees were the produce of two hives about five years ago. He had schemed out and made his "bar frame" hives, he told us, from his own ideas; certainly we saw none like them in Oregon. He moved fearlessly about among his bees, lifting out a frame here and one there, to show us the state of working.
We now have to record the sad
of the drowning at Oysterville, but the capsizing of his boat,
18, 1878, of Capt. Charles M. Nissan, master of the schooner
Only a few days before he had come into the harbor with his ship
full of gratitude for his providential safety. He was 26 years
a native of Denmark.
Another of these melancholy catastrophes that makes the sea so dreaded occurred at Yaquina Bay, April 7, 1881. While attempting to enter the harbor Cpt. Joseph A. Pennell, commanding the government tug General A. G. Wright, with two seamen, was drowned under the following painful circumstances, as related by the Corvallis Gazette April 15:
Early on Thursday a vessel was seen off Cape Foulweather, which at first was supposed to be the schooner Kate & Ann. She came down passing between the outer and shore line breakers, whistled for a pilot, from which She was believed to be the government tug General A. G. Wright, as Capt. A. H. Lutjens would not need a pilot; the vessel sailed south, opposite the entrance, to a drifted buoy, about three fourths of a mile south of the bay, one that had been reported to the lighthouse inspectors being in a dangerous position. By this movement it became plain the captain of the vessel was unacquainted with the place and its surroundings. After escaping destruction in the vicinity of that snare buoy, the steamer headed north, seemingly to examine the bar, from which the land showed a wide, unbroken space of smooth water in the middle of the old channel; I say old, for it is the channel that has been used for the past 20 years; it was well defined by breakers to the south and heavy breakers on the middle ground, with smaller breakers to the north and over the ground buoyed for the Shubrick last year. Here the boat attempted to enter—the climax of rashness followed. The first breaker lifted the frail boat like a top; the next turned it completely over, three men were now seen clinging to it; soon one man was missing! This was the unfortunate captain! Now the spectators on shore see breaker after breaker roll with merciless force over the tiny bark, while at one time two men could be seen holding to it; at another, both were missing, and again but one. It was a terrible sight; women wept and strong men became paralyzed. Nothing but a life boat could do any good in such a sea. Two Indians, however, stimulated by a reward, tried to get out, and they did well—but all the men had gone, save one, and he drifted into comparatively smooth water. This person was saved by Thomas W. (1861-? IA) and Zenas C. Davis (1861-1907 OR), who found him clutching with a death grip to the stern of the boat, perfectly unconscious and almost dead. On recovering he told his story. He said that the steamer was the General A. G. Wright; the captain's name was J. A. Pennell, and the two lost were C. Winnemark and Augustus McGuire, that they had in the small boat (about 16 feet long and very frail) three kegs and three anchors, with which the captain intended buoying a route for his vessel; it was thought by him that Winnemark must have caught in the rope and anchors, as he was never seen after the boat upset.
Newport is the principle town of
Bay and precinct and is situated immediately inside the entrance
north side of Yaquina Bay. There in 1866, a reservation of one
was made for a government town site, but after a great deal of
and years of delay it was relinquished to the former claimant,
in March 1875.
As early as July 1866, there were several buildings being erected in Newport, among them being a large hotel by James R. Bayley and Samuel Case, who foresaw in the town the future Saratoga of the Northwest, while B. R. Biddle was erecting a fine residence for himself.
The City of Newport was incorporated, October 23, 1882, with the following officials: Alonzo Case, president; W. H. Hammond, Henry Hulse, R. M. Burch, William Neal, city council; W. S. Hufford, recorder; R. F. Collamore, marshall; George P. Walling, treasurer. The officers serving during the current term, 1884-1885, are: J. R. Bayley, president; W. H. Hammond, W. Neal, C. Burch, council, W. S. Hufford, recorder, James Graves, marshall; George E. Bentley, treasurer.
Newport is a town of about 250 inhabitants, having two hotels, the Ocean House and Bay View, four general stores, one hardware store, a newspaper, the Yaquina Post, a meat market, a restaurant, a brewery, five saloons, two barbers and three public halls, while it comprises all the social attributes of societies, lodges, etc.
The Fourth of July 1866, will long be remembered as a day in the little City of Newport. In pursuance of previous notice, preparations were made at or near the Ocean House on North Beach, at Yaquina Harbor, to celebrate the 19th anniversary of the national independence.
At 5am the steamer Pioneer left its moorings at Pioneer City with about 75 persons on board and proceeded taking on passengers. On arrival at North Beach, they were loudly cheered by the crowd assembled. The stars and stripes waved from the masts of the various crafts on Yaquina Bay, while the day was delightful and all seemed pleased.
Here and there were assembled 400 persons to celebrate the glorious birthday of American independence. On that date 90 years before, the nation emerged from British oppression and came forth as an enthralled government and people, acknowledging allegiance to no power but that of god and the sovereign people as a republic. But a few months had passed since this new district had been opened for settlement, and on that anniversary were assembled nearly 400 non-indian settlers, besides about 300 Indians, who had come to witness the, to them, new and strange procedure of the "Bostons."
A tall pole was erected at the beautiful spruce grove near the Ocean House and this stately staff stood ready to receive a handsome American flag to be presented by the women of Corvallis to Yaquina precinct, the banner precinct of Benton County.
At 11am the crowd gathered to the speaker's stand, where informal proceedings commenced and David Newsome was chosen secretary of the meeting. Prayer was then offered by the Rev. N. Clark, after which singing, interspersed with mssers. J. R. Bayley, B. R. Biddle, N. Clark and S. Dodge, whose addresses teemed with loyalty, patriotism and eloquence.
The flag was next presented by B. R. Biddle with appropriate remarks, and received on the part of the people of Yaquina by the hand of Ms. Thorn, who made a touching response. The ensign was then raised to its proud height amid three cheers for the donors and nine more for the national colors. The Declaration of Independence was read, and at noon 350 celebrants enjoyed an excellent dinner, while the following toast by the secretary was received with the utmost enthusiasm:
Benton County: The bright and rising star of Oregon and with one hand extending westward along its superior Yaquina Bay to the almost boundless Pacific Ocean, it invites the commerce of Asia and California to the bay. And from the head of tide it reaches forth its arm along a natural line or route for railroad eastward to connect the great artery of our nation—the Pacific Railroad. May it ever be in the ascendant!
At about 3pm the gentlemen who owned
on the lower harbor agreed to a mutual arrangement by which the
settlers there should avail themselves of the US by law of July
in relation to town sites on the public lands. The name of
given to the town site and what was then designated as "The Gem
San Francisco of Oregon" established.
At 4pm, the people retired, and all will long remember the celebration of the Fourth of July 1886, on Yaquina Bay.
The residents of Yaquina Bay, realizing the importance of their harbor and the beneficial results of direct and frequent communications with San Francisco, during the month of November 1869, resolved to be no longer dependent on outside capitalists. A joint stock company was therefore formed and articles of incorporation filed, under the name of Newport Transportation Company, who determined to build a schooner immediately, while others might be added as business increased and trade demanded. The officers and directors, as follows, were elected December 6th: B. Simpson, R. A. Bensell, and W. Mackey, directors; B. Simpson, president; R. A. Bensell, secretary; L. P. Baldwin, treasurer.
Anne Jane Brooks Remembers Newport 1886
The small boat moved swiftly across
of Yaquina Bay. Peering out over the top of what few family
there were, sat little Anne Jane Brooks. With excitement in her
watched the broad expanse of Yaquina Bay and the tall firs that
the hills when she and her family, along with others, would make
new home at the colony.
That was the year 1886 and Anne Jane Brooks was then only two years old. Yet today, Anne Brooks is the only person left to recall their arrival to this land, and one of the few people to know anything at all about the mysterious and now unknown religious colony they sought to establish.
Who were these people? Where did they come from? And what were they going to do in this “untamed wilderness” of (then) Benton County? It is perhaps the greatest unsolved mystery in Lincoln County! The Brooks family: Louis Kossuth Brooks, his wife Mary Miller Brooks, and daughters Anne Jane and Ada (or Addie) left their home near Foster, Oregon and came with a small band of people to the Yaquina Bay country to start a new and better life.
Looking back up the river that eventful day, Anne could see the mountains to the east that they had left just a short time before.
Soon it would become only a hazy memory, but right now the pictures of the old life were still vivid: Their home at the grist mill in the mountains and their beloved horses, Dick and Mike, which had been sold along with their home and land to raise money for their new adventure. These she would recall all of her life.
She could remember, too, the tall bearded man with the thick glasses who spoke to her father for long hours. Only later would she realize the changes in her life that his influence made.
The trip across the bay was coupled with the excitement of bargemen carrying families, wagons and very modern, crated farm machinery. Anne recalled years later, that they swam a fine team of horses up the river and slough.
Within a two year period, they carved a clearing into the heavy timber in a quiet peaceful valley on the south side of the bay, where Wright Creek goes into Poole Slough.
The families built a large two story colony house, started a school for their children and probably established a post office, possibly under the name "Ona."
Times were difficult. Many of the men were unused to this type of labor. The land was unsuited to the type of machinery they had brought; and the type of farming they had planned to do.
Suddenly, the money was gone, food reduced to bran bread and fish, dissension developed and the group floundered.
The Brooks family was the first to leave, but others soon followed.
Their home, land and mill sold, their money lost in the colony, and that adventure a failure, the Brooks family moved to Toledo where Brooks became Prof. Brooks, principal of the school and teacher of many Toledoites. There the family lived for nearly ten years, from about 1888 to September of 1889.
The Lincoln County Leader of that time are full of news items about the family.
In 1896, the Brooks family, along with their relatives the B. F. Jones family, went camping in Newport. A year later, Ms. B. F. Jones and Ms. L. K. Brooks published a card of thanks in the paper, thanking friends and neighbors for sympathy at the death of their father.
Prof. Brooks started a sabbath school in the old house in Toledo in 1897, and attended teachers' institutes with Ira Wade (1875-1940), Charles B. Crosno, Effie Crosno, D. J. Chitwood, Ms. Unicy Aiken and others.
He was also the examiner who gave prospective educators their qualifying tests. Among some of these were Ms. Gibbs of Storrs, Ms. Reynolds of Waldport, Ms. Eva Ewing, J. J. Turnidge of Toledo, George McCluskey and his sister, Mamie McCluskey Litchfield and Brooks' daughter, Ada.
Finally in 1898, the Brooks family moved to Yakima, Washington, where his brother-in-law had a small academy. He taught there until the relative received an offer to teach at Puget Sound College and the academy closed. Brooks also purchased some land in the Yakima Valley and became an orchardman. He died in 1927, apparently leaving no written record of his unfortunate days on Poole Slough.
The idea of the colony was not Brooks'. Two men are credited with its origin, but it is not known for sure which one actually planned the venture.
Wilson White, also referred to only as the Rev. White, was credited by some as being head of the mysterious colony.
Little is known about his part in the colony, but after it broke up, they were one of the families who remained on the slough, at least until the year 1896.
Most probably, they originator of the colony was a man called Prof. Lambert, whose story is even more interesting than that of L. K. Brooks.
Charles Edward Lambert was born in Ireland in Lambert Castle, Connemarra, Galloway. He came to the United States by way of the Virgin Islands and once in this country he joined the northern Army in Kansas. After the civil car he graduated from Northwestern University and the Methodist Garrett Biblical Institute, later preaching around Evanston, Illinois. He came West in 1879, accepting the presidency of Willamette University in Salem, and then in 1882 joining the staff of the University of Oregon, Eugene.
According to Lambert's daughter, Alice Elinor Lambert, he was an innovator and a missionary spirit, spending some seven years in Lincoln County at Yaquina. She recalled that he was first a teacher of boys at a school seven miles east of Yaquina called the Big House.
Later, they apparently moved closer to Yaquina where they conducted school in a railroad boxcar.
His daughter added that he flung away his life in the charming and cloistered City of Eugene,
took a little band of followers to the wilds of Oregon, started schools, churches, homesteads, cooperative a wild, free, out-of-doors life... for seven years. This was up a narrow slough back of Yaquina, Oregon. In this he was as always, far before his time.
Later, Lambert became president of a small town academy in a rural section backed by forest land, where, his daughter wrote that he
attempted to teach reforestation, animal husbandry and agricultural classes.
Lambert left Lincoln County sometime
the turn of the century and moved to Seattle City. Records there
for Lambert as early as 1904 until his death in a veteran's
1932 at the age of 89. Apparently, he too, left no written
in the colony.
On July 8, 2008, Noel V.
Editor of the Skagit River
"I don't know how many people
write you and
thank you for your research into historic folk, but in your
re: Oregon History, you did me a great favor (maybe a Mitzvah,
might say?) when you shared the story of Charles Lambert. When I
read your description of him, I was only a bit aware of his
was writing a story about his daughter, Alice Elinor Lambert,
to nearly 100 up here and whose unpublished work I am
write to you today because I just transferred the story of Alice
new domain today, because 91 years today, the love of her life,
Thomson, died mysteriously in Canada and has since become the
famous landscape artist of Canada. They had a love affair in
Seattle, where she had moved before her folks did. All in all,
just as interesting a life as her father's and of Thomson. I
for pointing me in the right direction. Isn't that what all good
Newport's Grand Past
Newport spreads across a blunt ridged
between the Pacific Ocean and Yaquina Bay. Though the first
in 1855, it was several years before there was a village here.
Newport, located on the north shore of Yaquina Bay, post office was established July 2, 1868, with Samuel Case serving as first postmaster. This was the first post office on Yaquina Bay, and one of the first in what was later to become Lincoln County.
The town, probably named for Newport, Rhode, Island, was incorporated November 4, 1882. The council's first action, as recorded in the minutes of its inaugural meeting that day, was consideration and adoption of Ordnance Number 1, Article I, of which read as follows:
No person shall be permitted to sell spirituous liquors within the corporate limits of said city in less quantities than one quart without having obtained a license from the city council for that purpose.
This action was apparently an
because a year earlier, in 1881, Robert Schwaibold established
Schwaibold, who was born in Wurtenburg, Germany, January 7, 1842, migrated to the US in 1869, and lived in Cleveland, Ohio for a time.
He then moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where he lived until he moved to Yaquina Bay and established the brewery where he reportedly manufactured an "excellent quality" of beer.
According to Wisconsin historian Joyce McKay, as best exemplified by Milwaukee's Capt. Frederick Pabst (1836-1904), brewing is a German tradition.
The Wisconsin brewing industry first
in the Milwaukee area. It was and continued to be associated
settlements which not only brewed the beer but consumed the
Small breweries were founded in many communities [across the country] as German settlement pushed West in the 1840s and 1850s through the 1880s. Because beer did not transport well, each concern served only its local community and those adjacent to it.
In addition to the presence of a large German population, factors favoring the location of the early brewing establishments in any one area included availability of barley to produce the salt and hops, a fresh water supply, and access to a large and dependable supply of natural ice.
These small breweries occupied simple, two to three story, frame or brick, gable roof buildings. Because brewing depended on a gravity process, the buildings of small concerns tended to appear tall and narrow. The main building contained the brewing kettles and malting facilities. Several sheds stored the needed supplies and transportation facilities necessary to deliver beer stored in barrels. Until the introduction of refrigeration in the 1890s, these breweries required cooling caves in the sides of hills or in deep cellars for the fermentation process.
As breweries expanded their operation, they added to their existing plant large and heavy pieces of equipment such as vats, tanks, boilers, and elevators and housed them in new iron and steel reinforced, brick buildings. Separate functions acquired a separate building: the brew house, malting house, the malting kiln, bottling plant, offices, storage elevators and other storage sheds, the fermenting cellars or caves, stables, repair shops, power houses, and shipping areas.
In these buildings, the barley was soaked in heated vats and spread over the stone or cement floor of the malt house to germinate. This process was completed mechanically at the end of the 19th Century. Then, the green malt was dried in a malt kiln, usually a smoke drying kiln and later a hot air drying kiln.
Traders and fishermen were the first
Then the people of the Willamette Valley discovered it to be a
resort area and the Ocean House, built in 1866, and the Abbey
Fountain House, opened in 1871—all facing Yaquina Bay—began to
who would take the five-day coastal voyage to San Francisco as a
Others engaged in the clam-digging and crabbing that still
This section remains the commercial center of town, which
the 1890s when Yaquina Bay ships carried away the products
the range from the Willamette Valley on the old Oregon Pacific
In 1873, the trip from Corvallis took from early morning till dusk at night by stage—drawn by four horses, and changed at noon for a fresh double team—which bumped and climbed over the 49 miles to Elk City where the mail boat waited for the 25-mile trip down the river and bay to Newport; leaving the next morning on the first of the ebb tide. Twelve miles down, the boat stopped at Toledo, then at Oneatta, and finally at Newport, at a rickety wharf in front of Bay View Hotel, latter renamed The Abbey.
At the other end of town was Ocean House, owned by Mary and Sam Case, which is the Coast Guard Station now.
Sam Case (1831-1904) was born in Lubec, Washington County, Maine, May 31, 1831.
Downtown Newport, Oregon 1912
After graduating from East Maine Conference
College of Buckport, Case was employed as a teacher. On
1853, taking the Nicaragua route, Case departed for California,
mined and taught school for four years.
In 1857, Case visited his home in Maine, returning to California the following year.
In April 1861, he enlisted in Company D, 4th Infantry California Volunteers, and came with that regiment to Oregon as orderly sergeant for his company. He was discharged in November 1864.
Following his military service, Case was employed as superintendent of farming on the Alsea Reservation for four years.
In 1866, he moved to Yaquina Bay and located the land on which the City of Newport now stands.
Sam Case Elementary School in Newport is named for him.
According to Portrait and Biographical Record of 1904, Mary Craigie Case (1848-1933) was
...proprietor of the Ocean House at Newport, Oregon, which is famous for miles around, and has a commanding view over the bar end and far out to sea. ...[She] ran the resort after her husband died in 1897. Sam Case had built the health resort, which was a two-story building with 25 rooms on eight acres, on Yaquina Bay in the late 1860s and early 1870s. A mother of six, Case was a native of Boise City, Idaho, and the daughter of a Scotsman who emigrated to the US when he was 21 and helped build the fort at Boise City. Case was a faithful attendant and active member of the Episcopal church, and was among the most businesslike and popular women in Newport.
In between were four saloons, a store,
which was a hall used for dances, political meetings, and—more
services whenever a minister of the Gospel happened along. Near
path up the hill to the beach of land occupied by the Ocean
a building quite imposing when compared to the rest of the town.
Lucy Blue wrote that at that time the property was owned jointly by Sam Case and James R. Bayley, the latter a physician in Corvallis.
They also owned the whole town site of
except the few lots that had been sold and built upon along the
the space of two blocks.
The town site was laid out by Case in 1873 and named by him for Newport, Rhode Island, where he lived at one time. The Ocean House was also named for the famous old hotel of that name at the eastern resort.
Bayley, who was born in Clark County,
in 1918, began his medical studies in 1841, and graduated from
College in 1884. He practiced medicine for four years in
before relocating in Cincinnati, where he enjoyed a successful
for seven years.
In 1852, Bayley married Elizabeth Harpole of Green County, Ohio. The couple moved to Oregon in 1855, first locating in Polk County. In 1857, Bayley moved to Corvallis where he opened an office in connection with his pharmaceutical business. He was a member of the Territorial Council in 1856 and again in 1857. He was elected Benton County judge on two occasions. Bayley was also a state senator from Benton County in 1866 and again in 1868, and was appointed Supervisor of Internal Revenue in 1869, an office he held until 1873.
Afterwards, he devoted himself to his medical practice in Corvallis, Newport and the Yaquina Bay region, where he spent his summers and owned valuable property. The Bayleys also owned a beautiful home in Corvallis.
Bayley was a 32nd degree Mason and grand high priest and grand master of the Masonic jurisdiction of Oregon and had been a prominent Odd Fellow.
About 1885, the railroad came to Yaquina City, then the ferry went from Yaquina City to Newport, and valley residents began coming to Newport for the summer.
For the Fourth of July, 1885, the Oregon Pacific Railroad announced the first of its grand excursions from Corvallis to the coast.
At 7am on the morning of the Fourth, the trip started with the Little Corvallis heading a train of flatcars each of which had been fitted with railings and plank benches running lengthwise. About 70 passengers climbed aboard for the adventure, and they were not disappointed.
In the spring, weeds flourished in Oregon, and since the tunnel had burned, few trains had run over the track. Between the ties and the rails, the weeds grew waist high and the Little Corvallis had trouble bucking its way through them. The sun poured down, and a light breeze swept the cars, yet the passengers did not complain.
At the burned-out tunnel, everyone unloaded and walked over the road around the blockade to take another train waiting on the far side; a train like the first, with benches on flatcars, but drawn by one of the heavier Rogers engines. Still all went merrily, the only disaster coming when vice-president Wallis Nash had his hat blown off.
At Yaquina City, a band tootled welcome, and the excursionists scrambled onto steamboats for the trip to Newport. The editor of the Corvallis Gazette exclaimed that
Amid the noise and confusion, the whistling of opposition boats and the sight of the ocean steamer Yaquina might easily imagine himself on the San Francisco docks.
Daily round trips were made from Albany
to Yaquina City, and then by the old tug Newport on to the
In winter, if the bay was rough, passengers sat in the engine
one ever seemed to get seasick. The arrival on the Bayfront was
by a band—Elizabeth Schollenburg (1851-1938) of the Grand Rooms;
G. Gilmore (1877-1929) from the Gilmore Hotel on Nye Beach, and
ballyhooing for their hotels, each trying to drown out the
Front-page news in 1957 was the purchase of the Gilmore Hotel in Newport by Donald L. Young of Portland from Cecile Gilmore (1883-1962), owner and proprietor since 1920—37 years.
Gilmore bought the hotel with her husband, Peter, in 1920. They operated the hotel together until 1929, when Peter Gilmore passed away. Cecile Gilmore then became the sole proprietor of the hotel.
The couple moved to the area in 1915 and started a dry goods store, which they then sold. They lived on a five-acre tract for a short time before buying the hotel in 1920, which was described as a "landmark for many years on that section of the coast."
The hotel stood on the site of the present-day Sylvia Beach Hotel in Nye Beach. Gilmore, who is buried alongside her husband at Eureka Cemetery in Newport, retired from active business after selling her hotel.
In the dining room of The Abbey on the Bayfront was a big round dining table that would seat 20 to 25 people. It was in the middle of the room loaded with big platters of cracked crab and buckets of steamed clams, with drawn butter, lemon and catsup for dunking. There were finger bowls, out of which Margaret Peterson and her sister drank, much to the embarrassment of her grandparents.
Scullery Maid at the Abbey 1927
On August 11, 1927, and interesting
with the peculiar title, "Student Has Unusual Experience" ran in
Lincoln County Leader newspaper. The article was based on an
from an English class by Verna Habenicht, a college student
from Montana. Habenicht told her unexpected, real-life learning
in Newport on the previous Fourth of July weekend.
On a lark, Habenicht decided to treat herself to a restful weekend on th coast. She apparently was taking summer classes at Oregon Agricultural College (now Oregon State University).
Much to her surprise, she ended up learning about the workings of a hotel kitchen and a little bit about the ways of the world. She had no time to rest.
She first realized her weekend plans for relaxation had gone awry as she rode the ferry from Yaquina to Newport. She overheard somebody say, "If you haven't made a reservation you'd better be prepared to hang yourself up on a nail tonight. For there aren't any rooms to be had, and if you find one, they'd hold you up for it."
With no reservation or definite plans, Habenicht walked into the Abbey Hotel and asked if the staff needed any extra help. She was offered a temporary position as a "scullery maid." Today this job is more commonly known as a dishwasher. She had a waitress position in mind but accepted anyway. As Habenicht toured the kitchen, she observed four women who
...were at work at various tasks, and over in the alleyways between an enormously long range and an equally long table were the cook, a Chinaman and his helper, a sulky boy.
Habenicht further wrote that she was
... rather aghast at first at the thought of working with a Chinese cook. For once in a moving picture I saw a Chinese cook run amok and, brandishing a huge carving knife, chased his helper out of the kitchen.
Despite her initial fears, her weekend
turned out to be a positive one. In fact, Habenicht may have
with something she probably carried with her for a long white:
long days were the most novel Fourth of July holiday I ever had,
came away with a wholesome respect for the knowledge, skill,
and physical and mental agility of the Chinese cook, Wong, and a
for his good nature in dealing with a very green helper."
As the college student discovered, some of life's lessons cannot be learned in textbooks and lectures. The curriculum of the school of life can be as enlightening as it is unpredictable.
Later, Peterson's father, Vivian Cartwright, and his mother had the Bon Bon Confectionery on Front Street.
Some time between 1900 and 1908, Vivian Cartwright, Richard Chatterton and Jack Fogarty, father of Frances Burdett, decided Newport should have electricity, so they built three windmills on the sandhills, and hooked up the necessary machinery to generate current. Newport then had lights from 7am to 10pm. Newport could also have a movie with electricity. The movie house was lighted by carbide lamps to the electricity could be used to run the movie machine. The single feature movies were shown about where Mark's Market Basket is now.
From 1962 to 1984, on the location of what is now the Circle K, was a market well-known to locals as Mark’s Market Basket. It's proprietor, Mark Collson, first started a grocery store on the Bayfront in a building across the street from what is now the public dock at the Abbey Street Pier. Before he took over in 1952, it was called Ernie's Market. Collson, whose son was mayor of Newport in the 1990s, operated at the Circle K location until 1984. Mark's Market Basket also included what is now Rickert Gallery.
On January 1, 1908, there was a disastrous fire on the Bayfront, burning from about Mark's Market Basket to the corner at Fall Street.
John Fleming Wilson (1877-1922), the author of numerous books, lived here for about three years after his marriage in 1907. Mariner, schoolteacher, and newspaper reporter, he was able to leave $90,000 earned by writing stories and novels, some of which were based on material gathered in the Yaquina Bay district.
"Lover's Lane," also called Zig-Zag, commenced down the road from the Coast Guard Station, wound up the bank through the most beautiful rhodies, ferns and wild flowers to the top of the hill to the Midway Theater, which was "uptown" in those days, where the Newport post office (now Gateway Cafe) was located.
The biggest attraction was the arrival of the mail. It came in about 5pm and the line was way up the sidewalk waiting for the distribution.
At the present location of Log Cabin Court was Log Cabin Inn, with a beautiful garden, small stream and tiny bridge. Special parties were held there. On the Fourth of July, the building and garden were lit by Japanese lanterns and the best homemade ice-cream and cookies were served.
Behind the City Hall was a tennis court, and long before that there was a lake in front of Bateman's Funeral Home and back of the City Hall.
Ranger Plan to Colonize Alaska 1924
In 1924, S. E. Ranger of Newport
a plan to colonize Alaska. The proposal was submitted to
(1882-1945) in 1934, and was carried by executive order in 1935,
government sent many families to Alaska for rehabilitation.
In addition to his plan to colonize Alaska, Ranger, who maintained an office in Toledo, was author of five articles on cost accounting, published in The Timberman, and was for many years a proponent of the enactment of legislation governing the auditing practices of municipalities, also creating other public accounting reforms, and he aided various governors in brings about laws pertaining to accounting.
Ranger, the son of Laura Anna Schooley and William John Ranger, was born in Atlantic, Iowa, January 19, 1890. He attended schools in Iowa and Oregon, and took accounting and business courses through La Salle Extension University.
In 1904, Ranger began his career in sawmills. From 1906 to 1909, he was foreman of the Gazelle Box Company in California. From 1911 to 1912, he was assistant superintendent of Fruit Growers Supply Company in Hilt, California.
On November 8, 1917, he married Irma Ruth Wills of Portland, and the couple had two daughters, Ruth Julianne Edge and Jeanne Marie Bradshaw.
From 1920 to 1921, Ranger was cashier for Swift and Company in Los Angeles. From 1922 to 1923, he was cost accountant for Miller Box Company of Los Angeles, where he exposed a loss of $10,000 a year in one department. In 1927, Ranger moved to Oregon, where he was assistant manager and office manager for Albany Door Company until 1933. He was Linn County auditor from 1930 to 1935, and industrial engineer for C. D. Johnson Lumber Company from 1941.
Ranger served as Newport city councilman from 1940 to 1946, and was secretary-treasurer of Lincoln Hospital in Toledo in 1941.
Behind the City Hall was a tennis court, and long before that there was a lake in front of Bateman's Funeral Home and back of the City Hall.
At the southern edge of Newport, the Coast Highway passes through a landscaped park, then crosses the Yaquina Bay Bridge, a graceful cantilever structure, completed in 1936. The bridge deck, rising to 138 feet above the channel water, is high enough to permit the passage of ocean-going craft.
After the completion of the bridge, the "top of the hill" and along the highway became the main part of town. The tourists came and went overnight, and didn't come to stay the months of July and August in the old days.
Then the "top of the hill" and along the highway became the main part of town. The tourists came and went overnight, and didn't come to stay the months of July and August in the old days.
The Lincoln County Historical Society (LCHS) has been preserving historic moments since 1948, when it for Yaquina Bay Lighthouse from demolition. Thanks to the Society's research and restoration efforts, the lighthouse was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. A thriving membership has kept the LCHS growing. Today the LCHS operates two full museums, maintains an extensive collection of artifacts and offers a fully equipped research library to the public. The Burrows House and Log Cabin museums (located at 545 9th Street, Newport) showcase the historic moments that have shaped Lincoln County. Professionally designed exhibits tell of the area's Native American traditions; the birth of a prosperous logging industry with the coming of WWI; the explosion of tourism with the completion of Roosevelt Military Highway; the evolution of the country's maritime industry. Because only a fraction of the Society's collection can be displayed at one time, exhibits are constantly changing. The Society's artifacts are preserved in climate-controlled conditions monitored by staff trained in museum science. Because of its expert collections management, the Society has been chosen to house nationally recognized traveling exhibits. Thousands of historic photographs, news clippings, maps and other documents are available to the public for research in the Burrows House. Society staff members help everyone from scholars to schoolchildren research towns, homes, families and heirlooms.
Newport is now primarily a resort with a somewhat Victorian appearance in the older areas. Shell-fishing gives it some commercial importance. Crabs, clams, and oysters—the latter artificially planted to renew the supply—are shipped inland. Oystering is done in flat-bottomed boats with the aid of long-handled tongs.
Nye Beach, one of the oldest and
communities on the Oregon Coast, was once a separate community.
Nye (1832-1911) was one of the earliest settlers at Yaquina Bay.
a homestead along the beach and was instrumental in the
the area. His property is now occupied by motels and houses
beach in front of Newport. Since the late 1800s, people have
to this favored place to seek solace in and alongside the
J. T. Nye was one of the earliest settlers at Yaquina Bay. He took up a homestead along the beach and was instrumental in the development of the area. His property is now occupied by motels and houses facing the beach in front of Newport.
Nye was just 13 years old when his father, Michael Nye, died in 1844. John became an apprentice tailor, presumably to help support the family.
He continued working in this trade in his home state of Ohio until 1859, when he crossed the plains with a team of oxen. At Pikes Peak, County, he opted to turn around and retrace his steps to Atchison, Kansas. During his second attempt on the trail, he stopped in Salt lake City, Utah, where he traded his oxen for horses.
Completing the trip without major incident, Nye spent the winter of 1860 in Corvallis. The following spring he left for the Rock Creek mines in British Columbia. He spent a few months mining before returning to Corvallis, where he remained for about six months before enlisting in the Union Army as a tailor in Company A, First Oregon Volunteers. In his 19 months of service, he was stationed at Fort Vancouver, Fort Yamhill and Camp Polk.
After being mustered out of the service in 1863, he returned to Corvallis to work as a general store clerk for nearly two years. He also worked on the construction of what eventually became Highway 20.
In 1865, Nye headed west and took out a claim on the land we know today as Nye Beach. His cabin sat at the present-day intersection of Brook and Third streets. Nye's obituary states this was the second house to be built in Newport. Apparently he did some mining in Nye Creek, which ran right next to his cabin.
According to a biographical sketch written on Nye in 1904, he was a fulltime resident of Nye Beach for must 19 months while he "proved up" on his claim Nye retained ownership of his claim, however, until 1880, when he sold it "at a large profit" to developer Sam Irvin.
In 1871, Nye traveled to Indiana to marry Olive Kist, a native of Ohio. When Nye platted Nye Beach, renamed Olive Street for her. When the newly weds returned from Indiana, they settled down in Corvallis, where they remained for about three years.
In 1874, the Nyes returned to this area when they took up another 160-acre homestead, this time east of Newport, near the present-day intersection of Fruitvale Road and Highway 20. Together John and Olive farmed their land and raised eight children. John Nye spent the rest of his days on his Fruitvale ranch. He died in 1911.
Olive Kist Nye (1849-1936) lived out her days on the nearby farm owned by her son, Andrew. Frail and aging, she seldom made a trip to Newport. On a rare visit in 1925, she returned to the site of the Nye cabin. She told a newspaper reporter, "While the city is very nice... you have no idea what a beautiful sight this little valley was in the old days." Olive Kist Nye died in 1936 at age 87.
In 1893, Fall Street was completed. It was then a wood plank road which covered the area from the Bayfront to Nye Beach. At this time, Nye Beach and Bayfront were separate communities, each with its own identity.263 This walkway was replaced by a road two years later as Newport began to grow. In 1975, Wave Leslie Belt and Margaret Peterson wrote that
there were plank roads laid by the government engineer who was building Cape Foulweather Lighthouse. One went over the hill to Nye Beach where supplies for the lighthouse were taken to Jump-Off Joe and along the beach to Agate Beach and Yaquina Head Lighthouse. Nye Beach was one old tumbled-down shanty marking the ground that had been taken some years ago by one Johnny Nye, and abandoned for a claim further inland that was more of a success as a farm.
Most of the cottages were built in the
years between 1910 and 1930. Wives and children would spend the
in the cottages: their husbands and fathers joining them on
In 1902, Dr. Henry J. Minthorn of Newberg, uncle of Pres. Herbert C. Hoover (1874-1964), built a sanitarium with hot sea water baths just north of what is now the Sylvia Beach Hotel. He donated the land for the public bathhouse, now the Yaquina Art Center, which was financed and built by the Nye Beach Association in 1913.
Belt and Peterson commented that in the evenings a crowd of young people
gathered at the skating rink or at the Nye Beach Natatorium where there was a swimming and dance hall. There were bathhouses on the beach at Nye Beach at the turn-around, before the "Nat" was built. People went in these, changed to swimming clothes, went bathing in the surf, came out, washed off the sand in the bath house, dressed, and went on their way.
Lucille Hubbard Swims for Nat Pass 1926
An era of social change and boundless
perhaps best describes the essence of the 1920s. The social
this era encouraged many women to publicly disprove the
were the "weaker sex."
Women such as aviator Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) stepped into the spotlight to demonstrate women were indeed capable of feats normally associated with men. In 1926, American-born Gertrude Ederle (1906-?) became the first woman to swim the English Channel. She beat the world record for this swim by nearly two hours in this amazing display of physical strength and stamina.
The year after Ederle's historic swim a local version of this stunt was sponsored by the Newport Chamber of Commerce. They offered a gold metal to anyone who could swim from Yaquina City downriver to Newport a distance of roughly three miles.
The Newport Natatorium sweetened the pot considerably when the offered a ticket good for ten swims at their famous Nye Beach salt water swimming pool. Before this time there was no record of anyone ever making this swim.
Lucille Hubbard, a teacher at Theil Creek School, was apparently the only one to step forward to take on the challenge. Just a few months earlier she completed her very first long distance salt water swim—across the Yaquina Bay from Newport to South Beach.
On May 1, 1927, Hubbard readied herself on the cock at Yaquina Bay. To ward off hypothermia during the swim, her body was covered with grease that had been donated by Dixon's Grocery Store. At 1pm, a half-hour after the tides turned, she jumped into the frigid waters of Yaquina Bay. The event's organizing committee Charles Bradshaw, Frank Sheffield and C. V. Jordan followed along by boat, acting as judges and escort.
Hubbard found herself swimming with an outgoing tide but against a strong wind. As wind increased it began to produce white caps, onlookers lost all hope she could possibly finish the swim.
Although the white caps were unrelenting for most of her swim, Hubbard refused to give up. The ferry landing on the Bayfront had been designated as the official end of the swim, but as she approached the finish a strong current carried her downriver to Allen's Restaurant. One hour and thirty minutes after jumping into the water at Yaquina the committee declared Hubbard a winner and helped her out of the water. It is not known how long she waited before she started using her Natatorium swim pass.
While her swim was certainly not on the same magnitude as Gertrude Ederle's historic swim across the English Channel, Lucille Hubbard did her part at dispelling the "weaker sex" perception at the local level.
Nye Beach became a literary center for the study of the sciences, especially geology, biology and botany. Students could attend summer college classes in a specially built auditorium. One of the most popular spots on the coast was the Natatorium, a large building with an indoor pool located at the foot of Beach Drive, the site of the present pedestrian plaza at the turnaround overlooking the ocean. The "Nat" had a dance floor and over the years also featured bowling, boxing matches, miniature golf and movies. Newport's first movie theater was just up the street. Today, as a century ago, this colorful seaside community provides the same charm and beauty in a warm, friendly village of shops, services, guest accommodations, restaurants and art galleries.
Frank Lloyd Wrong
For decades it was accepted as fact
world-renowned architect Frank
Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) was a part of Lincoln
Now it seems certain there are no examples of Wright's genius in
The story of Lincoln County's F. L. Wright urban legend itself
In 1936, two practically identical school buildings were constructed by the Lincoln County School district. Each was built for about $35,000. Both were very attractive with simple yet dignified lines. Their design was fairly typical of 1930s school buildings. For at least the last two decades, word circulated they were designed by F. L. Wright, who pioneered the "prairie" style of architecture that included strong horizontal lines, hipped, low-pitched roofs and internal spaces that were open and unlike anything the world had seen before. Wright was an innovator who dared to express himself and his creations by using natural surroundings and materials including screen walls and reinforced concrete.
There is no doubt that F. L. Wright can be called the greatest 20th-Century US architect, and the world gasped when he unveiled many of his one-of-a-kind creations.
The Newport version of this building was dedicated in February 1936. This building faced the newly constructed route of US-101. Known as Central Elementary, it remained a grade school until its closure in 1975. It has been a multiple-use building known as the Naterlin Community Center ever since its 1977 rededication.
Newport's Naterlin Center Named for State Senator
Dorothy M. Schroth Naterlin
born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was a resident of Newport since
and her husband Andrew J. Naterlin were married November 25,
A. J. Naterlin, the son of Ellen Story and N. Antone Naterlin, was born in Oregon City, September, 29, 1899. After attending public schools in Oregon City, Andrew studied law the University of Oregon and the University of Idaho.
In 1911, at the age of 12, Andrew began work as an office boy. By 1924, he was a fish buyer, and in 1928 he was promoted to manager of Newport Fish Company, a position he held until 1934. In 1933, Andrew was executive secretary of the Commercial Fisheries Association of Oregon, and from 1935 to 1938, he was manager of New England Fish Company and vice-president of Lincoln County Fish and the Game Protective Association. He served as president of Newport City Council in 1939, and mayor of Newport until 1947. Andrew was president of the Newport Chamber of Commerce in 1930, and served as its director in 1931, 1936, and 1938. He was chairman of Lincoln County PUD and director of the ƒs Club in 1937. A Roman Catholic, Andrew was chairman of the board of directors, and was nominated Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus in 1927.
Dorothy taught school at Newport and at Lobster Creek in Lincoln County in the 1920s, and served as Collector of Customs at the Port of Newport for 14 years. She assisted Andrew in the insurance business, and also served as his legislative secretary for the 12 years that he was state senator. Through an accident which claimed one eye, and then having contracted glaucoma in the other, Andrew Naterlin was blind, and Dorothy had to make what she called "adjustments." "I was teaching school; Andrew had graduated in law and was about to take the state bar examination. He lost his sight and his profitable fish business at the same time, in the Depression. He never took the bar examination, and I was glad to leave my teaching job to work beside him. We worked it out together," she said in an Oregon Journal article in 1957. Naterlin was deeply involved in the Catholic church all her live. She died in 1973 in Newport, after an extended illness.
Toledo Junior High School
The Toledo version of this building
S. E. 10th Street. It also was completed in 1936. At the time of
by fire in 1979, it was Toledo Junior High School.
Exactly when the design of the two buildings was first attributed to F. L. Wright is a mystery. Some longtime Toledo residents who attended school there seem to recall a school newspaper story or a yearbook article, but it has yet to surface.
So far the first known printed version of the Wright connection legend appears in the late Evelyn Parry's 1983 book, Pictorial Toledo, Oregon. In his book One Hundred Years in Lincoln County, Oregon, the late Ray Moe states that Newport's Central Elementary School "was built according to plans which won F. L. Wright a first place in a contest concerning grade school buildings." Steve Wyatt, Curator of the Oregon Coast History Center, also perpetuated this story.
A survey of local newspaper accounts from the time of the two buildings' planning and construction in the 1930s leave no doubt that both were designed by Portland architect Francis M. Stokes (1883-1975). Whether Stokes had a connection to F. L. Wright is not known. The design of more than 100 school buildings in Oregon and Washington have been attributed to Stokes. In addition to being prolific, Stokes was very versatile, having used a wide variety of design styles.
The F. L. Wright myth was disproved a second time when an inquiry was sent to the F. L. Wright School of Architecture and Archives by Newport City Recorder Pat Bearden. Margo Stipe, a representative of the Wright school and archives, wrote back that the buildings were not designed by the famous architect. Apparently the Lincoln County School buildings were not the first to be falsely attributed to Wright.
Stipe concluded in her letter, "I always wonder how the stories of a Wright connection begin. It is amazing how many communities have them!"
Olssonville Near Newport, Oregon
I’m jotting these things down because
daughter Ailsa is determined to keep me busy, she must have
and liked the stories when she was a little girl. Anyway, all of
incidents are true and relate to many people still living, so
at your own risk, as I shall deny them if I choose.
There were two seasons of the year for me. Summer meant Yaquina Bay, a welcoming old cottage, picnics, swimming, excitement, adventures, much family and many relatives, mild mysteries, and always the background sound of the Pacific Ocean between the north and south jetties at the bar.
Winter was Christmas with mistletoe and holly and secrets, always secrets, with usually family discussions and surreptitious rustling of tissue paper. The whole house was redolent with the odors of spices, vanilla, molasses and peppermint, while my bother Lawrence "dipped" his chocolate creams in the pantry.
My mother and my brother Mac took a buggy trip with Duke, my father's black Hambletonian trotter, into the frosty hills and returned with huge bunches of mistletoe big as a washtub!
Naturally Santa brought the Christmas tree. It was there when we flew out of bed on Christmas morning. It rose to the ceiling trimmed with our beloved old ornaments and always a few new ones. Our familiar paper chains were there, and cornucopias bursting with sugared fruit and beautiful hard candies, and always squares of Ghiardelli's semi-sweet black chocolate. (One Christmas Santa had not had time to finish a red outing flannel kimono for my favorite doll, so he had left it on The piano with a threaded needle taking a last stitch. Talk of magic!) But after a massive dinner, the beautiful day was gone too soon.
Summer went on forever, and then we came home to the excitement of school, cute kittens grown into rangy cats, dried up lawns, and fired fall flowers. The day that Mama, Aunt Florence, Togo, and I left for the beach was planned weeks ahead, when a mammoth round topped old trunk came down from the attic. Leaving Salem for Newport by train, there was a stopover in Albany. Here we ate a fattening and delicious lunch and then took the train for the cool coast. Of course we had the excitement of getting my dog into the baggage car as it was shunted about. Togo was just a black and tan, but he was really groomed. Named for a Japanese admiral, since The Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) was still on, the dog was smart, smooth, and satiny, but unfortunately had a gay, plumy tail. By carefully clipping, I hoped the world might accept him as a bulldog. I've had many highly bred and loving dogs since, but none ever exceeded my love for that nondescript fellow. I'm sure that all were relieved to get him in that baggage car for Newport and stop my fussing.
Colonel Hofer's Cottage at Olssonville 1904
Olssonville was located up Yaquina
from Newport approximately in the area of where the Embarcadero
is now located.
The community was the site of a blockhouse established by Lt. Philip H. Sheridan in 1856. Sheridan selected the only suitable spot for the little fort but found the site covered with hundreds of burial canoes. After mediation the Indians suddenly agreed to the removal of the canoes, but refused to take them away themselves. At high tide, Sheridan's soldiers launched the strange flotilla and the canoes, each bearing its dead, drifted slowly out toward the sunset with the receding waters.
Olsson Creek flows south through Newport into Yaquina Bay. Early maps show both Olsson's Addition and Olssonville near the mouth but the entire area is now part of Newport.
Our little rented cottage at Olssonville on Yaquina Bay was waiting for us, a fire in the wood stove and the kettle boiling. It was an amazingly cozy little house, delightful and decidedly different. An interior designers would have gone mad with frustration or envy. But all agreed it was fun and functional. With a porch three feet from the sidewalk, summer tourists would pass exclaiming, "How quaint, how cute! Did you see the wallpapers? Oh Mama, I like those beds!" Alice, my friend, and I would be inside giggling.
Ms. Olsson painted the woodwork white each spring. She would assemble wallpaper odds and ends and paper the livingroom in may be 20 different patterns: roses, wreaths, pastoral scenes. She loved her flowers.
There was a sofa in a carpet-like material of roses, a white painted drop-leaf table holding a shining kerosene lamp, my aged goldfish in their glass bowl, a huge jar of dahlias.
A spool bed and a four poster were in this room, but covered with blue patterned flounced spreads, and so high from The floor that Alice and I could play dolls there or listen quietly to bits of news not meant for our ears. The beds had rope laced across the frame for springs and ticks filled with sun dried hay and clover. These served as mattresses and were two feet thick when we arrived, but down to normal size when we reluctantly went home in the fall.
A large Boston rocker, rather like Edna's, a flat little trunk and a round topped trunk completed the furnishings. The top of the big trunk was up with a curtain across that part, a tray covered the lower contents with glued on colored pictures of little girls beside huge black Newfoundland dogs or little boys sailing boats.
From the sofa, in a big window, one could always watch the activity on Yaquina Bay and see far out to the always audible bar and the ocean.
It was easy to go to sleep in that room as my mother creamed her face nightly and brushed her stunning white hair 100 times. She always kept the habit.
Our kitchen was entirely papered each spring with new newspapers. We had a washboard on a stand with a bucket of cold water on the four-lidded iron stove. Strangely, we always seemed to be extremely clean, but of course most of us were in the Bay several hours each day, tides permitting.
One year, Ms. Olsson had tacked a newspaper on sideways above the washbasin. It took me all summer, with my head held sideways, to absorb details of a particularly ghastly wreck off the coast of Portugal.
There was an old-fashioned "pie-safe" with eight punched tin panels reading "Women's Wrights 1873" in its sides and doors. A white painted dropped leaf table with four chairs with woven rawhide bottoms, coal oil lamps bracketed on the walls of both rooms and a generous wood box took care of heat and light. The wood box was included in the $5 a month rent, but the boys had to keep it filled.
Ms. Olsson also made great delicious loaves of bread with which she showered us, but when we learned that she had put it to rise in her son Oscar's bed, we didn’t seem to care for it any more, even if Oscar had been named for the king of Sweden.
She also had a choice garden of tiny peas, young beets with tender tops, green beans, melt-in-your-mouth carrots and hills of new pink potatoes.
Sweetbreads Fit for a Cat
The Olssons were incensed if we did not use at least three huge dishpans of vegetables three times a week. With no electricity of course we had nothing but fresh food. One of my mother's three old pet bachelors sold us his brown eggs. If the cows, which ran at large, happened to come home by the beach, their milk just might possibly have a faintly salty taste from seaweed. But with fillets of fresh fish and crab and clams, just for the fun of getting them, we did eat very well. Father usually broiled his meat, but the butcher refused to charge him for sweetbreads and kidneys declaring they were only fit for cats!
Olsson's Addition on Yaquina Bay
We went to Yaquina Bay originally because my father, Colonel Hofer, was apparently dying of typhoid fever. This was during the Spanish-American War of 1898. My parents had a horrid old house at first, up above where we later had our little cottage. Then we met Capt. John A. Olsson. He had bought two acres on the Bayfront and had built a white two-storied gabled house with copper eaves troughs to last forever. There was also a barn, property sidewalks, and a deep well of cold, delicious water. As a sort of afterthought, he did this two-roomed little house to rent at $5 a month.
Captain Olsson's Outhouse a "Collector's Item"
Also, he had a delightful "collector's item"
an outhouse. It was in a setting of old-fashioned brownish
double poppies as big as teacups; there was honeysuckle on the
it was whitewashed every single year, inside and out, with
for two adults and a child. Equipped with a Sears Roebuck and
Ward catalog, and with a frieze of the tops of Dixie Queen Plug
cans just under the eaves, it was an enticing spot. The tops of
tins showed a beautiful, bosomy brunette under a velvet picture
a pale-blue ostrich plume going completely around the crown.
I learned what I know about astronomy by walking with my mother down the walk at night after eating too many green apples. I was instructed about "light years" later, but all I really know about the heavens, the Big Dipper, Orion's Belt, and the Little Dipper, I learned on those midnight walks. The stars were so very bright and close and there always seemed to be light from Yaquina Bay; It did not seem to be a horrendous experience at all.
Sovereign of the Seas
I never really saw Captain Olsson do any work. In the fall, he rowed to Yaquina City and brought home 100 pounds each of flour and sugar. On Sundays, he always put up the flagpole in his own yard. Dressed in a blue suit with brass buttons, he sat in our livingroom on a trunk, with pipe in his hand, could not be hurried, and told us of his life as a sailor on the Sovereign of the Seas. This was one of the four fastest clippers. He told of racing the other clippers into Boston. He had us wide-eyed, telling us fascinating bloody stories of how the pirates of the Yangtze River swarmed up the sides of his ship on New Years Eve believing the crew to be drunk. He called it "grog." They cut off the pirates' hands when they reached the gunnels. This is true; this condition did exist, I’ve heard from other sources.
Ms. Olsson's Stuffed Humming Birds Very Dead
The Olsson's home was something else.
was a parlor with a porch facing the bay. Ms. Olson, a tiny
the proud possessor of a big, black horsehair sofa with two
same material; a wall-to-wall carpet of pink and red roses
floor. Under a domed floss on a marble-topped table existed 12
humming birds, very dead. I tried not to slip off the horsehair
because it pricked me through my black satin bloomers. Two
photographs of the Olssons faced me sternly from either side of
door. There was a stereopticon set complete with photographs of
Falls beside the humming birds. Viewed objects seemed to have
The kitchen with an immaculately scrubbed white pine floor, was dominated by a great black stove. A huge coffee pot simmered all day long there. And from the kitchen one could see the hall filled with domed trunks and great chests with linens and hand-woven articles Ms. Olsson had brought from Sweden where she had worked in one of the great houses.
And if we had not written for the cottage by the first of June, we received a letter from the captain asking when we were coming and reminding us that the rent was $5 a month.
Three Inches of Storm Door in the Rear
Life was not always perfect, of course. We young folks went barefooted whenever possible, so all had trouble with slivers. I had the most grief of all. At the end of summer, before we left for home, the boys had to collect the storm doors and windows to prepare for winter at the bay cottage. They put them all together on a slope and waxed them with candles. We were all told to slide down them on an old rug. I decided to use my much hated black satin bloomers and skip the rug. I did, and landed at the bottom with a stout three inches of storm door embedded in my rear! One could easily pinch up the flesh and see the sliver! There really wasn't a doctor to be reached. One physician alone, Dr. Henry J. Minthorn, (186-1922) took care of the entire area as far south as Waldport. There were no telephones, of course. I did not want to go back to Salem. My mother tried all the “Old Wives” remedies. The sliver wouldn’t budge. After several days I went swimming and played Run Sheep Run and I simply forgot about it. But when I have any sort of surgery in the hospital, I feel I should warn someone of the unexpected.
Raging Rival Burns Bungalow
One extremely pleasant memory lingers.
was a deserted orchard a mile behind and up in the hills from
Embarcadero. The tale persisted that very long ago, a young
cleared about ten acres of land and built a house and planted a
orchard there. Being extremely romantic, they decided they would
sea captain marry them, so they went out one lovely day beyond
mile limit" and were married. But the jealous rival burned the
they were gone, and so they left the bay area forever.
To get to this really lovely spot, one walked a quarter of a mile over grassy hills, then through still, shady firs for at least a half a mile. Here the fir needles lay on the path like a brown wall-to-wall carpet. We were all rather subdued during this stretch, and the dogs stayed close at our heels. We were very conscious of the muffled boom of the waves on the Bar. We talked very little. Then, the path led up through fern or "brakes" so high that they met above our heads. Back into the sunlight we came to an old fragile, grey stile which led like steps to the top of a split rail fence and over and down it to the other side.
The orchard was really complete though all the trees were extremely old and mossy and in need of pruning. Pears, plums, and a huge chestnut tree with a great spread, pie trees, and the most satisfyingly sweet apples which I've ever tasted were there. We really didn't care much about lunch. We'd just bite into one of those amazingly sweet apples and the juice would actually spurt.
Years later Laurence and I spent a whole beautiful warm July afternoon looking for the way to that orchard, sure that we could find it. We never did. We never saw anyone in the orchard or as we came or went, at any time. Maybe it never was, just one of our many mysteries.
Our father spent one whole month with us each summer. No phone calls, he was there to stay. Such fun with his picnics and his trips with one of the boys, either down the coast to Florence or north to Taft. Driving Duke they would take off for almost a week with a side of bacon, bread, butter, and coffee and sort of live off the land. Always a farm to buy milk or eggs and discuss the world situation! Or we'd go off across Yaquina Bay early in the morning to spear the big Dungeness (we didn't call them that then) crabs, and I would pick up little necked clams, returning home with enough seafood for the whole neighborhood.
My brothers Mac and Laurence came to the bay after we were settled. They drove my mother's horse Duke over from Salem, taking two days to cover the 100 miles. The horse was a fine black Hambletonian and was always specially shod and conditioned for the trip. His owner had brought him with his mother out as a forest fire rages through the Cascade Mountains. Fiery branches were dropping around them and a high wind blew. The only thing that frightened Duke was a high wind. (That was just a ghastly forest fire. I was never so frightened in my life. For days it was like dust all over Salem.) Duke like my mother, ignored the rest of us, except Laurence, whom he bit whenever possible. Halfway to the beach, the boys stayed at a farmhouse overnight. There were no cars and the company was welcomed.
Our cousin, Charles Patrick, made one trip with Mac. Charles, fresh from Amherst, handsome, quite a city man, fell in love with Oregon. He had seen Western movies where cowboys threw their reins on the ground when the stopped. Poor Charles drove into Newport, threw the reins on the ground and Duke jumped down a ten foot sea wall, leaving the buggy and came home. Charles' father, Uncle Patrick, had taken my mother and aunt to live with them when the girls' parents died when the two were very young. We all love this cousin and later his delightful wife, "Mary Pat."
My father's mother spent one summer with us at Newport as did Uncle Patrick. They would sit on a great drift log and watch us swim in the Bay. They went on all the picnics and walks and enjoyed everything though both were elderly.
When my grandmother's birthday came in August, my father, himself, gave a surprise picnic for her in the trees on a wooded hill above the bay. All the young people were blindfolded, held hands and followed him. In a lovely grassy clearing among alders, we shed our blindfolds and found a fir tree decorated with boxes of a really lovely shell covered box.
My father had cut a fresh slab from an alder tree which, with the two sides of a salmon wired to it, stood broiling before a fire. There were other foods too, homemade bread, a fine vegetable salad and watermelon, but the first was the piece de resistance and we all played games the rest of that sunny day.
Laurence sent for a pattern and built a rowboat which was completely typical of the bay boats. This was about 1904. Then the Bay was ours! With two rowing, there was enough room for two adults in the stern. I sat in the bow. I felt terribly proud to be included with my dog, but the young folks were actually always good to me. They put up with me and I was a complete nuisance to the while bunch.
The boys took me with them to South Beach where we explored the old deserted houses left by men who had built the jetties. Long empty, the doors and windows swung open to the wind. There were two large conifers by the houses, but all else was sand dunes and marsh grass and gulls and sandpiper. Much of the woodwork of these deserted, weatherbeaten homes was from shipwrecks. Huge beams had been used, as well as doors, planking and marble washbasins and torn red carpets. The boys brought home brass locks and fittings and half of a huge ship’s flag though we could not make out the name of the ship. With the incoming tide, the boys rowed home as fillets of salmon, those new peas and pink potatoes and usually hot, homemade pie tasted just right and melted before us.
One night our boat became loose and carefully washed up on South Beach without shipping a drop of water! In those days everything washed up on that beach as it often does today in spite of our newer much longer jetties. Those jetties were only about a half a mile long.
Laurence and Mac caught the first salmon of the season one fall from their boat off the Newport docks. That really was a thrill, but with a big gallery watching, they got their fish into the boat only to see it flop back into Yaquina Bay. They were actually rather green and completely sick with disappointment as they crept home, and we were unhappy for them.
They had another exciting experience
the docks. The water was clear then, and it was fun to row by
various starfish with their different coloring and an occasional
But Laurence and Mac saw long, red hair floating and realized to
horror, that it was attached to a skull! The authorities solved
old mystery. Two good looking twin sisters with long red hair
to Newport the summer before. Both girls were in love with the
and when one sister married him, the other sister disappeared.
skeleton that the boys found, and as a result, justice followed.
know the end of this story until August 1978 when Ailsa and I
at a new restaurant on South Beach and she told me the ending as
Laurence had told her a year ago.
Two huge trees loomed outside the building. The owner of the place told that they were Monterey cypress and were 125 years old. They were the same two trees that stood by the deserted houses where my brothers and I had played and explored so long ago. The gentleman told me that there was another of these cypress just across Yaquina Bay Bridge by the Coast Guard station and another farther up the Bay by a huge old castle-like place which will one day be turned into a restaurant.
If it were up to nature, the Monterey
trees that dot the coast of Lincoln County would not be here.
Carmel Bay, California, this species (Cupressus macrocarpa) has
along the coast of California and Southern Oregon as a hedge, a
and a park tree. Curiously, cypress trees can be found growing
South Beach (near the aquarium), Newport (Mariner Square and
and Lincoln City. How they got here is a matter of much
One of the largest cypress trees in Newport graced the intersection of highway 20 and 101 where the Shell/Taco Bell is now located. This four-stumped tree marked the spot where Gen. Philip H. Sherman was believed to have built a blockhouse in 1856. The Sheridan tree came down in 1966 to make way for a carwash, which, like the tree, is also long gone. A cutting from the Sheridan tree grows next to the Burrows House Museum at the Oregon Coast History Center in Newport.
Just who planted the first Monterey cypress in this area has been the topic of debate and some creative storytelling. Perhaps the least plausible story is that Capt. James Cook (1728-1779) planted the trees on his 1778 voyage along the coast. This seems unlikely, since Cook left no entries in his ship's log of ever setting foot on land in this area.
Genealogist Evelyn Payne Parry (1906-1994) tracked down two families who claimed to have been sources of the cypress trees. Violet Updike (1893-1980) said her grandfather, James Craigie (1813-1895), who first settled on Yaquina Bay in 1866, grew cypress seedlings at Newport's first resort hotel, the Ocean House.
Mary Loomis Agee (1876-1964) told Parry that her grandmother, Mary Loomis, brought cypress tree seeds with her when she returned to Yaquina Bay from a trip to California. There are cypress trees growing near the Loomis family graves at Eureka cemetery in Newport. Both stories seem plausible. In the early days of Yaquina Bay settlement, oyster and lumber trade tied this region's economy closely to San Francisco's.
Perhaps no one locally has had more experience at growing cypress trees than Rennie Ferris of Ferris Landscaping. At one time, Ferris had 17 cypress trees growing—until a hard freeze killed them all. According to Ferris, cypress trees are very susceptible to freezing until they reach maturity. Our local cypress trees must have been favored with several consecutive years without a hard freeze after they were transplanted.
The original house, far more elegant, was
by our friends, Mamie and James Bayley. My father used to take
to adore the flowers and their lily pool which to me was a magic
Also Mamie Bayley always had sugar cookies for me and my dog.
Sugar Cookies" is no in my recipe book and were a favorite at my
granddaughter's engagement party, done in the shape of hearts,
The Bayleys probably brought the cypress trees from California where Dr. Bayley must have come from. All the fancy shingles laid on careful patterns like fish scales, and the ornate tower would be impossible to duplicate now.
My mother had three old pet bachelors. Mr. Berry kept her supplied with those brown eggs, Mr. Ford, who had his eye on all of us, and looked exactly like Father Time, and Mr. Mitchell, a wealthy retired old man, beautifully dressed, always "wore" his cane and added tone to our uncomplicated life.
Mr. Ford rowed Mac, Lawrence, and me to a spot on the Bayshore where the Embarcadero now stands. He showed us three giant fir trees in a triangle, 100 feet apart. There were old, old blaze marks high on their trunks. He told us that pirates had come ashore here years ago, buried treasure, killed a black man to protect it, and rowed away to their ship. That was his tale, and of course we believed him. People had dug there for years so others must have thought the legend was true.
The young folks at the courting stage decided that our high walk along the hills from Newport to Olssonville needed a railing. So they wrote and put on a play. Completely successful! The second night was a command performance, all of Newport came! That was such a financial coup that they staged a clam bake with all the trimmings; a pit, hot stones, seaweed, canvas, and all the crabs, salmon, and clams that anyone could eat. This cost 50 cents. Newport went crazy over that, and with pretty girls serving, the money did roll in. Besides, it was fun getting the seafoods, and the crowds and the whole undertaking kept everyone busy, and our dangerous walk had a railing.
Speaking of pretty girls, the Dent
from Portland had a summer cottage in our small community on
The Dents had a handsome blonde son and two completely beautiful
Sabrina and Tessa. My brother Mac married the lovely Sabina
year courtship while he established himself and built a home for
Salem. We held church in their home each Sunday. Ms. Crosman
the Bible and "other readings." Mr. Crosman, the postmaster at
and Honeysuckle Cottage near us, had two outstanding daughters
One chestnut-haired daughter was an actress on Broadway, home
Both girls oozed glamour.
The young people always seemed to have fun and had much to do. We very young played Run Sheep Run and Hide And Seek and Auntie, Auntie Over till dark. Then we could pull taffy or pop corn or have a bonfire on the beach which we had planned for in the afternoon.
The romantic ages loved to walk up to the deserted lighthouse to see the sunset or moonrise. The path led through rhododendrons so high that they formed an arch over one's head.
Yaquina Bay Lighthouse
Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, located on the
side of the Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport, was restored by the
system in 1974.
The federal government started construction on the lighthouse in May 1871. Its 40-foot light tower rises from a Cape Cod style house; one of a few Pacific Coast lighthouses built with lightkeeper's living quarters in the same building as the tower. It is the second oldest standing structure on the Oregon Coast, and the oldest existing building in Newport. Yaquina Bay Lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The lighthouse was completed in October 1871, and a fifth order Fresnel lens and whale oil lamp were installed. The first time the light was used was November 3, 1871, according to state parks and recreation records.
The light was used for three years. Then it was determined that the light was not visible to ships coming from the north. It was last used October 1, 1874.
A new lighthouse was constructed in 1873 at Yaquina Head. That lighthouse continues in use today.
The Yaquina Bay Lighthouse fell into disrepair and minor maintenance was kept up to keep it from total ruin.
In 1888, the US Army Corps of Engineers used the building for living quarters for men working on construction of the north jetty. They used the lighthouse until work was completed in 1896.
From 1906 to 1915, the US Life Savings Service (later the US Coast Guard) took over the living quarters. The Coast Guard used the lighthouse until 1933.
The land around the lighthouse passed to the Oregon State Highway Division in 1934, and in 1946, the state decided to tear it down. Local residents organized the Lincoln County Historical Society to resist the move.
Then years later, they were successful in preserving the old structure as an historical landmark.
The Society operated the lighthouse as a county museum until the 1970s, when the state began its restoration project.
At Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, the story
that a young lady had been kidnapped there by pirates. She had
alone to find a lost handkerchief; a smear on the basement floor
and said to be her blood. She was supposed to have been taken
tunnel which opened on the beach. This documented story may be
this old lighthouse now restored. It was written by Joaquin
Yaquina Bay Lighthouse
Photo Courtesy of Julie Hendricks
The Disappearance of Muriel Travennard
Murders and unusual deaths are an
part of the tales of the old US Lighthouse Service.
Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, the light that guided sailors into the harbor at Newport, is the site for the strange tale of Muriel Travennard. The lighthouse was in commission for only three years and replaced by another structure some distance away.
Muriel, born in the late 19th century, was left motherless when very young. Her father, a sea captain, often took his daughter on his coastwide voyages. When Muriel reached her teens, the father did not think a life on a ship, exposed to some of the language and actions of the forecastle, was a proper environment for a young woman.
At just about this time, Capt. Travennard signed on a new crew for a voyage to Coos Bay. Her father departed, telling his daughter the voyage should take only a few weeks.
While Muriel enjoyed her new surroundings, the weeks stretched into months. The young woman began to fear that her father had met some terrible fate. One day, a group of youths, hoping to take Muriel's mind off her missing father, invited the girl to explore the abandoned Yaquina Bay Lighthouse. Muriel accepted the invitation.
The lighthouse proved a shambles. The young adults found a strange iron plate in the floor, which gave way to a compartment with a hole dug in its floor. This strange arrangement held the young people for a short period, but then they moved on to explore the rest of the light structure, leaving the iron door ajar. By late afternoon, everyone decided they had had enough of the lighthouse and decided to return home. In the lowering twilight, just as the group started away from the abandoned Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, Muriel stopped the exploring party and said that she had left a scarf inside. The young people waited until Muriel dashed inside the lighthouse to retrieve the forgotten item; it should have taken only a minute to do so.
The group of teenagers waited and waited. As time passed, they began to become nervous and started shouting out Muriel’s name, with no response. A few of the young people decided to go inside and find her. A quick search proved fruitless, but then two discoveries sent the youths running in terror from the abandoned lighthouse. At the bottom of the stairs leading up into the tower was a pool of blood and a trail of blood droplets that led to the iron door, which had mysteriously closed. The young adults tried the door without success. Now, thoroughly terrified, the teenagers ran home to report the terrible happenings.
A later search could find no trace of Muriel Travennard. The iron door could not be opened. Even efforts with a strong crowbar could not budge the door. No trace of Muriel Travennard was ever found. A dark stain still "marks the spot where her blood was found." Reports still circulate that her ghost can be seen "peering out from a dark [lantern room and] walking the shadowy path behind the lighthouse."
The present custodian at the "light" says
there really was an old tunnel. She also declares that a man,
Jack" Renfroe, who much later taught my daughter Ailsa to ride
was one of the posse who searched for the girl.
Thirty years later, Whiskey Jack started Ailsa on her riding career (my father arranged it, unknown to me). Whiskey Jack had been a partner with the Gypsy Kings. They had a common purse and one fast, blooded horse and the three of them went to all the county fairs and just cleaned up.
One bright morning, Whiskey Jack, then an old man with a drooping moustache, rode up to the house at Agate Beach, on a thoroughbred horse named Rex. He brought a gentle, old bay mare for Ailsa, which Ailsa tells me had once been a blooded animal because one could see her fine skin and conformation. Whiskey Jack and Ailsa rode together every day the rest of that summer, with her on a lead while in my sight.
Years later, Ailsa and I visited Whiskey Jack in a rest home toward Toledo, and took him a beautiful Stetson which my husband, Allen, had bought in Amarillo, Texas. Whiskey Jack loved it, though bedridden with a broken leg. He told us old stories that day. One concerned the "yaller mare." He and the Gypsy King raced her, and as the races were run in three heats, gave her a full bottle of whiskey during the heats! Of course she won!
Whiskey Jack had always kept his black horse, Rex. He saved his life at Agate Beach when a huge tidal wave started rolling in. Rex refused to try to climb the cliff there at the Emerson place. He ran for Big Creek, and beat the thundering pile of logs that poured in behind them. Rex fell on the grass and Whiskey Jack thought he was dead, but forced some whiskey down his throat and the horse managed to stand. Whiskey Jack told me privately that he also opened a vein in the horse's neck with his knife, possibly to "relieve the pressure." I was allowed to ride Rex, and one day with a nephew we rode from Agate Beach to Yaquina City trying to find a very old Chinese grave.
Oh well, maybe its like the "magic orchard" and the "haunted lighthouse" and an "old seaman's graveyard" above the rock quarry at Yaquina Head which one only finds once.
Sometime after 1908, the Elysian Fields of Olssonville at Newport closed on us forever. Mac married his beautiful Sabina; Lawrence found his one-and-only Edna after WWI; Allen Bynon and I were married in 1917, and honeymooned at the new house at Agate Beach, where my father bought and built Madinore in 1912, the first house at Agate Beach. Other friends from Salem followed and built homes, the Pattons, the Livesleys, Thielsens, the Bushes, and Mac built a house to the south of Madinore.
Anyway, its fun that we lived in those delightful years when time seemed to pause.
South Beach (Harborton) is an
part of Lincoln County located on the south shore of Yaquina
notice of the area was during WWI when the US Army Spruce
Camp III at Idaho Point to get out lumber for planes and ships.
was at Beaver Creek near Waldport. Logs were shipped by rail to
and then rafted to Toledo to the mill. Some of the old track bed
be seen at the Toledo air strip, which is visible through the
on the far side of the Yaquina. The air strip is 1,725 feet
single engine planes.
An early resident of South Beach, Elsie Omlid, was a cook at Camp III. Three buildings on 4th Street were used as the US Army hospital during the war. The Omlids remained in South Beach following the war, and their children attended a school located west of Toby Murray Auto Body on the Coast Highway. Omlid recalls one of her Daughters rode the jitney on a spur of the railroad to school. She remembers there was ferry service to Newport every hour. People could ride free, but rigs cost $1.50. The Omlids ran a stage coach service for passengers and mail along the beach. At times winter storms and high tides held them up. A post office, store, and tavern were among the first businesses in the area.
Yaquina Drive-In 1949-1963
For many people who came of age during
1950s, 1960s, or 1970s, the first trip of the year to the
marked the true beginning of summer.
Drive-ins became a magnet for teenagers immediately after the first one was build in the 1930s. By 1961, during the heyday of drive-ins, there were 6,000 in the US.
Drive-ins were particularly popular with dating couples who parked their car in the back row for privacy. Groups of friends often piled into one car to watch the show. Those with no money for admission were sometimes smuggled though the gate in the trunk. Families also patronized drive-ins, the parents hopeful their children would fall asleep before the second feature began.
Probably no one knows more about running a drive-in on the Oregon Coast than Bill McKevitt. His father, William (1893-1943), moved to the area in 1929. By the time of William's untimely death, he owned three movie theaters. When Bill and his brother, Bob, returned from military service during WWII, they and their mother took on the operation of William's business interests.
The Oregon Coast History Center's archives contain the text of a speech Bill McKevitt wrote about the operation of his family's theaters. "In 1949, it became obvious that drive-in theaters were the coming thing," he wrote, "so I started looking for property."
McKevitt purchased a 34-acre South Beach parcel for $4,000. The local newspaper reported the site was chosen because it "was the most fog-free place for five miles." McKevitt's Yaquina Drive-In opened May 9, 1952, with a double feature: "Hell Fire" and "Grand Old Opry." Admission was 55 cents for adults and 20 cents for children. About a month later, the snack bar/projection room was destroyed by fire. McKevitt quickly rebuilt his drive-in and kept it running until its closure around 1963.
The area's other outdoor theater was located in what is now Lincoln City. The Swan Drive-In had a capacity of 100 cars (McKevitt's operation dwarfed it with a capacity of 385). Under the management of Charles Slaney in the early 1950s, the Swan enticed moviegoers with a bargain: Tuesday through Thursday, admission was "$1 for each car regardless of how many passengers."
The Swan went out of business in the mid-1950s. In 1962, the site was cleared to make room for a sawmill. Later the Factory Outlet Stores were built on this site.
Today, only a small diminishing number of drive-in theaters remains. Their nationwide demise has been attributed to several factors: more sophisticated moviegoers, who began to expect better sound and projection systems; increasing land values that made it impractical to tie up acreage for a seasonal business; the advent of television and later VCRs; and the adoption of daylight savings time, which meant shows could not start until 9pm, too late for working folks.
The days of the drive-in may be long gone; but for those of us who remember that first trip of the year to the drive-in, it remains a symbol of the season's passage into summer.
Chapter 21: Alsea Bay
Alsea is in a broadened section of the
Valley, at the confluence of the North and South Forks of Alsea
about 19 miles southwest of Philomath.
State 34 is the link between the Willamette Valley and the rugged Central Oregon Coast. It climbs the heights of the Coast Range and after crossing the summit, follows Alsea River to Waldport. The highway borders tributaries of Marys River and Crooked Creek into the Alsea Valley, where it swings around the base of Digger Mountain and passes through narrow defiles to the sea. The territory traversed was originally hunting and fishing grounds of the Alsi, who were removed to the Siletz Reservation. Apparently, they had camped within the area for many years, for excavators of Alsi fishing camps have found as many as 20 tiers of their shell mounds. The old Alsea Wagon Road ended at the head of the Alsea Valley, from which trails led over the mountains southeastward into the Tidewater district.
West of Rock Creek, the highway begins the ascent of Alsea Mountain (1403'). Sparse growths of yew, cedar, and mountain laurel appear among the stands of pines, alders and maples. The Oregon yew found on these slopes is considered by archers as an excellent wood for bow making. On the side of the mountain are the ruts of the old wagon road over which the teams of pioneers toiled on their arduous journey to Alsea Valley.
The summit of Alsea Mountain overlooks a splendid panorama of peaks and canyons. West of the summit State 34 winds down the mountain through fir-scarred forest to Yew Creek Canyon. The Alsea State Trout hatchery, one of the largest on the Oregon Coast, propagates cutthroat trout, chiefly for the replenishment of mountain streams.
Westward the valley widens and small farms border the roads. Mountain balm trees, peculiar to this section, appear on the hillsides among the fir and pine. The mountains around Alsea Valley are frequented by numerous game animals. The black-tailed Columbian deer is often encountered; formerly there were also many white-tailed deer and elk, or wapiti. Other animals in the region are the black or cinnamon bear, and less often the cougar, the lynx, and the bobcat.
The first settlers arrived in the valley in 1852 and late that year the Ryecraft brothers opened the first farm.
One of the first settlers of the Alsea Valley was Edward Winkle. An early writer has pictured him as he appeared "with moccasins on his feet, his ever-present trusty rifle on his shoulder and butcher knife in belt. Whither his inclination led him there he went, through mountain passes without regard to road or trail, always depending upon his weapon for food." It is related that upon one occasion, in order to attack a bear bayed by his faithful dog, it became necessary to crawl under the brush for some distance and finally to pass under a log. As he straightened from his prone position he found himself face to face with "Bruin," who struck his breast, tore off his clothing and lacerated his flesh. His dog came to the rescue and the bear, turning upon him was about to end his career when Winkle closed in with his knife and fought the bear hand to hand to the death. Man and dog were barely able to creep to their cabin, where they both lay for several days before help came to them.
The first non-indian settler in the Lower Alsea was George W. Collins who came in 1860 as Indian agent for the sub agency of the Alsea Reservation. Formerly part of the Coast Reservation, which by treaty with the Indians extended for 90 miles along the coast and about 20 miles inland, Alsea sub agency near Yachats was established in 1856. The agency was closed in 1875 and Indians were forced to remove to Siletz Reservation so non-indians could settle here.
Alsea post office was established July 14, 1871, with Thomas Russell first postmaster. It bears a form of "Alsi," the name of a Yakonan tribe that lived near the mouth of the stream. Lewis and Clark gave Ulseah. Duflot de Mofras gives Alsiias in his 1844 book, Exploration. William P. McArthur gives Alseya on his chart accompanying the report of the US Coast Survey for 1851, and the name Alseya Settlement appears on the Surveyor General's Map of 1855. The legend stretches along Alsea River, and the center of the settlement is a little to the west of the present community of Alsea.
Col. Paul V. Wustrow became postmaster on March 30, 1876, and held the position until May 28, 1898, nearly a quarter of a century. Wustrow was a well-known character in the Alsea Valley and was of European birth and upbringing, but it is not known whether he was Russian or German. He is said to have coined the name Waldport at the request of David Ruble (1831-1907), who founded that community. The name has many variations, but there is no doubt that it was originally pronounced with three syllables, and not with two as at present. Alsea River rises in the Coast Range and flows into Alsea Bay at Waldport.
Alsea Bay Bridge, the longest cement-poured bridge in the world, it was torn down in 1992. Alsea River Basin was the first portion of the region to receive non-indian settlers and they came out not from the mouth of the river but over the Coast Range from Corvallis into the Upper Alsea Valley.
Alsea Bay Bridge
Photo Courtesyof Julie Hencricks
Navigating the Alsea
When first cultivated, the lands of
River Basin have produced 60 bushels of wheat per acre. The
to get this bounteous crop to market. The road back over the
to Corvallis was impassible during the months after harvest, so
was developed to send the grain and other produce to the valley
Alsea on scows. Wheat could not be grown near the coast, so the
became as vital to them as to the upriver farmers because boats
difficult to make port in Alsea Bay, particularly during the
A member of a pioneer family described the traffic:
One-way navigation was carried on, and this only during periods of high water. For transportation purposes on this river, scows, or flat boats, were employed. These scows, 30 to 40 feet in length, were floated down to Waldport, carrying such commodities as bacon, lard, wheat, flour, and lumber. A stalwart man was stationed at the bow of each boat, and another at the stern. The "navigators" each clutched a single oar, the function of which was chiefly to prevent the craft from sticking against a bank or colliding with obstructions. To make navigation still more hazardous, there were several rapids. These were known by such names as The Narrows, Digger Creek Rapids, Old Hellion and Devil's Jump-Off. With favoring circumstances, one of these scows would go through to Tidewater in ten to 12 hours. If the tides were coming in when the scow arrived at Tidewater, the craft had to be moored until the tide turned. Then the scow was released to drift the remaining ten miles to Waldport.
Local historians of South Lincoln County have also described information on the navigation of the Alsea:
The Alsea River, of course, provided
access up to its tidewater. During freshets this stream could be
the town of Alsea and some of the first settlers coming
Indians with canoes to take them to the bay area. Until 1888
road was completed to Corvallis, supplies were barged in the
Had it not been for the Alsea River, the Waldport-Yachats areas would have been by-passed a little longer in settlement. The river served as nature's avenue of entrance and common carrier to this far west outpost.
As early as 1870, people began to drift downstream, nosing into their ideas of greener pastures. Some of these fellows, like Tom Russell, Jake Holgate, and Peter Hoover moved downriver from the Upper Alsea Valley during the spring of freshets when the river was navigable... In 1887 Silas Howell, his wife and five children moved downriver on the spring freshets and built a hotel in Waldport.
The timbers for the Jack Earley house came downriver by raft from Alsea, and then men manning the raft were paid with two kegs of beer. The remaining supplies came upriver from the Waldport mills.
Prior to 1889, all the lumber for Waldport buildings had been floated downriver from the mill on Mill Creek near the town of Alsea. Rafts built of one inch lumber, most ten feet by 24 feet, hauled freight, then were sold in Waldport for $5. When they reached their destinations, they were converted to houses—such as the first school.
R. C. Evans, who could not swim a stroke, in his younger years, guided many of these rafts. He knew the river’s quirks, such as The Narrows five miles below Mill Creek, where trees had the habit of piling up and blocking passage. Here the rafts had to tie up and The Narrows inspected before proceeding toward Waldport. Usually one tree held the key to the "drift," and when it was released, the whole mess floated and broke. For a ten hour day, Evans was paid $1.
The barges would make 19 stops in the 40 mile run. When the river was too low for barges, Indians were hired to haul supplies in their canoes.
One time, Johnnie Rollen and Bill Steprow started down the Alsea and hit a big rock. They lost their boat, but managed to hold onto a rock all night. Next day, they were rescued. Johnnie was bald-headed and Bill had big feet, so the rock was dubbed Baldie's Defeat. Another boulder, a few miles further downstream, is Rooster Rock. Some fellows perched on it after a wreck. In 1889, US Army Corps of Engineers blasted out many of the dangerous rocks, but not the two with such descriptive names.
Much of the lumber referred to above
cut in the David Ruble Sawmill built in 1871, on the North Fork
Alsea. During several years before he moved to Waldport in 1879,
freighted flour and grain down the Alsea in the flat boat he
all, he is said to have made 67 trips.
In their reports to the chief engineer in 1879, 1893 and 1895, officers of the US Army Corps of Engineers described this traffic. The most circumstantial of these, especially for the total economic environment of the valley, was written by J. K. Savage, assistant engineer, in September 1892:
The valley through which the Alsea
flows is a very narrow one for most of the distance from the
to a point upstream, about 40 miles from the sea, the average
the bottom lands available for agricultural purposes being
more than 300 feet... The river throughout this section flows
from 500 to 600 feet in height, which are mostly bare except for
and burnt timber. Here and there some fairly good timber is seen
bottom lands or in some protected canyon.
The Upper Alsea Valley is a stretch of bottom land on the upper portion of the river, about ten miles in length, with an average width of perhaps half a mile. This valley extends about five miles above the forks on the North Fork and about the same distance below the forks. On the South Fork there is, in addition, a stretch of good land extending for about three miles up beyond the forks. The hills enclosing the valley of the Upper Alsea River ...rise very sharply to a height of 500 to 600 feet, and are used to a small extent for grazing purposes. There is no timber of any value on the hills adjoining the belt of good agricultural land.
There is one small store at the Alsea post office, near the forks of the Alsea River, and it is the only store in the Upper Alsea Valley. The only trading done at this store is in the minor articles, as nearly all of the farmers in the section haul most of their grain out to Corvallis and purchase their supplies at this latter point or in Albany. ...
There is a certain proportion from one eighth to one quarter of the whole wheat crop, shipped downriver on flat boats during the winter season, for use in the neighborhood of Alsea Bay for food for chickens, hogs, and other stock... Bacon is also an important product, as some of that article is shipped to Alsea Bay for use there. ...
Alsea River, from its source to the head of tide, is a regular stream, composed of riffles and rapids and intermediate smooth spots... It is only during the winter season or when the river is swollen by heavy rains to from three to eight feet above its low water stage that the navigation of the Upper Alsea takes place. The only boats used are small scows drawing a foot or a little more, which are built as cheaply as possible by the farmers, as they have to be abandoned after being floated downriver, as it would be almost impossible to get any boat upriver. These boats are usually five to eight feet in breadth, and from 15 to 25 feet long, although scows or flat boats ten feet wide and 36 feet long have been taken down successfully. When the dangerous nature of the style of navigation is concerned, it is remarkable that so few accidents have occurred, for here and there are scattered rocks and boulders that are a constant menace to navigation. The upper portion of the river near the forks have a gravel bottom, generally, but farther downriver bottom is composed almost entirely of rocks. The river at high water is also sometimes used for running some few logs. A small amount of work in the way of improving this upper section of the river has already been done by the settlers by blowing up some few rocks.
Savage then commented on the poor quality of the roads, stating that, having once passed over them,
it is easy to understand why the freight
into the Upper Alsea Valley should be as high as a half a cent
per pound. The population of the Upper Alsea Valley was 360 to
Lobster County from 130 to 200; Lower Alsea Valley around
office from 110 to 129; and the section around Alsea Bay from
The settlers in the Upper Alsea Valley have no special desire to have the river improved for winter navigation without their would be some sort of market on Alsea Bay for their produce, which there is not at present, outside of a purely local demand for eggs, butter, bacon, and a small portion of the grain crop. It looks to me, from an examination merely, that the portions of the Alsea River from the forks to the head of tide could be improved sufficiently by the expenditure of a comparatively small sum of money to allow for a much safer and more extended high-water navigation of the river. And, with such improved facilities it seems to me perfectly reasonable to expect that the products of the Upper Alsea Valley could be shipped to some market—most probably Portland to San Francisco, by way of Yaquina City—on the small steam coasters to considerable more advantage than they could be hauled to Corvallis, or other railroad points.
But as "the products of the Alsea
could be loaded into one big grain ship of about 2,000 tons
did not recommend more than blasting a few rocks on the upper
same in Tidewater, and cleaning up overhanging brush and timber
banks which interfered with winter navigation.
In 1895 Holland W. Baker gave further information to the chief engineer about navigation on the Upper Alsea:
With water at the high stage, a boat
be run by two men from the forks to tidewater in six hours...
A good high stage once accustomed to run the river, they can usually succeed in getting a loaded boat through safely notwithstanding the present serious impediments to navigation, but, as above instanced, the high stage of river is a very ephemeral thing, and the fall which will occur in a very few hours adds greatly to the dangers of the transit, although the points of peculiar danger are not very numerous, being mainly concentrated at the various rapids.
These points were enumerated by Baker:
Tobacco Rapids, Wooded Island No. 1, Devil's Jump-Off, Shovel Mountain Rapids, Wooded Island No. 3, Stone Mountain Rapids, The Slide, Hellion Rapids and McEwing Rapids.
As for the log drives mentioned by Savage, a Benton County Mechanics Lien gives some details about one of them:
David H. Bolton has a lien on 800,000 board feet of fir saw logs cut in Benton County marked "B.," "B. T.," "B. O.," "B. D.," "B III," and "B. S.," cut on Lee & Graham land on the Alsea for Peter Meyers and T. N. Coombs. The logs are now located between said land, and the boom of Harrison Brothers Sawmill at Waldport on Alsea Bay, Lincoln County, a distance of 45 miles. During the first decade of this century the Toledo Lincoln County Leader contained accounts of the barge trips from Alsea to Waldport:
Fall Creek: E. E. Hamersley and A. T.
ran a boat down the Alsea with a cargo of lumber and apples.
Waldport: R. C. Evans ran two scows downriver from Alsea River last week (lumber, apples, grain, etc.). The largest load was seven tons.
Waldport: R. C. Evans brought down two scows of grain containing 300 bushels of oats and wheat from Taylor’s Mill at Alsea Valley. R. C. is an old hand at this.
R. C. Evans went to the Upper Alsea to build two scows in order to bring down 9,000 pounds of grain from Upper Alsea.
R. C. Evans of Waldport and Alden Bowen of Alsea brought down a scow load of grain. At Five Rivers, they took on 75 bushels of apples for Mr. Webb of Waldport.
Additionally, the paper reported
logs and shingle bolts from Scott Creek to Tidewater during
In 1878, there was no port of entry at Alsea Bay; but the tidal portion of the Alsea has since been regularly navigated both by sail and motor propelled craft. This was greatly aided by creation of the Port of Alsea in 1910. Local historians have chronicled some of the early ships which called at Alsea Bay:
A government survey
the distinction of being the first seagoing vessel to cross the
In 1872, Titus & Lee built the schooner Lizzie at Tidewater, and in November crossed the bar at 17 and a half feet with the first cargo—wild cherry wood from San Francisco. This proved that a boat of ordinary draft could navigate the entrance...
The second vessel—Alice—build by Mr. Huntsucker of Tidewater, hauled lumber from coastal ports and also met her fate on the Yaquina Bay Bar.
The Amethyst, a little sailing vessel, was probably the most picturesque of all those entering Alsea Bay... It made 28 trips to Waldport... depending upon the weather, the Amethyst usually managed one trip a month. When the North wind howled, it stood off shore far enough that an inshore tack would blow it into the Alsea. This sometimes took it 80 miles offshore before it could head in! On these occasions, when the supply of boats were late in arriving, the town's kerosene supply often ran out.
The other sailing ships tacking over the Alsea Bar included Lilly, Hattie, Joseph, Henry, Mary Bedwell and Mary Gilbert...
Two steamboats built at Yaquina City, Mischief and Augusta, steamed out and in the Alsea Harbor with cargoes. This ended the era of sails.
In 1889 the steam schooner William H. Harrison of 100 tons, was constructed at Waldport; and in 1892 a small steamer, the Mascot, drawing two and a half feet of water, plied between Waldport and Tidewater post offices.
Thus far, over half a century following statehood, the Alsea was a vital highway for commerce in Southern Lincoln County, and the state has a claim to its bed from the forks at the town of Alsea to the river's mouth in the Pacific.
At Tidewater, the Alsea River widens
an estuary, salt waters mingling with the fresh. In season there
trolling for salmon at this point. In this region Alsea River
comprised the northern boundary of the Alsea Indian Reservation,
at Agency Farm near Yachats. Fagan's History of Benton County
"When the whites began to settle in the Alsea district they
the remnants of three tribes: the Alsi by Yaquina Bay on the
of fishers; the Klickitat, who hunted in the woods and over the
to the south; and the Drift Creek, whose homes were scattered
heavy timber round Table Mountain and on the streams heading
to the east and northeast of Alsea. Though generally at enmity
other yet there were times when, feuds laid aside, the hunting
their neighbors by the Pacific Ocean in peace, bringing with
of the chase to exchange for the seafish and shellfish of the
fires were lighted and feasting and jollity went on day after
The Alsi were called "Salt Waters" or "Salt Chucks."
Boundary changes involving the Siletz Reservation had made and would continue to make it especially vulnerable to non-indian inroads, threatening Indian subsistence on the confine. The Siletz Reservation was established along the coast, from Cape Lookout on the north to Cape Perpetua (44° 17' 15") on the south, and was first referred to simply as a the "Coast Reservation." In 1861 a subagency was established at Yachats Prairie, eight miles below the Alsea River. Until then annual agency reports came from the Siletz Reservation; in 1862 they were submitted from the Siletz and Alsea agencies. A strip running 25 miles from north to south and 20 miles from east to west, including Yaquina Bay, was withdrawn in December 1865, dividing the reservation. The area on the north became the Siletz, and that on the south became the Alsea. The Alsea measured 20 by 31 miles. On it lived 525 Indians. The withdrawal of the strip worked a hardship on Indians settling there. Despite promises of security for their persons and properties, they were ejected from their homes by force. In 1866 troops were removed from near the Siletz, and whiskey peddlers moved in. Gold mongers had been equally troublesome in the area. A March 3, 1875 Congressional act stated that Indians should not be removed from the Alsea Reservation without their consent. Nevertheless, without the consent of its rightful owners, the government opened the land to non-indians, who moved onto reservation farms at Yachats Prairie driving the Indians away without compensation, and depriving them of what little livelihood they had left.
Sam Case was located for a while on the Grand Ronde Reservation. He was mustered out of the service in November 1864, and was appointed farmer for the Alsea Reservation. He held this position for four years. While he was government farmer for the Alsea, he took up the claim on which Newport is located. This was in 1866. Case served as one of the three peace commissioners to treat with the Modoc Nation in 1873. He could not agree with the policy being pursued, so he resigned.
Robert H. Ruby and John A. Brown wrote that the US government hoped that, besides subsisting on the reservations, the Indians could sell their surplus products to non-indians. This proved less feasible than officials had hoped because
...some reservations were unsuited to agriculture, and were often too far from markets. Although separated from Willamette Valley markets by the Coast Range, the produce of the remote Siletz Reservation could be shipped by steamer up the coast and thence up the Columbia and Willamette rivers. Still there were other problems. In 1861 little grain was raised, and the potato crop that was scheduled for export rotted in the ground. On the Alsea Reservation, the Yakonan, Siuslaw, and Umpqua tribes fared little better at agriculture. The tribes were parties to an as-yet-unratified treaty and were barely able to survive on "presents, provisions and subsistence" from a fund for Indians in that situation.
Tidewater post office, located on Alsea River, near the head of tide, some ten miles east of Waldport, was established April 9, 1878. Thomas Russell was the first postmaster.
The White Wolves of Tidewater
A year ago, Lois White Tulleners lived
a comfortable 3,000-square-foot house in Seal Rock.
She sold the house and moved into an isolated leaky cabin in tidewater without heat or plumbing, putting all of her money into a shelter for the Arctic wolves she rescues and cares for.
Two months ago, the shelter burned down. Now money is tight, and life is a daily challenge, but none of that matters because her wolves are safe.
Tulleners has been interested in wolves for 15 years. Before she moved to Tidewater, she cared for two at her house in Seal rock, but she needed more space for her wolves to run and to howl without disturbing the neighbors. When a real estate agent showed her the 60-acre property off OR-34, she knew she was home.
Getting there isn't easy. A narrow, muddy, rutted road leads through timber and National Forest Service land to a clearing. To the right, four wolves watch from behind a 13-foot-high, double gated, chain link fence.
Straight ahead is the single-wide trailer where Tulleners moved after everything she owned got soaked in the cabin and her parents insisted she find a better shelter. To the left, laborers are putting a new roof on the 1943 cabin she hopes to turn into a real home with indoor plumbing someday—after she makes the wolves comfortable.
Although Arctic wolves are used to subzero temperatures, the Arctic climate is dry, and they need shelter from the Oregon coast’s wet climate. The two-story wooden shelter that housed both her wolves and the office for White Wolf Sanctuary caught fire when a faulty propane heater exploded into flames. Too far away for help to reach her in time, Tulleners battled the flames alone but had to surrender the structure.
She suffered third-degree burns on her arms, face and neck, but her only concern was the wolves, which were all outside at the time. "Thank God they weren't hurt; I don't know if I could have withstood that one," she said. "They're innocent, and I'm all they have."
After the fire, Tulleners offered the wolves shelter in a small travel trailer, but they insisted on lying in the ashes where their shelter had been. She gave up and started building a new enclosure on the spot—admittedly rickety because she had never built anything before. "Next thing I knew, they were in the trailer," she said. "I saw eight yellow eyes grinning at me."
The fire was a serious setback. She had put all the money from the sale of her house into the shelter. "Here I planned this for 15 years, and in six months, I burn it down," she said.
Tulleners, who has a master's degree in government from California State University, Los Angeles, has earned her living as a counselor, karate teacher, and singer. She is philosophical about her situation.
"I always wanted to be Ms. Grizzly Adams," she laughed, shaking the wolf earrings that dangle beneath her curly blond hair. Despite the difficulties, she said, "I'm so happy and at peace here."
Tulleners devotes most of her time and money to the wolves. They look like large, beautiful white dogs, but she warns that they are wild and she hopes to keep them that way. In nature, humans are their worst enemy, and if they being to trust them too much, they are not likely to survive.
Her goal is to bring them to health and release them in the Arctic. She has already let two wolves loose in Canada, she said. "They are wild animals; they have a right to be free, if possible," she explained.
Only 200 of these white wolves are left in the world. Their population was decimated by hunters in the 1940s and 1950s, she said, and too many of the remaining wolves have been mistreated by zoos or people who wanted their fur. She wishes she could afford to care for all of them.
Two of her wolves, Nepenthes and Ventana, were rescued as puppies from Minnesota, where they were being raised for their fur. Kept in tiny cages, they were so malnourished and dehydrated that they could not stand when she got them. Her veterinarian told her they could not possibly survive. But, she said, "I saw the spirit in them."
She nursed them with calcium, vitamins, prayers and love. Within two weeks, they were running. They joined two adults Tulleners calls Kyenne and Havoc.
Tulleners operates the sanctuary as a nonprofit cooperation and needs more funding to survive. Until the fire, she preferred not to advertise, but now said she has no choice. "I try to keep it a private haven for the sake of the animals," she said.
The spot is isolated enough that most people have difficulty getting there. Tulleners shrugs off the dangers of living so far from civilization, even since the fire. "All I have up here is animals, and so far, they love me," she said. "I've never been afraid of animals."
Tulleners is the only human allowed in the wolves' cage. Even her dog, Lupus, keeps his distance. She warns visitors to keep their fingers out of reach, never to stare directly at a wolf, and to avoid sudden moves. She has slept with the wolves and hugs and tussles with them, but admits even she must be careful to know when to back off to avoid getting hurt. The adults weigh 100 pounds or more and can do damage even when they are playing.
The wolves howl at neighboring coyotes and people driving up the road. They love to run, and sometimes they get into mischief. Everything within reach must be wolf-proofed. Electrical cables must be encased in steel pipes, and equipment must be fenced off. Tulleners tells tales of wolves removing the steering wheel and stereo from a Chevy Blazer and tossing the toilet, sink and blankets out of their shelter when she was not looking.
Feeding the wolves is a constant challenge. Tulleners has agreements with the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Department of Fish and Wildlife to use roadkill to feed her wolves. Sometimes they deliver the meat, and sometimes she has to pick it up herself, a task she found hard to stomach at first.
She raised eyebrows at the local stores when she first started buying massive quantities of meat for her wolves, especially as she is essentially a vegetarian herself. The roadkill is a more natural food for the wolves and saves her a lot of money.
Wolves have a bad reputation in some quarters. Farmers blame them for killing cows, and many people fear them, but Tulleners insists that wolves prefer to eat deer and elk, and there has never been a documented case of a wolf attacking a human. In the wild a wolf will run and hide. In captivity, if the wolf is trapped, it may become aggressive to defend itself.
People could learn some lessons from wolves, Tulleners maintains. Wolves won't interbreed, and they're monogamous. The whole pack will babysit while parents are out hunting for food. Every day, as she watches them interact, they bring her tears of joy—and of sadness.
Bayview is located on the northeast part of Alsea Bay. The post office was established August 8,1901, and the name was chosen by Daniel M. Oakland (1890-1929), the first postmaster, because of the view of Alsea Bay that could be had from where the office then stood. The office closed to Toledo on December 31, 1941. Oakland is buried at Tidewater Cemetery, as is E. E. Dyer (1861-1925), who also served as Bayview postmaster at a later date.
Ona is located on Beaver Creek, three
east of Seal Rock. The community of Ona is on Beaver Creek,
through Ona Beach State Park, where a charming footbridge
to sandy beach. Ona is not on the seashore and not near clam
the word ona comes from the Chinook jargon word ee-na, but may
"razor clam" or "beaver" for the two words have similar
If ee-na means beaver in this case, it is appropriate to the
this place on Beaver Creek.
Ona post office was established April 17, 1890, with William H. Hulse first postmaster. On June 11, 1890, Lucidettie C. Grant became the postmaster, and took care of the mail until February 14, 1898 when Jacob Blazer took the job. He held it until April 14, 1898 when Thomas Harrison held the position. It reverted back to William Hulse July 7, 1902. Mary Lewis (1871-1951) was postmaster April 12, 1907 through July 13, 1909, when A. L. "Levi" Commons was awarded the position. George Selby was appointed postmaster October 12, 1912, and Clara Commons took charge October 14, 1915. Enos Wilson (1886-1956) was the next postmaster, appointed July 16, 1919. Lillian P. Puram became the last postmaster on January 12, 1920, and the office closed to Toledo August 31, 1920.
The Ona post office was kept in a small room of the Hulse house in 1912. Then it was moved to a small building on the Wilson ranch. Later on it was again moved back to a small building built for this purpose on the Hulse place.
The proliferation of post offices in the early days of Lincoln County probably can be attributed to poor or even nonexistent roads. Home delivery was challenging, if not impossible, and travel to a distant, centrally located post office for mail pickup was impractical. Quite often the post office was nothing more than a small corner of an isolated store that served a rural area rather than a real town. Store owners coveted a post office contract, as that amounted to a guarantee of a steady flow of foot traffic. A store with a post office instantly became a community's social center and gathering place.
Ona has a connection with one of Lincoln County's famous sons. L. D. Nash, the son of Louisa A. Desboroughs and Wallis Nash, the English writer and railroad builder who settled Nashville, was born in Corvallis, June 7, 1880. In 1916, he married Fay Commons of Ona. Nash worked for American Steel and Wire Company in San Francisco from 1900 to 1905, after which he engaged in farm and livestock operations. He served in the Oregon State Legislature, and represented Polk and Lincoln counties in 1931, and Lincoln County in 1939. Ben Horning taught at the Ryan School, 1909. His students were Oscar and Chester Ryan, and Evelyn, and Filiz Gatens.
Horning also taught at the Storrs School and probably others to earn money for his higher education. For many years, he has been an eminent physician. He was the younger brother of the late Fred (1880-1969) and Elmer Horning of Toledo, and the son of Mary F. Jones (1860-1945) and Thomas H. Horning (1856-1940).
In 1919, a new Ona schoolhouse was built by Horrey Wood, replacing the Baptist Church building, erected in 1891. In 1943, this school was closed and the children were transported by bus to schools in Waldport.
Yamada was located on South Beaver
three miles north of Alsea Bay and two miles due south of Ona.
office was established Mar. 26, 1898, with Newton L. Guilliams
first and only postmaster.
The story of Yamada is an interesting but brief chapter in Lincoln County's postal past. The rise and fall of Yamada took place in a span of about 21 months. Yamada's story has its roots in Japan, where there are at least two places by that name. It is reported that Yamada post office was established as the result of some feuding between people on South Beaver Creek against the patrons of Ona post office, which was on the main Beaver Creek, or north branch. It is unfortunate for inquiring minds that the crux of the controversy was not recorded for posterity. Whatever the dispute, it probably came to an end when Guilliams persuaded postal authorities to established a post office on South Beaver Creek.
The name of a new post office usually was selected by the first postmaster. Whether Guilliams had ever been to Japan is not certain, but his brother, Rufus F. Guilliams (1862-1894), was a ship's captain who in the year prior to his unexpected death in December 1894 had been sealing off the coast of Alaska and cruising off the coast of Japan.
The Japanese word yamada means a mountain field. He liked the sound of the word and later applied it to the Lincoln County post office.
The Guilliams family had lived in Lincoln County since 1879 when Newton's parents, Rachel Evelyn Barnes (1840-1932) and John L. Guilliams (1833-1917), and their eight children settled in South Beaver Creek.
For reasons unknown, the Yamada post office was discontinued on December 26, 1899, less than two years after it opened. The rival Ona post office, three miles east of Seal Rock, was established April 17, 1890 and closed to Toledo on August 31, 1920. Guilliams apparently lived out his years in Lincoln County. In the 1910 census he is listed as a farmer. Newton Guilliams, his parents and many of his siblings are buried in Fern Ridge Cemetery at Seal Rock.
Highlands and For Far
Many towns in Lincoln County's past
been waded up and thrown away—and in some cases forgotten. These
were concept communities that never got beyond a paper plat map.
and visionaries commissioned plat maps for use as a sales tool.
buyers were presented with a futuristic depiction of what a town
be. Such maps typically portrayed well-organized streets, parks
gathering places—all within easy walking distance. Typically
towns did not take into consideration existing hills, valleys or
geographic features, that might present obstacles to their
But one account, 120 plat maps, all representing dreams for the future, were filed with the county between 1865 and 1902. A small army of cartographers found work drawing such maps for Lincoln County developers in the 1880s. The development boom was in large part spurred by the coming of the railroad. While this area did experience unprecedented growth, many of the towns and subdivisions of this era never got much beyond the paper stage.
An 1895 Lincoln County map shows that on the coastline between Yaquina Bay and the Alsea Bay, there wee six planned developments. From north to south they were: Highlands, For Far, Coast View, Seal Rock View, Seal Rocks Resort and Alsea.
For the most part, the stories of these places have yet to be uncovered. However, we do know something about Highlands, For Far and Seal Rocks Resort.
Seal Rock on the Central Oregon Coast
Photo Courtesy of Julie Hendricks
Highlands and For Far were developed by
William Grant, a Scotsman who was described in a newspaper of
a hard working tailor from Corvallis. In 1888 Grant began
in the City of Highland, located two and a half miles south of
Bay. Grant offered one-acre lots for $100 each.
Apparently Grant sold his lots at a tidy profit and in turn purchased 138 acres sough of Highlands which he named For Far after a village in Scotland. The plat for For Far was drawn into blocks of four 135-square-foot lots, each lot selling for $100. Grant constructed a hotel on his property, which was destroyed by fire in 1893.
Seal Rock was the terminus of the
& Yaquina Bay Wagon Road, the first road to reach the Oregon
from the Willamette Valley. The townsite was platted in 1887 and
hotel was built. Development lagged and the federal and assets
company were transferred, at least on paper, to the Oregon
promotion of Colonel
Egerton Hogg. The area has a
history, dating back to the mid-1800s.
In 1868, Capt. A. W. Chase located Seal Illahee. The name Illahee signifies earth or stone, in Chinook jargon, and these rocks, lying about three quarters of a mile from the shore, were at that time and are yet the breeding ground for the Stellar seal, that have proven so destructive to fish and so attractive to the thousands who annually visit the Cliff House on the coast of California, near the City of San Francisco.
Yaquina Bay, with its splendid coast fisheries extending north and south of Yaquina Bay a distance of 75 miles, abounding in a variety of fish, the quality and quantity of which cannot be found elsewhere in Oregon, was destined to furnish the great interior with this valuable commodity, very much as the lakes furnish white fish for the people of the western states. It was one of the many dormant resources which the completion of the Oregon Pacific Railroad helped develop. The pleasure seekers then and now come here and spend a day or a week along the coast fishing, after the style of those who "go down to the sea" on the Eastern coast, and cast a line for a codfish, bluefish or mackerel. At that time, it was speculated that probably no place in Oregon would be so popular as the now nonexistent Yaquina City for the toiling thousands who, in later years, would come here to enjoy the ocean breeze, and for a time escape the heat of the valley. Naturally possessing greater attractions than other sea ports, early speculators thought little remained to be done to furnish accommodations and such "artificial amusements" as the public taste demands. Seal Rock is the terminus of an eight mile beach, and once characterized as being "one of the finest drives in the world." The land opposite the rock was described as being "well situated for hotel purposes, the purest water, cozy little rocks, and a delightful view of the coast and ocean." The inner ledge of rock is habitat to almost every variety of water fowl, while seals can be seen on the outer rocks, and with a glass of ordinary power, the habits of that strange animal could be observed. There being no reserved seats on the rock, actual possession maintained by a constant warfare is the rule. The scene is exciting, instructive and entertaining, and will attract the most indifferent.
Well protected from the north winds, Seal Illahee was billed as "suitable for sea bathing" during the early settlement period. "The beach is a shoal and full of warm places—natural bathtubs or bathing places, free from the danger of undertow; a child could play in these places with perfect safety."
The completion of the Oregon Pacific Railroad opened to capital many profitable investments, but it was speculated that "probably none, considering the outlay required, would prove more remunerative than the erection of a hotel and the improvement of grounds near Seal Rock," a challenge took up 1887 by Lydia Owens and James W. Brassfield who attempted to develop the area.
Ona Beach, Central Oregon Coast
Photo Courtesty of Julie Hendricks
Seal Rocks Resort 1887
South of Highlands and For Far, which
developed in 1888 by William Grant, a Scotsman who was described
of the day as a hard working tailor from Corvallis, was Seal
developed by Lydia Owens and James W. Brassfield in 1887.
born in Platt County, Missouri, January 16, 1840. His father,
R. Brassfield, was a Missouri pioneer in 1821. At the age of 14,
entered his father's store where he received his early education
mercantile business. In 1860, he moved to Saint Joseph, where he
for two years. He then joined a party of young men on their way
then known as the Golden State. Upon arriving at Fort Hall,
changed, and they ended up in Oregon.
In 1863, Brassfield moved to Harrisburg, where he was employed by Judge Hiram Smith, a pioneer of 1853, and one year later he was admitted as a partner under the firm of Smith & Brassfield.
January 1, 1865, he married Lydia Owens, a native of Kansas and a daughter of Col. Henry Owens, of Topeka, in Harrisburg, Kansas, January 1, 1865. The couple had five children: Arthur S., Hiram, Thomas, W. R., Frank O. and Sadie.
The firm of Smith & Brassfield continued for ten years, after which the Brassfields sold out and started a store in Junction City where they did business until 1881.
In 1887, Lydia and James Brassfield sold out again and moved to Yaquina Bay where they opened a general store. They purchased the well known Seal Rock property—one of the most delightful places on the Pacific Coast—and filed a plat map showing their holdings divided into 600 lots.
In 1885, historian David Fagan wrote that the place, together with a large tract of land adjoining,
was then the property of James W. Brassfield, a merchant of Newport, who erected a fine residence near the beach and a short distance south of Seal Rock, where his family in the summer months resided and enjoyed the beauties of nature and the ceaseless roar of the surf, which at this place is truly magnificent; and, fortunate indeed is he who is permitted to enjoy the hospitality of the Brassfields. At this point are shell beds, indicating that it had been the home of the Coastal Indians for generations, as the beds are numerous and range in depth of one to six feet.
Three entire blocks were dedicated for hotel
A year later, two additions to Seal Rocks Resort were mapped.
The couple managed to build a hotel and sell a few lots before getting into financial trouble. Many of their lots were deeded to a Portland creditor. Of the few lots they sold, most were abandoned by their purchasers and sold at auction by the county for as little as $9 a piece.
The post office was established April 25, 1890, with Brassfield postmaster. Now a community post office out of Waldport, Seal Rock is on US-101, the Oregon Coast Highway. It was named for the several smaller rocks, but is called Seal Rock for the one large rock at the shoreline.
In the past, a pedestrian-friendly community with well-organized streets, parks, and public gathering places was, for the most part, a sales pitch. The vision of developers is being rekindled in many Lincoln County communities, and people are now actively working to make such improvements a reality.
Today, the chainsaw sculptures of Ray Kowalski and Brian McEneny are featured prominently at Seal Rock.
Drift Creek was the first post office
be established in the Alsea Bay area. Located three miles north
the Drift Creek office was established August 6, 1874, with
postmaster, and was named for the accumulation of drift wood on
of the stream which enters the eastern end of the Bay.
The name of the office was changed to Collins on January 31, 1876, in honor of George W. Collins who was born in Spencer, Kentucky, April 22, 1832.
In 1846 Collins moved to Adams County, Illinois. The family migrated to California in 1850, where Collins was a miner until 1853, when he moved to Jackson County and took part in the Rogue River Indian Wars.
Collins first settled in the Lower Alsea area. In 1857, he moved to the Siletz area, worked in the early 1860s as an employee on the Coast Reservation. From 1864 through 1869 he was Indian subagent in charge of the Alsea Agency until he was relieved by Lt. Beatty.
In 1871, Collins located on a farm near Seal Rock. Collins' report for 1864 shows 580 Indians at the Alsea Agency.
The Coos and Umpqua tribes of Indians have
place comfortable houses to live in; they have two barns and
houses. The Syouslaus (Siuslaw) have, mostly, frame houses,
with clapboards. The Alsea Indians have a few frame houses, but
them are Indian style, built under ground, or very nearly so.
Umpqua Lighthouse 1953
Photo Courtesy of Julie Hendricks
When David Ruble became postmaster of
the site moved from the north to south shore of Alsea Bay.
The name of this office was changed to Waldport on June 17, 1881, and back to Collins on February 23, 1882. Ruble lost the position of postmaster during this transition. This post office in Waldport may have been on the north side of Alsea Bay, not on the south side.
Collins was changed to Lutgens (or Lutjens) on May 1890, and Lutgens was changed to Stanford July 29, 1883. W. C. Shepard was first postmaster while the office was so named, but the reason for the Stanford name has been obscured.
The post office retained that name until June 21, 1897, when it became Lutgens again. Albert H. Lutgens was postmaster of this office, located four miles south of Seal Rock on the north shore of Alsea Bay.
On April 24, 1917, the name of the office was changed to Nice, in honor of Harry Nice, a prominent Alsea Bay resident during the last part of the 19th Century. Nora L. Strake was first postmaster of this final office, which closed to Waldport on November 15, 1919. This post office had eight names during its 45 years of service, possibly a record. No other Oregon office appears to have approached this mark. It is obvious that the office was moved a number of times. However, the offices mentioned above were all in the general vicinity of Alsea Bay.
Catherine Wheelock Settles Drift Creek
Tens and thousands of immigrants in
wagons headed westward after the Civil War.
Hitching teams of horses or oxen to their heavily loaded prairie schooners, these pioneers headed West, braving the perils of mountains, deserts and hostile Indians, seeking new homes and better lives.
Many accounts have been written of such trips, most stressing the danger and excitement and omitting day to day details such as: What did they carry in the wagon to sustain them on the journey? What of the children? How were they entertained and how were they kept safe on the long dangerous trek?
In 1938 Catherine Wheelock, who was born in a little sod house in Nebraska in 1874, wrote the story of how she and her family left Kansas in 1898 and finally arrived on the Oregon Coast to make a home on the banks of the Alsea River.
Fisherman Mural Newport, Oregon 2002
Photo Courtesy of Julie Hendricks
There were two of us children, my
Will and myself. Will was about one and a half years older than
we saw little of each other as our father passed away when we
and at the age of four, Will went to live with our grandparents
father's side, while I remained with mother. Mother remarried
two years old. Elisha Crossett, my stepfather, was a good
Mother, Dad and I lived in a little valley called Turkey Creek, a fair sized creek which emptied into the Republican River.
The sod house or dugout, commonly called a cellar, was quite comfortable inside. That was where my sister Rosa was born in 1880. I was sent to visit mother's sister, Aunt Mary. Napponee was a very small town with a post office where we got our mail, and two stores.
We lost our mother in 1887. I then joined my brother at my grandmother's and grandfather's home. Fruit and vegetables were extra scarce and what there was we dried. The corn was cut from the cob and dried. Pumpkins and squash were sliced in thin slices and strung on long strings and hung to dry. Beans were also strung and dried. Peaches and apples were sliced and dried.
In a good season it was a very common occurrence for neighbors from miles around to gather all the boxes and tubs and go to the wild plum thickets to pick all the plums they could along with wild grape and choke cherries. These were dried except for what we used in what was called leather. Leather was made by putting fruit through a colander, boiled down without sugar, until it was very thick. It was then spread on plates and set in the hot sun to dry. When dried it was rolled into rolls and put in sacks so that when a small amount was needed, it was soaked in water or steamed to soften. A little sugar was added and it was ready to eat. Tomatoes were often cared for in the same way.
For amusement we had parties, dances, and literary. Literary was usually held on a Wednesday night with a large number of people taking part in the program. Most always a school teacher was president. The older people would have debates while the youngsters sang and recited poetry.
Sundays we always went to Sunday School. Afterwards two or more families would come to our house and pool their food. The older folks would visit while the children would play.
There was no timber around and we burned corn cobs or cow chips for fuel. Many of the cattle lost their lives with pneumonia due to the cold, hard winters.
I tried to find work but there was no work. For those who were lucky enough to find work, wages were low, ranging from $2 up to $2.50 a week. In other cases from $3 to $5 a month. Those less fortunate were obliged to work for board and room with an occasional house dress made from calico, which cost from three to five cents a yard, and sometimes a dollar pair of shoes which were heavy and coarse, but appreciated just the same.
In May 1880, Arthur Wheelock and I
Arthur was by trade a harnessmaker and a shoe cobbler. The first
we took care of the Wheelock folks' ranch and let them go on
We were busy milking cows and feeding calves, and doing general
and making butter, and then selling it for three to five cents a
Coffee was priced at ten cents a pound. Tea dust was ten to 15 cents a pound. Flour cost from 50 to 65 cents for 49 pounds.
Arthur was helping a neighbor drive some cattle to market when his horse stepped into a prairie dog hole and the horse fell, breaking Arthur's shoulder. So, the folks had to come home.
During that winter Arthur herded cattle for his father out on the prairie. They were trying to save them by that method as there was no feed. It was so cold that even a person with a heavy overcoat and a heavy comforter wrapped over all could not keep war, but they saved most of the cattle.
West for Work
In April 1891 Arthur left with two
and went West in search of work. Near Brush, Colorado he went to
a ranch for $20 a month. After he had worked six weeks he sent
Brush was a small town on the Texas trail herd line. As soon as the herds started through, Arthur started riding as wages were better and the work more steady. After going through to Wyoming and Montana, he would return to ride in round-ups, then on to the threshing crew.
Arthur had the misfortune to hurt that shoulder again and could not ride and rope cattle. He started up his old work repairing harness and saddles, making quirts, black snakes and shoe cobbling.
In August 1892, our first daughter, Florence, was born. If you ever saw two happy people, we were them.
During the years 1895 and 1896 we kept track of our every earning and it amounted to $18 for 1895 and $19 for 1896.
Back to Kansas
In 1896 we went back to Kansas to
mother's farm to help her. I had decided to raise a lot of
set ten hens and had nearly 100 chicks. They did real well. When
about the size of quail we heard the thunder heads over head
They sky looked like a cyclone might be coming. Arthur was
horses in the filed of corn and I rushed out and helped him get
the barn. Then we tried to get the chickens under cover. They,
hard to manage, but we got a few in when the storm broke loose,
a tornado and cloud burst. Hail stones as large as hen’s eggs.
poured through our house about half way to our knees in depth,
the girls were safely on the bed, Arthur and I waded around
up our chickens. We saved only 29 out of 150. The crops were
beaten to the ground. All that was left of the early corn was
and stalks. Hail was so thick over the ground we could scoop it
That year people lived by trading produce. Men exchanged work for good as pay. Then in the winter some one would furnish a team and wagon and men would go on jack rabbit hunts. Their kill would be divided among the hunters.
The next year was a little better. We
and traded around until we got a small team. We had made up our
go West as soon as possible and keep on going until we found
And we were determined to start with whatever we had in the spring. Arthur picked corn nearly all winter. On April 26, 1898 we were all set to go with 30 days provisions for the family and team and $30 cash.
The team weighed about 1,000 pounds apiece. The horse, Bill, a bay, had a bad foot—a quarter crack in the hoof. A special shoe was required and we brought along several pair. The wagon was put in good shape such as setting tires and putting on mountain brakes. Pet, the other horse, was a dappled gray.
The prairie schooner, or covered wagon, was equipped as follows: there was a built-in bed, and under our bed were our worldly possessions which were not much. The mess box, built in the back end of the wagon, was a regular cupboard with shelves, a box for silverware, and a most important compartment for a sour dough jar. The door to the mess box let down on legs forming a table to eat from.
Leaving Dad behind, we were on our way, but didn't get far the first three days. Our first stop at my grandparents' to bid them goodbye. Grandmother gave us an armload of pieplant.
The day Carrie was two, we were on the western plains of Kansas for sure. All went well for a few days. Then one day when we started out, quite a strong wind was blowing. It kept on getting stronger as we traveled and the dust was fierce. By lunchtime it was almost impossible to travel and we battled a perfect gale. At times it seemed that the wagon would tip over.
We were prepared for the times when we would have to make a dry camp, and of course this was one of them. While Arthur was putting the nose bags on the horses for grain (no hay), I set about making a shelter with a quilt to protect the girls. We gathered together as best we could and had canned tomatoes and crackers. Arthur was squatted, sitting on one heel, with his tin plate of tomatoes, when a gust of wind upset his plate all down the seat of his pants. Up he jumped and started wiping his pants with a gunny sack. He was so mad! I was so tickled that I was obliged to keep on the other side of the wagon until I could keep my face straight.
There were no highways of course, just roads and sometimes very poor ones. We never planned to drive over 20 miles a day and many a day much less, depending upon the weather and roads. Most always we started early in the morning. If, by chance, we came across a grassy place, Arthur would pull the harness off the horses and let them eat and rest for about an hour. At noon we stopped two hours as a rule, and camped about five in the evening.
Toward evening when the horses began to lag, Arthur would get out and walk ahead of them. My, how they would dig into their collars and perk right up, for they soon learned what this meant. When Arthur found a suitable spot, the horses needed no guiding, and as Arthur would walk in a circle and wave his arms in the location of the wagon, Pet and Bill would set it in place themselves very neatly.
Across the Rockies
We had been on the road two weeks when
began to rain and snow causing so much slush we were unable to
We stopped at Burlington, Colorado. After about a week there the
changed so we decided even though the roads were bad, we would
way each day.
Our little coal oil lamp was used to heat water, make coffee, fry hot cakes, eggs and such, and at the same time heat the wagon. Of course this was a slow process but we had worlds of time while waiting for weather conditions to improve. I was very busy most of the time with keeping the children clean, mending, darning and sewing. Then when the children became restless they must be amused, so we would play such as drifting off into the land to make believe. There would be a duck in a pond—where was the pond? We played house and made believe we were calling on the neighbors and the like. Then we had a pound coffee can of buttons and they would string these and also cut out paper dolls.
Near Denver, the dirt road up the mountain side was so narrow that a man afoot would be obliged to climb to where places were fixed for passing before a wagon could ever get by him. On such passing places where wagons met, the men took pry poles to work one wagon over as far as they could hold it while the other wagon worked its way around foot by foot.
On our team we had a loud bell while others had horns. These were used mostly on the long stretches between passing places. When two teams met on these stretches the one on the upgrade would be obliged to back to the passing place.
On these zig-zagging roads it was very difficult at times to find a camping spot large enough to clear passing wagons. There was lots of freighting done by wagon in those days.
When we reached Denver we were told the only pass open was the Berthoud Pass over the Rockies. With much enthusiasm, one fine evening, we reached the foothills thinking we would go right through. It was there that we found 14 others camped for the night. Taking our usual procedure to safeguard the children from all illness, we camped a little to ourselves. After having our supper Arthur went over to chat with the others. There he was informed a storm had just passed through and blocked the pass.
The US mail was being taken over on horseback so only one narrow trail was made through the very deep snow. This was a calamity as no one had any experience with deep snow. Only one bobsled was to be found and everyone being skeptical hung back, each waiting for the others to make a start. After about a week had passed, Arthur and another man traveling with his 17-year-old son decided to make a break. The two men started out early morning and walked over the pass. The summit was about three miles wide. No one ever found out how deep the snow was. Upon returning to camp that night plans were made to break another trail. This breaking was done by men forming a line and tramping the snow down which took several days. The new development took on an added difficulty, as the horses, as well as the people, were baffled over it. Finally, the only two teams that would stay on the trail were ours and that team of the man who helped all the way through. The rest were blindfolded and led across.
Arthur and the new friend started on our outfits in this manner, by packing and leading the horses across in the early morning when all was frozen. In the meantime, another sled had been rigged up. After removing the wheels from the wagons the beds were set on these sleds and pulled up and over the pass.
We were the first two over the pass. Arthur, not wanting to leave the girls and me over there alone, left a boy with us. I was very pleased even if there didn't seem to be any danger. I wasn't brave. Fixing up a camp below the snow line, the men would go back late at night and start out early in the morning, taking two wagons a day. That took about a week. No one could go across in the middle of the day without snowshoes, which no one had. The whole outfit was very lucky and moved everything across safely. We saw some places where the horses had gone completely crazy. Some went snow blind and had to be shot. Our team was very tired and stiff and lame, and broken out with water blisters caused from snow burns.
We now headed for a cousin of mine who lived in Colorado. We felt we could stay a while and rest. Arthur was feeling poorly and we thought a rest would soon help him. We had been there about two days when Arthur, walking out into the yard, fell over into a coma. I was scared stiff!
Charlie said, "I bet Arthur has mountain fever." Knowing nothing about this fever, I would sure have lost him, but the cousins took over. I was very grateful. There are two kinds of mountain sage—the black and the white. I do not remember which they used, but they made strong tea for him, which was nasty tasting, but it broke the fever in about two weeks.
As soon as we could, we were on our way again. First thing, we became confused in the roads, so took off across country in the general direction we wanted to go with no roads. We had a bad time getting out of the foothills.
Our aim was to get up to the divide and to the main road. By so doing we had a very steep climb and very sidling one. I will never know why the wagon didn't tip over. On this sidling place, I got out on the upper side of the wagon, stood on the break beam with Carrie under my left arm on my hip, and hung on with the other hand. Florence was on the edge so I could grab her if the wagon went over. Arthur was also on the upper side of the wagon driving and talking to Pet and Bill to give them courage, and it did. For again we won out and reached the road safely. Those were sure some exciting times!
Living Off the Land
In crossing the divide or plateau, the
and feed were wonderful. We made camp for three or four hours to
team enjoy themselves.
There were a lot of cattle around there and some were very tame. While Arthur was hunting rabbits and birds for dinner, one of these cows came nosing around, so I got me a five pound pail, and I proceeded to tray to get some milk. She kept stepping around so I got a rope and tied her up and I filled my pail for the girls. Presently Arthur came with a rabbit and we all had one nice feed.
One afternoon we were going through a very narrow valley. There were trees all around and no underbrush. It was a lovely place to camp and by a small creek. A little old man lived close to the road and we asked if we might camp there. He said, "Yes, you may camp any place you like and stay as long as you like." We were very delighted but stayed only over Sunday. On a hillside, up the road a little farther, a flock of what seemed to be grouse or prairie chickens were feeding. We were both pretty good shots only having the .22 special. Arthur took good aim and hit one. As the others weren't frightened, Arthur said, "I better get a couple more so we can have enough for two or three days." Well, it did seem queer that they didn't do much scattering, but we got what we thought we could handle nicely. We dressed them out and the meat was nice and white and they were sure fat. We ate one and the taste was delicious, but my, what a sick bunch we were that night. Next day Arthur was telling the old man about the birds and how funny they acted when shot into. Right then the man told Arthur we had eaten fools hen and that they did make people sick. No more fools hens for us from then on.
Short on Water
From there the water was getting
so we had to make longer drives at times. As we were nearing
it was getting very hot and dusty. Two men on horseback came
were riding hard and their horses were all covered with foam.
they said it was a hard ride. Arthur asked how far it was to the
we could use. They answered that it was about 20 miles. At noon
to Powder Springs. This water was muddy and milky and also full
tails. We got out every possible water container and strained
and filled them all. No cooking that night. We drove as long as
see, ate lunch and fed the horses. We gave the horses a little
put them out on their picket ropes. Most everything was dried up
would find a stray blade of grass if there was any to be found.
Powder Springs in those days was very noted for horse rustlers, so we didn't sleep very much that night. Once in a while one of the horses would give a big snort, or maybe both would. Looking off across country at what seemed to be the foothills or buttes, there were flashes that looked like signals of some sort that would flare up bright, then die down to a speck like a star. Morning did not come too soon to suit us, for bright and early we were on our way expecting a long hard drive that day. We wanted to get as far as we could that day before it turned out hot.
To our surprise at seven that morning we had gotten the 20 miles to the water that was supposed to be not fit for use. Arthur took his little old tin cup down for a sample and then brought me a drink. There wasn't anything wrong with the water, just a little alkali, but not bad. We made camp and watered the horses and up jumped a cotton tail. Arthur grabbed the .22 and soon was back with the rabbit, and along with sourdough biscuits, of course, we had a wonderful breakfast.
We proceeded to dump the strained water and refill with the good fresh water from the creek. After that we did have a long hard drive from Friday at 10am until Saturday at 3pm. We spotted a nice little green spot with willows here and there about a mile sand a half off the road. It looked like a bit of heaven to us.
Arthur said, "This is where we camp over the weekend if no one cares."
When the team was headed that way they sure pricked up their ears and took a new start and lease on life. Looking the place over, it was all we had hoped for. Here someone was living and Arthur walked over to the house. He received a lovely greeting and we were told we could stay.
The creek was clear as crystal so we made the best of it and had a regular house cleaning. Clothes were washed and bedding and other clothing put out in the sun. We made pin fish hooks for the girls and they had the time of their lives with willow poles and string, fishing for fish that were not there. It was just like pulling teeth to leave this place, but we must plod on.
On a downhill grade the road was full
chuck holes, bunch grass and some sage brush. The girls were
old Nick, playing hop toad on the bed back of the seat. I had
back of Carrie's dress when about that time the wagon hit a rock
hopped all at the same time. Even though we had the wagon
down, Florence went out right on her back with her arms
I went after her, scared stiff. I yelled to stop the wagon, and
pulled to a stop with brakes, and the wheel stopped just up to
thing's arm. If our horses had not been well trained, she would
doubt been badly hurt. But as it was, shock and nerves and a
up, but that stopped the hop toad for the day.
Our funds were getting low so while plodding along one day, Arthur said, "I wish I could get a few days work somewhere." Just about that time we came to where a new barn was being built. We were hailed down and the owner asked if Arthur didn't want to work for a few days. Arthur worked there about ten days and the morning we started out, we came upon a man haying who wanted help. That was fine as the two jobs gave us a grubstake again.
One night we camped in a heavy timbered, mountainous place with yellow pine, but sort of spooky-like. Arthur said, "I'll bet there are bears around here." Staying right in the road to camp, we cooked our supper and went right to bed. We were just nicely to sleep when all of a sudden the wagon gave a big lurch and rocked a little. Pet gave a big snort. Arthur grabbed his .22 and slipped out the front of the wagon so sly and easy, and paused only to say, "Oh hell! Its only Bill trying to get to the potato peelings." Each night I would divide the peelings, but that night I had forgotten it. The horses were tied to the back end of the wagon and they couldn't quite reach them.
Driving along the next morning we came to an open space. Looking a little to one side, we saw a most beautiful picture. Three fine elk were standing in the grass up to their ribs. They stood there while we drove away. We never tried to get any big game as there was plenty of smaller game such as grouse, squirrels, rabbits and sage hens. The sage hens use their wings very little to fly, but they sure can outrun a horse. The first one I fixed up nicely, as a stewing hen. I cooked it all one evening and the next day while laying over. But still all we could eat was the breast. The legs are full of sharp bones and the wings have nothing on them to speak of. After that the young ones were sliced and fried, while the older ones were stewed. I baked our bread in a Dutch oven while on rest or when camped long enough.
Gradually we were getting into new country. The next farmhouse we came to had apples surrounding the house. The apples were so red they just made our mouths water—especially since all we had been used to was the sour fruit of the Middle West.
The season was getting shorter and we were shoving on as rapidly as we could across the southwestern part of Wyoming. At Baggs, angling across country northeast, we came to Bitter Creek, Rock Springs and finally Bear Lake. In Utah we camped a couple of days by some wheat fields.
Wild geese wee very thick but extra wild. Even as hard as Arthur tried, he had no luck.
From there we went to Soda Springs through the Blackfeet Reservation, around small hot springs, trying to keep on the old Oregon Trail, as near as we could, whereby missing some of the larger towns and Smoke Mountains.
One day a man on a Bannock Indian pony came alongside of us. He asked if he might travel along with us for a few miles or days. Arthur gave his permission, so Bannock as we called him, not knowing his name, traveled along with us for about two weeks. Just as suddenly, he disappeared while passing through a town. It was here we entered Bannock County, Idaho where there were miles and miles of black lava beds in huge tiers resembling the slag we find in coal. There were great ridges that looked like they might have been tossed there by hand, little by little. This was cut up by great deep crevices from four to six feet wide. Then along one side there were a rock that looked like it had cooled while still coiling. It sure was a sight to us.
Going Into the Wood Business
Nothing very terrific happened along
there and we went on to Ridgefield, Boise, and north to a little
called Whealon, near Pullman. At Whealon I had some relatives.
was busy harvesting so Arthur helped with the work while we had
making a few dollars at the same time. Our next stop was Moscow,
A lot of surprising things awaited us there. One was that Aunt Phoebe and Uncle Andy were also at Moscow, and they had come just before us. We had taken the same trail.
These people were in the wood business. We joined them and obtained some stumpage, set up our tent, and made ready to get busy. Funds were short but we were used to roughing it so we knew we would get by somehow.
Wood cutting was surely a strong livelihood for us, but with Uncle Alf and Uncle Andy for instructors, we both soon learned, what with a few hard knocks thrown in. The biggest job was learning to pile and load it on the wagon so it would look best and bring the most money, which was only $3 and $4 a cord.
Arthur and I worked together falling trees two and three feet high. We would mark them off in lengths and I would saw while he delivered a load. When he returned he would split the next load if I had enough sawed. I always had the .22 with me, often times getting two or three pine squirrels, rabbits, or grouse for meat.
Living on the Mountain
We lived in the tent until November
we found a house farther up the mountain. The very next day
in, there came a snow storm. It was such a beautiful sight even
the fence posts were covered in no time. There was no wind and
feathery flakes piled up fast. That ended my part of the wood
There was an old dry well but no running water so I melted snow that winter for all purposes. Our food was very slim. It consisted of mostly bread, potatoes, prunes and what snow rabbits we could get. We didn't go hungry, and that year we had plenty of wood for warmth.
During the time we were getting settled, Uncle Andy and Aunt Phoebe had sold their place at the foot of the mountain and bought an acreage of timber on the mountain a little way from us. The winter was long and hard.
We cut wood so hard and steady that next summer—every day except Sunday. The steady hauling of heavy loads and so much mountain climbing was too much for Pet and Bill. Arthur would load with grain and hay for winter feed. On many of these trips he would not return until midnight. We bought a third horse—Daisy. So every third day one horse could have a full day of rest. Daisy was skiddish and would shy at anything.
I was taking Florence to school on horseback. One day when it came to Daisy's turn, I started out with Carrie on my lap and Florence behind me, loading the children from two stumps where I had put them before. Having rained the night before, there were puddles in the road, and it was muddy besides. We had gone a long way very nicely when all of a sudden Daisy heard something, or thought she did, jumped sideways, dumping us all off in the mud and water! Florence landed on her back in a puddle. Try as hard as I could, there just wasn’t any getting back on that fool mare as she wouldn't get near a stump. So the children and I had to walk home muddy, wet and mad, leading Daisy. After all this, Arthur found a place with an old couple for Florence to board and go to school from there.
One day I was frightened, with my teeth fairly chattering and with Carrie behind me hanging on to my skirts, peeping around. Outside two Indians rode up into the yard, jabbering and making signs. Finally I guessed they wanted the ax. I ran out and handed it to one of them, holding my breath. They nodded their heads and rode away up the mountain, returning in the evening with the ax. At the same time they showed me some moss they had gathered. It had been another experience not to be forgotten.
About the water situation. The dry well had some water in it after the snow melted a little, and as long as there was snow, but going dry about mid-summer. About a half mile down the side of the mountain was a wonderful spring but it was too far and steep to walk with only a trail besides. We had two five gallon cans with bails. I would tie these cans together with rope by each bail and long enough to go over Pet's back as she was very steady. Going to the spring I would lead her and let her have her fill of water. Then I would put the rope across her back with cans dangling, fill them with water, then I would get on, too, and we would plod along to the house. Every other day I made three trips—two in the morning and one in the evening.
We spent two winters up on this mountain. The last winter Bill hurt his foot with the quarter crack in the hoof, which of course kept him from working. In fact, I melted snow and carried water out to him to drink.
In the spring we bought a four-acre tract of timber which had a one-room shack on it and an old log house. The log house we used for a barn for hay and for horses. A little creek flowed by the barn that seemed ideal, having been so long without water.
Arthur built me a chicken house and park so I could raise chickens. Well, the park came a little later. Before I knew it, the coyotes were helping themselves to the chickens quite often. One of these times I heard the commotion, so I grabbed the .22 and ran out to see the coyote running off with one of my fryers. I shot the coyote and he dropped the chicken. However, he had broken its back. I followed the coyote as there was blood on the trail a little ways down. I don't think it was hurt badly, but anyway it never bothered my chickens anymore.
By the way, this was when William McKinley (1843-1901) was assassinated.
An old tabby cat chose our barn to raise her kittens and she was cross, but Carrie was bound to play with her. One day Carrie climbed the ladder nearby to the top. Tabby looked out the window and scared Carrie. She turned around on the ladder as if to walk down and fell to the bottom. I heard the screams and ran out to pick her up only to find her unconscious. I ran for water which I spilled on her face, and finally she came to. I think that ended the ladder climbing for Carrie, for a time at least.
Florence was still boarding out, but in the fall she took cold causing a bad case of quinsy. She was sick a long time so there was no school for her that year.
We had a little old hatchet used for making kindling. One day the girls were playing in the yard by the chopping block. Carrie laid her hand on the block and said, "I bet you can't hit my thumb." Florence ups with the ax and hit it as hard as she could. The thumb wasn't cut badly—bruised mostly. For punishment I made Florence sit by her bed all day and playing nurse maid. This proved quite a task and certainly was plenty of punishment.
Snow had covered the ground. Arthur had gone to Moscow with a load of wood and the children and I were home alone. All of a sudden the chickens made a terrible fuss. My first guess was a weasel or coyote, so I grabbed the .22 and dashed to the barn. There was the nicest white rabbit I had ever seen. I didn't think anything about it being white as the native snow ones always turned white in the winter. So I shot it. While I was dressing it I noticed it had pink eyes. This was something I had never seen before. Anyway, I fixed it up and cooked it for supper. When Arthur came home, I thought before we ate it, I had better tell him how it looked, as it might not be good. Arthur said, "Oh, you just killed the neighbor's pet rabbit is all." The people were about a mile away, camped in an old shack. I was sorry and there were no more of its kind around. All I could do was apologize.
This was the first part of the winter of 1901. We were getting along fine—working in the deep snow and hauling through the cold weather, as it really gets cold there. Arthur would come home with his coat collar all covered with ice and frost, and icicles on his mustache where his breath had frozen. Not being very husky in the first place, weighing 124 pounds, he began to have rheumatism at times.
About the first of January, 1902, there really came a big snow storm getting about three or four feet deep. On January 3, the girls wanted to go play with a little girlfriend, Rose, so we told them they could, but wait for their daddy to come get them again. They went away happy as larks and while they were away for overnight, the stork brought us a baby boy, Daniel. The next morning Arthur went after them and told them they had a brand new baby brother. Florence was so happy she could hardly wait for the time to see him. But Carrie was six and had always been the baby; she wasn't so happy about it at all.
At this time we had some very cold weather. Arthur kept a roaring fire and most of the time the box heater was red hot. The heater stood to one side of the center of the room, but at the other end by the cook stove, water would freeze. We had three days of this kind of weather.
West to Washington
That summer we sold our place, and as
relatives had moved through from Nebraska to Washington, we
see some more of the country and started out with the old
The towns were quite far apart. Feed for the horses was scarce through the barren country. The space on the back of the wagon was only large enough for one bale of hay. We were caught short of food for ourselves. Sourdough biscuits, beans, and a little fruit I had canned were all we had.
There was not much for the horses to eat except vast acres of sagebrush and too much of that would make them loco. We drove 22 miles to the river, but could not find the ferry. We took the next day going back to the ranch only for them to tell us that the ferry was two miles downriver.
Next day we gathered up our courage and drove that 22 miles back again, which was simply awful. Sixty-six miles and so little for the horses to eat. That night I had two biscuits for the children. Arthur and I did not eat. During the night Pet got loose and we had quite a time finding her, but while on the hunt, Arthur shot two quail for the children. As for Pet, she had found a stray patch of willows in the sand. After that Arthur struck out to find the ferry. Finally he found the man but he had a bunch of freighters to ferry and couldn't get to us until 3pm. Then when we did get across it was getting dusk. That night the ferry man let us have a little food and some feed for the horses. We drove as long as we could in the down pour of rain. Our bedding was dampened a great deal. The next day we came to a farmhouse. Here we managed to get enough hay to feed the horses.
Ellensburg was the next town we came to and we surely stocked up on provisions.
Keeping the northwest route we came to Snoqualmie Pass and Lake Keechelus. Ferrying across one end we found a very narrow road, up and down very sharp pitches. There were big rocks and boulders in the road making it extremely hard for the horses to hold their footing. Some places they would have to almost lift the front wheels onto and over the rocks. Then in some places the road was just a few feet above the lake which was dark and deep and scary.
Very dangerous and trying times were ahead of us. Had it not been for very steady horses, also faithful and gentle, we would never had made it. Several places we had to use block and tackle. Arthur would fasten one end of a rope to a tree ahead, hitch the team to the end of the wagon tongue, and use the guide rope in the end of the tongue.
My job was to put the children on the bank out of danger, and as the wagon moved ahead a few inches, I would put chunks under the back wheels while the horses rested. It took us nine hours to go three miles and along that lake there were places that wagons had tipped over and were still there. It seemed as though people had lost most of their possessions, possibly some lives and teams. But than goodness our little old team was true and steady. They would get down on their knees to hold the wagon until I could get it blocked. We began to think we didn't want to see the other side of the mountain. Once out of danger we sure were a weary bunch. Florence took care of the children which was a handful with the baby and Carrie wanting to play house on the moss.
It seemed as though all the last end of the trip was tough. We came along by a little country school. The teacher sent out a couple of girls to ask us if we were Gypsies and would we tell their fortune. Arthur was very provoked. He said, "We may look like Gypsies but we are just traveling through to Sumas." I must say, I didn’t blame anyone for taking us for Gypsies. We were wet, dirty, and tired out—the horses as well as ourselves.
Here it was wet and rainy. Arthur worked in a shinglemill but was sick for a good part of the time. The Girls went to school. Daniel got pneumonia and it was a task getting him over that. Even the horses got mud fever and the hair came off the lower part of their legs.
Frank Lee Buker (1860-1931), his wife, Cora Elizabeth (1868-1966), and family became good friends of us. They had two girls about grown, and a son about 14. They too, were sick of the snow, slush, and rain. They decided to find a better place, if possible. Frank's family was older and we had the horses, so Frank was selected to do the scouting.
Frank started out hitching down the
He soon wrote that he had found the ideal place at Waldport. He
and he believed we would also.
We loaded up the schooner and with the faithful horses we started out. The weather was getting better now as it was in the spring and this made traveling a pleasure.
We went down until we went through a little town called Corvallis with a mud road through the main street. About nine miles west we came to a wide spot in the road and this was Philomath. Here we were looking for a place to camp when a man driving a gray team and wagon came up to us. He lived on down the coast and was going to camp at a little place called Alsea. He thought we could camp there too. The man was a fish peddler and had been sent to the valley with a load of fish. His name was John Kent. We saw no more of Kent for some time.
Digger Mountain was our next bad one but we had traveled some that were worse on the Rockies and the Colorado Divide. This took us about tow days to get to Tidewater—a post office and a little country store which carried the necessities of groceries.
Waldport was our goal. The only way to get there was by launch, towing a scow, and no scow at that time of day. John Kent, knowing the conditions, had beaten us by about half a day, so we had to wait until the next day for the launch to come up the river on the incoming tide. We had some time so I shampooed the children's hair and had a cleanup in general.
Next morning Charlie Bobell brought the scow and took us 11 miles downriver to Waldport. We were met there by our friend, Frank Buker, who had found us a camp close to theirs. At this time the Elmore Hotel was run by Ms. Tyler.
Twenty-five dollars in cash was all we had when we landed in Waldport. On top of that things did not look too encouraging. It was as if we had at last come to the jumping off place. Waldport was seemingly just a sand pit. A few people had built up their lawns and flower beds, but mostly it was just plain beach sand.
That evening we visited with the Cora and Frank Buker. Arthur went out looking for prospects for making a few nickels. At the hotel he found a party of three who wanted to go down the beach to Yachats next day. There being no stages down that way, we unloaded the wagon and fixed our camp the best we could, then we were ready to take the party down the beach. We were paid $3 for the day's drive. From that day on Arthur had plenty to do, so we camped there quite a while.
After we got ahead enough, we moved into a house with two big whale bones forming an arch over the front walk. This house was also owned by Ms. Tyler. I did quite a lot of sewing. Arthur started a butcher shop in one room of our house, buying beef from the farmers. He was doing quite well until one farmer wanted to sell 20 head of cattle at once. We had no pasture so he could not take them. This made the party mad and he started selling them for three and four cents a pound on the block, which put us out of business.
In March of 1906 another baby came to make her home with us. We named her Julia. When Julia was four weeks old we loaded our belongings on a scow in place of the prairie schooner. Along with the children, Arthur, John Doyle (1873-1919), a hired man and I, towed the scow with a rowboat with two sets of oars. We set out on the incoming tide up the Alsea River four miles.
Photo Courtesy of Julie Hendricks
Drift Creek 1906
Finally we got our landing on Drift
but still had a mile to go up the mountainside on a flat shed we
a stoneboat. Some of the way was so steep we could hardly stay
At last we came to the house no one had lived in for several
and John had gone ahead a few days so had scrubbed and cleaned
as best they could. At one time two families lived there. A
barn, and quite a good sized orchard was on what we called the
Where we lived there was a nice barn for the horses, stanchions
or ten cows, a shed for young stock, and quite a large hay mow
drive-in, as well as a lean-to chicken house connecting. A
surrounded the garden plot and a rail fence around the orchard.
there was not much farming ground on the place. What there was
grown up to underbrush.
The people who had filed on the place had lived there a number of years putting up buildings, cutting off the cedar trees, making shakes, fence posts and fence rails. Then they moved away leaving it all. When we moved there we only had two horses and two hands with which to work.
Arthur worked away whenever he could get work. I cleaned and papered the house with newspaper. There weren’t any pretty pictures but it was clean and fresh.
The main part of the house had two rooms downstairs—one large livingroom-kitchen and a bedroom. The upstairs had two bedrooms and a hallway. There was a large porch with a large boulder to step on to the entrance. The yard was nice for the children to play in and there were quite a few flowers.
Down the hill was a milkhouse with the oh-so-cool water running through, and this was where we got our water. This, the children helped at and sometimes made a game of it.
When it came hop picking time that summer, we used the old prairie schooner again. We went to the Willamette Valley to Airlie and the children picked hops as well, making enough for their winter clothing. Baby Julia was five months old and we would take along a blanket and set her on the ground. She was happy and hardly ever caused any care. The other women helped to entertain her. Arthur and I averaged six baskets and the girls two together. At the end of the season, we had averaged $80 and were set for the winter.
The next spring we raised some chickens.
Our largest problem was school for the children. There were only three months of school out of the year and we had to figure to make every day count. There were only seven pupils—just enough to hold a district.
By the time school started, the main part on the spring and early summer work for the horses was finished, so the girls rode most of the time. They had three miles to go. Carrie, liking a little excitement once in a while, was assigned to Bill. With his lame foot and all, he wouldn't run unless necessary. Florence rode pet, but when Pet wasn't worn out she would run a coyote, cougar or bear which would be seen once in a while. There were other obstacles such as a creek to ford which they could do nicely during the summer, and a couple of gates to open and shut. One gate Florence had to get off to open and the other Pet soon learned to open with her mouth by lifting the latch. Once through, Pet would bunt the gate shut with her head.
When they arrived at school, the horses were picketed out for the day. Sometimes at recess, the teacher would take the seven children down to the creek to watch the otters play, but if the otters heard the slightest noise, they would disappear into the water.
Towards fall, work for the horses came up more often so the girls had to walk to school part of the time which presented another worry. There was a small foot log hewn out flat for them to cross at the first ford. There were goats on this place that attracted coyotes and cougar, but I soon learned it was part of the day’s routine and the girls made out all right.
That fall we bought 500 strawberry plants and set them out. We were so anxious for the time to come when we could have fresh berries of our own. With the fall work over there was the task or problem of preparing for the long winter. There being no recreation close enough for any of us to enjoy, we set about planning things for the girls to do. The girls were old enough now to learn to sew and do needle work. Then they would cut out pictures, and play games. We played cards with them at times. Spring came at last and everything went along in its stride.
We realized a few berries off the patch and they sure did taste good. On moon-lit nights we would blow out our lights and watch five deer eat leaves off the berry plants and play all around almost like a bunch of goats. It surely was a pretty sight. We didn't kill any of them to eat. They were too much like family pets in our minds.
Clothing took some figuring. For the children I made over all I could get a hold of. Then, our flour sacks were real nice muslin which came in mighty handy. I dyed them with Diamond dye and they made nice dresses for the Girls and aprons for myself. I had to be careful not to hang them in the sun to dry and the color stayed in for sometime. When faded, I dyed them again, sometimes changing the colors.
All the cupboards were made of boxes and box boards or whatever we could gather up. The table was homemade with a long bench on the side. The beds for a year or two were just like the sided boxes filled with straw, with canvas over the straw. Later we had straw ticks.
In due time our little calves had become cows and that was a happy time for all of us. I made some butter to sell besides having all the milk and butter we could use ourselves. The chickens were laying and we sold eggs for eight and ten cents a dozen, which all helped to make a living. Arthur set out our 80 hills of rhubarb and cultivated it so well we had rhubarb for everyone. Some of the stalks were three feet long and 13 inches around. Some of the leaves we measured were four feet across. The 13 inch would snap as readily as the smaller ones and was not one bit stringy. We had high hopes of selling it and so pulled it, weighed it, and tied bundles from one to five pounds each. Then we put it in sacks or boxes and took it to town.
We soon found there was no market for rhubarb. People would take it if given to them but not for pay. The load Arthur took to town he sold a few bundles of and then threw the rest into Yaquina Bay. The children gathered cow cabbage which grew in damp places beneath trees and this the restaurants would give 25 cents a gunny sack full for greens.
When the strawberries were ready for market we picked them, crated them and took them to town the eight miles on the outgoing tide. These sold very well.
There were wild berries—salmonberries, thimbleberries, huckleberries, and wild blackberries. These and the evergreens were picked and sold.
Arthur prepared a cellar and stored apples, potatoes, parsnips, squash, and pumpkins. I prepared jams, jellies, and mincemeat.
We raised our pork and put down sausage, steaks, and all that we could in deep fat. Arthur would catch a bear once in a while and this was very good mixed with pork.
Later, the people from the valley started coming to board with us during hunting and fishing seasons. We did not have accommodations enough for all of them, so decided to rent a place at the foot of the mountain and make a tent city, which we did. The dining tent was 16 feet by 24 feet. Mr. and Ms. John B. Horner and Daughters were the first to come from Corvallis. He was a history instructor at Oregon Agricultural College.
The winter we moved to our summer
we lost one of our faithful servants, Bill, at the age of 23,
Drift Creek at the ranch of A. M. Wheelock. Few horses at the
have traveled over the country as he and his mate had. Bill was
Kansas in 1893, came into the Wheelock possession in 1897. In
of 1898, Catherine and Arthur Wheelock and their family and team
overland to the Pacific Northwest, crossing part of Kansas,
Idaho, and Oregon to Washington. There they lived for five
crossing Washington to Sumas for eight months, and south across
and through Oregon to Waldport.
This team hauled a covered wagon for more than 4,000 miles, hauled wood in Idaho for five years, and helped clear and improve the homestead, many times hauling loads that a larger team would balk at, making long drives without water and sometimes short of food. Are they not entitled to the name of pioneer? Pet lived to be 29 years old.
In 1930 we sold everything but Pet and moved to Corvallis. On December 14, 1934 I lost my beloved husband in death.
by Rev. Marilyn A. Riedel I II
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