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A look at Oregon's History

Dorchester House, October 9, 1935.  North Lincoln County Historical Museum, Chandler

Earthquake History of Oregon

Oregon Coast History Information

Clatsop County Historical Society--1618 Exchange--Astoria 325-2203
Columbia River Maritime Museum--1792 Marine Dr. Astoria 325-2323
Fire Fighters Museum--2986 Marine Dr. Astoria 325-0920
Flavel House--441 8th Astoria 325-2563
Heritage Museum--1618 Exchange-- Astoria 325-8395
Fort Stevens State Park--Hammond, Oregon 861-0879
Seaside Museum & Historical Sociey--570 Necanicum Dr. Seaside, Oregon 738-7065

History of Lincoln City

Central Coast

In 1837, North Lincoln County received its first tourists and vacationers. The Reverend Jason Lee and his bride, Anna Marie Pittman, together with the Reverend's assistant, Cyrus Shepard and his new bride, Susan Downing, visited the area on their honeymoons in July of 1837. They traveled for four days on horseback from the Willamette Valley to reach the coast (today, visitors from the Willamete Valley can reach Lincoln City in 1 to 2 hours!).

Even though the region has been receiving vacationeers since 1837, the area surrounding Lincoln City has not opened to settlement until 1895. Two years prior to that , on February 20,1893, the county of Lincoln was formed by combining portions of Polk and Benton Counties.

Before the onset of white settelment in 1895, the region was inhabited by several branches of the Salish or Salishan Indians. These included the Tillamook, Nehalem and Siletz branches. Specifically, the Siletz River and he Siletz Bay areas at the south end of Lincoln City were the home of the Siletz branch. Today, the Siletz Pow-Wow is an annual event held to recognize and celebrate the important part of our past.

The first white settlers to the area were fisherman who were attracted by the large number of salmon that could be found in the Siletz and Salmon Rivers. Quick to follow were farmers and homesteaders. To access their homes and land, these early settlers used a military road that ran from Corvallis (in the Willamette Valley) to the Yaquina Bay and a road from Toledo to the Siletz River. From that point, travelers had to proceed upriver by boat.

By 1926, Highway 101, then known as the coast route or the Roosevelt Highway, was passable from Taft to Newport. In places it consisted of long streches of wooden planks approximately four feet above the ground. Particularly in the wintertime, "passable" must surely have been a matte of opinion!

On July 6, 1896, the first post office in the area was established in Kernville. It was housed in a fish cannery on the Siletz River. John Kern, brother of the town's founder, Daniel Kern of Portland, became North Lincoln County's firdt postmaster. In 1899, the Cutler City post office wa formed, and 1906, 1923, 1927 and 1929, those at Taft, Delake, Oceanlake and Nelscott, respectively, were established.

After the annexation of Wecoma Beach in 1955, it was decided that the area's residents would be serverd if the five townships of Cutler City, Taft, Delake, Oceanlake and Nelscott were consolidated into one. Additional srtife arose over the consolidation and naming of the new town. It quickly became evident that an entirely new name for the city was needed. Many suggestions were submitted and "Lincoln City" was ultimately chosen. On March 5, 1965, consolidation was voted in.

Today, Lincoln City is a thriving community strongly dependent on the tourism trade for its economic well-being. It has become a popular retirement area and is expanding in many areas of business and commerce as well.

Indian Folklore...The mystery of Devils Lake remains unsolved. The legend does not die but grows with retelling. Devils Lake was once known as Indian Bay until it was inhabited by an evil spirit. Siletz Indian warriors were sometimes mysteriously lost in the lake. On one occasion, as later recited by early white setters, Chief Fleetfoor dispatched his warriors across the waters. Suddenly in the moon path of the evening waters of the lake there was a turmoil. Gigantic tentacles wrapped themselves about the frail canoes. With cries of warning they were pulled below the surface never to be seen again. It is said that if a boat crosses the moons reflection at night in the center of the lake a strange chill of fear will be felt by the occupants of the boat. Even today great feasts and festivals are held on the shores of Devils Lake to pacify the spirit of the lake. 14,000 BC-----Devils Lake formed when sand dunes and beach deposits blocked the lower end of the valley drained by the D River. 1800's--------Devils Lake named for Indian legend 1900's--------Human activity around the lake contributed to a degradation of water quality. 1980----------Lincoln City qualified for an EPA Clean Lakes Phase 1 Diagnostics and Feasibility Study, the first step toward lake restoration. 1982----------Preservation Association of Devils Lake was formed to promote lake "clean-up" 1982----------Diagnostis and fesability study completed 1984----------Devils Lake Water Improvement District formed by vote of the people 1985--------- Devils Lake Water Improvement District qualified for an EPA Clean Lakes Phase II Restoration Grant using a multifaceted approach centered on biological controll of aquatic vegetation using grass carp. 1986--------Devils Lake stocked with 27,090 weed-eating Chinese Grass Carp (White Amur) 1986-92----Monitoring program to assess the effects of the Grass Carp on the weeds, gamefish, wildlife and water quality. Recreation increases as vegetation is reduced by the Grass Carp.


Seatka, the evil spirit of the ocean,lived along the coast. No good came from him. All the coast tribes feared him, for they knew how dangerous he was. The tribes of the far mountains feared him not and when they came to the coast to trade, they brought with them their families, horses and dogs and the children carried their pets. The great Chief Siskiyou was coming that Chinook moon of long ago, bringing with him his daughter, Ewauna. This was a great honor and a potlatch was planned by the four chiefs of the coast. Necomah, being the strongest of them all, was appointed by the other three chiefs as manager of the affair. Because of the determination to show how prosperous the coast nations were, the potlatch of all potlatches was decided upon. The days before the potlatch were busy for the coastal tribes. Necomah ordered great quantities of clams and mussels gathered and placed in huge mounds covered with sea moss and spicy leaves of the myrtle tree ready for the fire. Eight fat bear were readied for the hot spit. The Elks brought 100 salmon, cleaned and ready for the spits of green willow boughs under which glowed driftwood fires, the hot coals of which were best for the roasting. The old squaws tended these. The Sixes brought the meat of a dozen elk; the Rogues, 20 cayuses loaded with deer, dressed and ready for the feast. Under a long arbor of cedar trees, the tables were placed - logs split down the middle were used with flat side up. >From cedar bark, the squaws made huge trays which were filled with huckleberries and wild honey. Spoons of clam shells, plates of bark and cups, hollowed from burnt wood, kept the squaws busy, although plenty of time was allowed for the preparations. On the hills behind the camp, a lookout was placed to herald the approaching visitors. On the bluff, armed warriors were watching so that Seatka could not cause trouble. With a yell, the runners tell of the coming of the Siskiyou a day and a night off. Into the pit go the bear, elk and deer, covered deep with hot bark. The clams are not cooked until the last hour before the feast. First to arrive was Chief Siskiyou with his beautiful daughter. He encamped at some distance from the potlatch grounds. Ewauna had never seen the ocean. To her, it was most beautiful for she thought at last she had found the place where the beautiful clouds were made that she saw each day from her home in the mountains. She laughed at the warnings of the old men to be careful not to wander alone near the bluffs as Seatka might see her and claim her for his own. She brought with her her dog, Komax, and her cat and kittens which she carried in a basket. Her father had bought the cat from a French trader who had carried it from Montreal. The cat and kittens were great curiosities to the coast tribes who had never before seen a domestic cat. The wonder of the Tenas Puss Puss was passed from tribe to tribe. In the early morn of the second day came the four chiefs dressed in their magnificent regalia. Necomah, with salutations of good will, magnanimously presented his gift of wampum inviting the great chief and his people to the greatest of all potlatches given in honor of the magnitude of the Chief Siskiyou's power. This impressed the great chief and he accepted with stoical indifference. The four chiefs were followed by Chief Siskiyou and in single file, the men were followed by the women. The wind wafted the odors of the great viands of the feast. It quickened their steps. Soon all were seated. Necomah gave the welcome talk: Klakahama, my friend: Klakahama talks to the great spirit - The great spirit talks to Klakahama. I make much sun, much grass. Many bear, many elk, many fish. I make plenty to eat. All day they feasted until they could eat no more. They slept where they sat. Ewauna slipped away from the sleeping camp. Calling her dog and her cat and kittens, she started for the beach. She wished to see old Wecoma, the sea, making the white clouds. The full Chinook Moon hung low over the sea - lucid, resplendent in all its glory. Ewauna ran and danced with delight, singing her dance song to the moon. So happy was she with the grandeur of this beautiful Wecoma, she danced nearer and nearer to the water, feeling the wonder of the cool touch of it. She dropped her basket, telling Komax to watch. She ran out into Wecoma and swam and swam - wild with glee. On and on she swam, paying no attention to the dog's cry of danger. On and on, far from the shore she swam. The friendly moon became obscured as by a black hand and the next thing she knew, she was being grasped by a fearsome creature who came out of the water near her. Komax, who had failed to make her hear his danger call, swam out with the basket and, as the monster seized his beloved mistress, Komax struck his sharp teeth into the hand. Howling with rage, the creature kicked the dog off, causing him to drop the basket. Grabbing the cat and kittens, he threw them far into the sea. Seatka held the girl tightly, trying to make her look at him, as his treacherous power lay in his eyes. This she refused to do, telling him she never, never would - keeping her face to the friendly moon. At sunrise, her father awoke, and finding his daughter gone, gave the alarm. They rushed to the sea. Fearfully, they gazed out, seeing the dawn break through the white mist, and then they saw the beautiful face of Ewauna lying on the sea, smiling up at the white clouds coming from the north. To the west, they saw her cat and kittens and near the beach, poor Komax baying for his mistress. Behind the large rocks near the shore sits Seatka, gazing at Ewauna - still trying to catch her eye. But never, never does she falter. Many, many moons has she been there. Now, they have all turned to stone. -----------------------------------

Oswald West State Park

Oswald West State Park Oswald West State Park was to honor an early Oregon Governer who advocated that the beaches of Oregon belonged to the people and that access should be available to all. The name 'Smugglers Cove' came from the Prohabition days and was a port where Rum was being run. There is a trail that will take you up the north side of Neahkahnie mountain, to the top of a 1700' spectacular view of the pacific ocean and down the south side to Highway 101. Neahkahanie mountain was a watch post for the Coast Guard in WWII. Blimps from the Tillamook Air Station patrolled the Oregon Coast. This air station is now the Tillamook Naval air Museum. ------------------
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