Historic Oregon Coast Journey Re-enactment Calls for Vintage Cars
(Newport, Oregon) – 100 years ago a small group of intrepid explorers did something strenuous and maybe a little insane at the time: they drove their automobiles that crazy 24-mile stretch along the central Oregon coast, between Newport and Lincoln City.
Photo above: The “Pathfinders” went through sand and surf to make the first automobile trip from Newport to Siletz Bay 100 years ago. (Photo courtesy Lincoln County Historical Society.)
Sure, it's something we all take for granted these days, taking maybe a half hour to 45 minutes, depending on traffic. But back in 1912, when most of the roads were the beaches themselves or just extremely muddy tracks along the hills, this journey took 23 hours round trip.
This trek, made by the four men called Pathfinders in 1912, will be re-enacted on July 20 as part of a special historic celebration, organized by the Lincoln County Historical Society. Organizers are putting out a call for vintage cars to take part in this now-much-more-comfortable journey. The car caravan from Newport to Lincoln City will start at 9 a.m. that Friday morning to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Pathfinders – the first of its kind at the time. (Above: a vintage car near Cannon Beach).
Back then, the goal was to promote the need for better roads to increase business and tourism as part of the Commercial Club’s good roads program. The Commercial Club was a forerunner of the Chamber of Commerce.
Now, the Historical Society needs you and your vintage car to be a part of this commemoration.
“The car caravan will leave about 9:30 and will follow some of the original route,” said museum educator Diane Disse. “It will stop about 11:30 at Fogarty Creek for an interpretive performance and will continue on to Roadhouse 101 where Lincoln City Mayor Dick Anderson will read a proclamation.”
Participants can purchase discounted lunches at Roadhouse 101. Other specials will be offered by some local attractions along the central Oregon coast.
The celebration begins with the opening of the exhibit “Cars: Motoring the Coast” at the Burrows House Museum of the Lincoln County Historical Society at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 14. It will be followed by a talk at 2 p.m. by Jim Stembridge, author of Pathfinder, The First Automobile Trip from Newport to Siletz Bay, Oregon July, 1912, which is available in the museum bookstores for $2.95.
The kickoff for the Friday, July 20 events will be at 9 a.m. on Newport’s historic Bayfront in front of Bayscapes Gallery and Coffeehouse, which will provide free coffee and pastries. Newport Mayor Mark McConnell and County Commissioner Bill Hall will read proclamations declaring Pathfinder Days.
More events are scheduled for Saturday, July 21. The Bijou Theatre in Lincoln City will show “American Graffiti” at 11 a.m. At 1 p.m. the North Lincoln County Historical Museum in Lincoln City will feature a talk and a related exhibit, “Roads to the Future.” At 4 p.m., there's a dance party at the Pacific Maritime & Heritage Center in Newport.
Information contact: Diane Disse, Museum Educator, 541-265-7509.
Keywords: history, Pacific City, Cannon Beach, Yachats, Depoe Bay, Newport, Lincoln City, Oceanside, Astoria, Oregon coast, science.
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