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Oregon Coast Shipwrecks Exhibit Starts Off with Mystery in Cannon Beach

Published 10/14/2018 at 5:24 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection Staff

Oregon Coast Shipwrecks Exhibit Starts Off with Mystery in Cannon Beach

(Cannon Beach, Oregon) - Oregon coast shipwrecks are the center of an upcoming exhibit at the Cannon Beach History Center and Museum, and it kicks off this in-depth look with a special event on November 8. Then another event a day later digs into Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. On Saturday, November 10, the museum hosts a trivia night. (Photo above: Wreck of the Peter Iredale in its first days on the beach, courtesy Cannon Beach History Center & Museum).

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The new exhibit, “Oregon Coast Shipwrecks,” opens on Thursday, November 8 with a presentation from lead beeswax wreck investigator Scott Williams. His presentation will take place at 4 p.m.

Williams is a maritime archaeologist who has been looking into the famed “beeswax ship” of Manzanita, apparently stranded ashore sometime in the 1700s, perhaps a little later. As Principal Investigator for the Beeswax Wreck Project, Williams will present the story of the wreck and the research to identify which ship it was and where the wreck is located.

Since the earliest days of American exploration and settlement on the Oregon coast, stories have been told of an ancient shipwreck exposed on the Nehalem Spit. The wreck, laden with Chinese porcelain and large beeswax blocks and candles, predated American settlement of the area and was a mystery to the first settlers. For a couple of centuries, the puzzling pieces landed on the beaches around the Manzanita area. It finally ceased happening only in the last two decades.

In the early days, as chunks of beeswax began washing up on shore, locals and natives alike were well aware a wreck had occurred. There were tales of men walking out of the water in full Spanish conquistador armor, even stories of cannibalism, but the truth has evaded archaeologists and historians for years.

Where had the vessel come from, and where was it going? Why were they carrying such large amounts of beeswax, and why did blocks of the stuff have strange symbols and carved into them? For centuries it been unclear what ship and maybe even when, but new archaeological evidence has come to light just in the last year. Recent archaeological and historical research appears to confirm that the Beeswax Wreck was a Spanish galleon from Manila, lost on the Oregon coast on its voyage to Mexico.

The museum said this will be a very popular lecture, so they urge attendees to arrive early, get a cup of coffee or tea and grab a seat. Seating is limited. The doors will close at 4:15 p.m.

Historic events continue with a presentation from local author Brian Ratty on the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse on Friday, November 9 at 4 p.m. On Saturday, November 10, the museum hosts a fun trivia event.

“The clincher is, you should attend the November 8 and 9 lectures if you can because many of the questions will relate to topics covered during the lectures,” said the museum in a press release.

“Shipwrecks of the Oregon Coast” runs through November of 2019 after its opening next month.

The Cannon Beach History Center & Museum is open Wednesday through Monday 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., closed on Tuesday. The museum is also home to a replica longhouse, tide pool exhibit and the cannon that Cannon Beach is named for. For more information visit www.cbhistory.org. 1387 S. Spruce (corner of Sunset and Spruce) in Cannon Beach. 503-436-9301. Lodging in Cannon Beach - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours

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Above: Wreck of the Mimi in 1913, near Manzanita - courtesy Cannon Beach History Museum



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