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N. Oregon Coast's Seaside Cautious But Hopeful for Huge Centennial Event

Published 05/03/21 at 7:28 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

N. Oregon Coast's Seaside Cautious But Hopeful for Huge Centennial Event

(Seaside, Oregon) – This summer will mark 100 years ago that the famed Seaside Promenade was officially finished and dedicated. The weekend of August 6 – 7 of 1921 saw hundreds of officials from around the state coming to the Oregon coast, including then-Governor Olcott, for a ceremony that featured an 8-year-old girl breaking a bottle of sea water on the concrete. Her name was Martha Hagmeier, and she had coined a nickname for the 1.5-mile-long pathway that stuck for awhile: “Sea Wall and Promenade.” (Above: the old Promenade made of wood and the doomed pier, about 1910. Courtesy City of Seaside)

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Now, as Seaside engages in a variety of more scaled-down celebrations of the Prom's centennial, it's looking forward to something bigger and more public this summer.

Yet it's still a bit cryptic as to whatever that may be. Seaside's Director of Tourism, Joshua Heineman, sent out the cautious message of “save the date” for Saturday, August 7. Something big may – or may not – be on the horizon.

That cryptic vibe comes from, well, no one's ability to tell the future. Yet Heineman said he's hopeful.

“Details are pending due to the ongoing pandemic, but we've printed a limited edition Prom Centennial booklet with the help of Travel Oregon and we're moving forward with faith that late summer will look very different than the last year,” he said.


Meanwhile visitors are currently diving into the Prom Centennial with self-guided tours of historic homes along the Prom and “responsible overnight stays on Seaside's sandy and easy-to-socially-distance beach,” as Heineman put it. Find lots more info at SeasideProm.com.

“The Prom, as it's now affectionately known, has become one of the most iconic coastal landmarks in the Pacific Northwest, an Oregon nod to the great boardwalks and promenades of the world like Brighton Pier and San Sebastian,” Heineman said.

As the city tentatively readies for something more large-scale in the future, it's a good time to look at the past, Heineman said. So he released some more fun historical tidbits about the Prom.

It's the only oceanfront concrete boardwalk in the entire Washington or Oregon coastline.

The Prom is 14 feet wide and 1.5 miles long, and 24 blocks along the beach with 2,329 distinctive arches and 50 iconic lamp posts. Runners, walkers, bicyclists and skaters enjoy its long flat stretch with scenic views.

It was under construction between Nov. 1920 and June 1921, the start of the Roaring Twenties in the U.S. The Prom was dedicated in a well-attended ceremony on August 7, 1921.

The building cost was estimated at $150,000. That would be about $2.2 million in 2021 dollars.

Near the center of the Prom is the concrete Turnaround, where vehicles heading west on Seaside's main street, called Broadway, can circle around with sweeping views and travel east down the same street.

The Turnaround memorializes the westernmost destination of the Lewis and Clark
Expedition (though it's not known if they actually stood in that spot). A re-creation of the Salt Works, where members boiled sea water to make salt for the return trip, is located between avenues N and S.

The Prom is lined by an aquarium, hotels, condominiums, restaurants and historic late 19th - and early 20thCentury - summer cottages.

The Prom features cement benches and light posts that have bronze plaques with personal messages. The plaques were donated by families who have loved Seaside through the years.

A historic sundial is located on the Prom just south of the Turnaround.

Also see:

Oregon Coast History, Seaside Promenade Part II: From Lewis and Clark to Rock 'n Roll Where geology meets US history and rock history

Seaside Promenade History: Beginnings of an Oregon Coast Icon, Part I One thing is for sure: the Promenade at Seaside actually began in the 1920s. Or did it?

Hotels in Seaside - Where to eat - Seaside Maps and Virtual Tours


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