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Oregon Coast Names Part 2: Central and North Coast History

Published 05/20/21 at 6:55 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oregon Coast Names Part 2: Central and North Coast History

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(Lincoln City, Oregon) – Part one of this series went over how a few south and central Oregon coast towns got their names, including Gold Beach, Bandon, Coos Bay, Yachats, Newport, Nye Beach and Depoe Bay. (Above: Cape Kiwanda in the early part of the century) See Oregon Coast Names Part I: South to Central Coast History

In part two, this bit of time travel takes you through the surprising historical twists and turns of Gleneden Beach, Lincoln City, Pacific City, a few landmarks, Tillamook, Arch Cape, Cannon Beach, Seaside and Astoria.

Gleneden Beach's Name. The tiny, unincorporated village just south of Lincoln City was originally called Sijota, back when it was really just farmland settled by a family from Poland by that name, sometime around 1900 or so. In the 1920s, just as Highway 101 was getting built, the Carey family bought up parcels of land here, and named them Gleneden. It was a combo of their daughter's name, Glen, and the term “eden.” As 101 progressed in construction, it slowly became its own town and “Beach” was added, mostly for marketing purposes. Courtesy North Lincoln History Museum, Lincoln City

Future Lincoln City, in the early 60s, courtesy North Lincoln History Museum, Lincoln City

How Lincoln City, Oregon Got Its Name. This one is a complex tale, but it starts way back in the late 1800s as the area was getting settled by various landowners, and different villages sprang up with different names. There was Taft, Oceanlake, Delake, Nelscott, Cutler, Roads End, Kernville, Wecoma, and Neotsu.

By the 1950s, some had absorbed others – rather bitterly at times, too. In the late ‘40s, five were were talking about joining into one, and even then the favored name would've been Lincoln City.However, some were vehemently against it, wanting the name Grand View. A vote was held in ‘49 and it went down by a sizable margin.

It all came up again in the late ‘50s, and finally a vote in 1963 turned all five (or more, depending on your point of view) little villages into one. This time a bundle of names were floated, including Miracle Beach, Miracle City, Surfland and Holiday Beach. The new central Oregon coast town came very close to being named Surfland, but a fairly narrow vote arrived at Lincoln City just before officially incorporating in ‘64. Courtesy North Lincoln History Museum, Lincoln City. See full story Naming Lincoln City was a Wobbly, Wacky Process: Oregon Coast History

Pacific City's Name, Landmarks. Settlers from back east began populating the Nestucca Valley area in the 1870s, but not before also stealing the name from local tribes: Nestucca and Tillamook are derivations of the Nestugga and Killamook tribe names.

Pacific City was known as Ocean Park when it was first created around 1893 – and it was actually a bit east of where it is now. It was later changed to Pacific City in 1909 because of Ocean Park, Washington. The original name of Haystack Rock was Chief Kiawanda Rock, named after a famed chief. That got distilled into Kiwanda for the area.

Photo courtesy Cannon Beach History Center

Cannon Beach / Arch Cape's Names. The tales of naming Cannon Beach and Arch Cape get rather funky, complicated and even amusing here.

First, it was Arch Cape that had the name Cannon Beach, officially named so in 1891. Meanwhile, the future CB four miles north was called Elk Creek at the time. In the early 1900s, a little town next to it was established by the Warren brothers (where Warren House Pub got its name), and it was called Tolovana.

In 1910, Elk Creek changed its name to Ecola, and shortly after Cannon Beach dropped that name and opted for Arch Cape (after the arches once found just around the southern point).

Arches at Arch Cape (now all but one are gone). Courtesy CB History Museum

One year later, Arch Cape decides it doesn't like the name Cannon Beach and turns itself into Arch Cape. This name came from the set of three arches lurking just the other side of the headland at the village's southern end. You can still see one arch, but the other two – which formed an intricate and strange structure – fell apart in the ‘40s.

However, little Ecola ran into a kooky little problem: their mail was constantly getting mixed up with Eola, the village then just outside of Salem. In 1922, they decided to change their name again, this time grabbing Cannon Beach partially because it was no longer in use. Courtesy Cannon Beach History Museum. Full story Quirky Oregon Coast History: How Cannon Beach Got Its Name

Photo courtesy Seaside History Museum: the old boardwalk before the Prom

What Gave Seaside, Oregon Its Name. The little town actually goes all the way back to 1871, but at first only at the southern end, near the Cove, where railroad tycoon Ben Holladay built a sprawling resort complex that really just catered to the rich. It, called the Sea-Side House, included a horse racing track and was where the golf course is now.

When the town became official in 1899, it acquired Seaside not because it was next to the ocean but because of Holladay's resort. There's also the street named after him there. Courtesy Seaside History Museum

How Astoria, Oregon Got Its Name. The oldest town on the west coast – which actually had the Brits and yanks fighting over it in 1812 – was called Fort Astoria for a long time, after John Jacob Astor. He owned the fir trading company that owned the town at first, and it's his family named that occupies many landmarks in New York. Astor himself never visited this little town.

In 1876, Oregon's legislature made it official for Astoria. Courtesy Astoria / Warrenton Visitors

See Oregon Coast Names Part I: South to Central Coast History

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