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Little Lincoln City Motel is Historic Oregon Coast 'Motor Inn' - Features Special Dec Prices

Published 11/30/23 a 5:35 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

(Lincoln City, Oregon) – From the remnants of a mysterious lake to a quaint little, vintage inn that helped coin the term “motel” (by combining “motor inn” with “hotel”), Lincoln City's Whistling Winds Motel has seen a lot in its days. There's almost a century's worth of those days.

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Among its stories to tell: it was one of the genuine “motor inns” back in the area's early tourism years, something that's a coveted find now.

In fact, that coveted find got a lot cheaper recently (December 2023). According to the owners: “Book Any Weekday and get a 2nd Weeknight/ Weekday Free. Must be consecutive days - not valid Dec 25- Jan 1. 541-994-6155.”

You could say it's a hint of the prices of those olden days.

Whistling Winds Motel got its start in the 1920s, so much of the original is closing in quickly on a century. Added onto a few times over the years, it began its life as the Wecoma Inn, named after the little village it was then in. It's now recognized as one of seven or so little neighborhoods of Lincoln City that were once separate villages.

A bit before the place was built, it was actually the site of a small lake, one that's still trying to come back. Water levels sometimes start to return here, and the current structure is built up above the ground with pumps that occasionally draw that water out.

In the early days of Wecoma, there was a boat rental on this lake and a farm nearby. The owners got into a dispute and the dairy farm owner drained the lake on the other guy.

The Wecoma Inn began as a set of cottages, part of that historic, slow shift from having tents on beaches as the only lodgings to the Oregon coast's famed motor inns. Whistling Winds is definitely one of those originals in the region, and there's a bit of a fanbase for that sort of thing around the nation.

For a time it was called the Kontiki Village. Possibly by the '70s, the place got the name Whistling Winds because the tower in that main building gave out quite a loud whistling noise when coastal winds whipped through it.

Current owners Gene and Karen Scrutton told the history of the place to Oregon Coast Beach Connection almost two decades ago. Even back then, they were aiming to keep the time travel vibe, and succeeded well with the fine wood that covers each unit, creating the feel of an old, character-filled building with a story to tell. The river rock fireplaces are another aspect that drives that point home – a feature that Scrutton specializes in himself.

Indeed, the place has its tales, like how in the '50s there was quite the croquet setup. Back then, the wee cottages did not have water heaters, so folks had to heat their own water.

Later, in the '90s it was a tad sketchy. In fact, Gene said it became home to various criminals, including junkies, dealers and even pedophiles - and the cops were there a lot. (One of Oregon Coast Beach Connection's own stayed here once then and can verify it was seedy)

The woman who owned it was a crusty individual herself, known for sitting on the porch and scowling at the world. After having sold it once and having to take it back when the new owners defaulted, she treated any interested buyers thereafter with great disdain.

One of the prospective buyers was Scrutton, who was practically chased out of there a few times. Finally, in 2003 (not long after 9/11 had wrecked travel for awhile), the old lady relented.

“She was beside herself,” Scrutton said. “You should’ve seen her. She actually jumped up and kicked her heels. She couldn’t believe someone actually bought the place from her. She was so glad to be out of there.”

Scrutton said his family found numerous documents in the motel with information on this “underbelly” class of people that stayed or lived here.

Whistling Winds is also known for being exceptionally inexpensive, but with rather lovely surroundings, a feel that's above and beyond its prices. See the Whistling Winds Motel site for full information.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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