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Incredible Time Travel Moments in Oregon Coast Historical Photos

Published 09/14/23 at 6:47 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Incredible Time Travel Moments in Oregon Coast Historical Photos

(Oregon Coast) – Time travel is an amazingly fun activity, unfortunately it's not real in the physics sense. We're left with looking back in time via old photographs. Yet what tales they tell about the Oregon coast. (Above: Oregon State Archives, Astoria-Megler Bridge in 1990)

Here's a few that border on the mind-blowing.

Astoria -Megler Bridge in 1990. If this doesn't activate a fear of heights in you, check yourself for a pulse.

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This particular historical shot from the north Oregon coast icon is astounding but unsettling. Yet it's interesting because it was taken just three years before the bridge stopped being a toll bridge. That was to pay for the debt of building the bridge, which was finally paid in '93.

Astoria-Megler Bridge was completed and dedicated in 1966, having started construction in 1962. Locals had to fight for it in the state Capitol, with some calling it the “road to nowhere” because the other side was rather unpopulated. Hotels in Astoria - Where to eat - Astoria Maps and Virtual Tours

Neahkahnie Overlooks Long Ago. By the late 1930s, the majority of Highway 101 was completed, connecting dozens of towns that hardly had contact with each other in some cases, and certainly allowing tourism to reach new levels on the Oregon coast.

Yet one of the highway's most beloved stops was not quite there. Neahkahnie Mountain's overlook – just above Manzanita – wasn't started until about 1937. In fact, that whole stretch between Manzanita and Cannon Beach wouldn't happen for another few years, actually.

Early photographs of this place are nothing short of eye-popping.

According to ODOT librarian Laura Wilt, paving and major construction on the Neahkahnie Mt. area was started in early 1940. However, the viaducts and the chasm bridge started work in 1937, and photos clearly show a primitive road inching around what must’ve been a precarious bend. More: Neahkahnie Viewpoint Provides Fun History, Unsolved Mystery on N. Oregon Coast

Indeed, newspaper coverage at the time shows some work in August of 1938, such as Coos Bay’s The World writing about grading work being done around Neahkahnie and the stretch from Arch Cape to Cannon Beach. Yet the Arch Cape Tunnel wouldn't actually connect them until a year or two into the '40s. Hotels in Manzanita, Wheeler - Where to eat - Manzanita, Wheeler Maps and Virtual Tours

Bear in Cannon Beach, Perhaps the '20s. What appears to be northern Cannon Beach in this shot from OSU archives also shows a wacky little bear. Or maybe not so little. Either way, people these days – including authorities – would freak out on you and your irresponsibility if you had been this close to a bear on the beach for the sake of a photo. Hotels in Cannon Beach - Where to eat - Cannon Beach Maps and Virtual Tours

Zeppelin Over Rockaway Beach. What is likely the 1940s shows a blimp gliding over the north Oregon coast town. These were based in Tillamook (where the Tillamook Air Museum is now), and patrolled the coast during World War II. They were housed in two hangars, but only one remains after the other burned to the ground in the early '90s. Hotels in Rockaway Beach - Where to eat - Rockaway Beach Maps and Virtual Tours

Above Florence. That amazing view that pops into existence just north of town has not changed much. It's hard to say when this photograph was taken, unfortunately – but we're guessing the '30s to '50s. When Views Explode on Oregon Coast: that Bend Above Baker Beach, Florence

From the more modern view here, you can see little is different. Plants and trees are larger, however, and it shows how untouched and unspoiled the area is now.

Above Cape Perpetua, near Yachats. What is apparently the '30s, again the photo shows a pristine state.

In fact, especially now you can see the vast difference in tree coverage, displaying how untouched it remains. Hotels in Yachats - Where to eat - Upper Lane County Maps and Virtual Tours


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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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