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Oceanside of Old: Tiny Oregon Coast Resort As It Was Long Ago

Published 06/10/21 at 6:30 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oceanside of Old: Tiny Resort in Oregon Coast History

(Oceanside, Oregon) – There's not a lot to Oceanside along the Three Capes Route on Oregon's north coast – or so it seems. In reality, there's a ton of aspects to the tiny town that could keep you occupied for a couple of days, including that lighthouse at Cape Meares and exploring those neighborhoods.

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If you want even more aspects to the place, go back in time. There you're confronted with a host of eyebrow-raising factoids, like for a bit it was a major player in terms of being a resort, more so than many coastal destinations. During World War II, it was switched over to being a camp for soldiers waiting to be shipped out, and most people don't know that President Teddy Roosevelt loved the area (long before it had the name) and declared Three Arch Rocks a wildlife refuge.

There's so much behind this cute and comely Oregon coast mini-hotspot, especially its past.

In a 1922 article in the Oregon Daily Journal, one reporter writes about the newly-opened little resort area of Oceanside and provides glimpses into one of the Rosenberg brothers who created it – and who eventually blasted the tunnel out of Maxwell Point.

It notes how a homesteader named Maxwell originally purchased the area around the turn-of-the-century. Then in 1921, two businessmen from Tillamook, the Rosenberg brothers, purchased all 325 acres of that land. Tillamook County poured money into making a decent road to the place and when reporter Fred Lockley wrote about this in June of 1922 it hadn't quite been completed yet.

Lockley notes how H.H. Rosenberg was quite a character. He had lost his forearm in a railway accident years before. Still, driving the reporter and others to the little resort with one arm, Rosenberg drove like a speed demon along the tightly-wound roadway and rather frightened Lockley. He would even sometimes take that one hand off the steering wheel and point out scenery to the group.

Getting to Oceanside still meant driving on the beach from Netarts. Finally arriving atop Maxwell Point, Lockley describes an idyllic scene with grassy area covered in colorful flowers. It must have been quite a powerful sight back then.

Another newspaper blurb in 1926 talks of a nicely-graded full road to Oceanside, touting the views from cliffs the plunge below the roadway and numerous other attractions along this part of the Oregon coast at this point.

Somewhere in there, the pair blasted the tunnel through Maxwell Point, and people were able to wander safely back and forth. A few times over these 100 years it had been shut off by landslides, including one rather long stint in the early ‘80s.

That happened again in January, 2021, with a whole lotta people and media lamenting the closure. It was reopened with absolutely no notice almost a month later.

Another famous resident of the place was the arched rock at what was called Tunnel Beach. In the late ‘90s it helped get the area nicknamed Star Trek Beach, because it looked like the Guardian of Forever in the original Star Trek series episode City on the Edge of Forever. It definitely had that time portal vibe.

What the rocks look like now

However, somewhere in the winter of 2004 it crumbled, after millions and millions of years getting batted by waves. Now, there's two pointy rocks where one stood, and it's entirely possible one of them will develop an arch someday and follow the same fate.

There's an enormous amount of history to this place. See Odd Oceanside History, N. Oregon Coast, Part 1: Roosevelt to Start Trek and Curious History of Oceanside Part 2: WW II, Lighthouse on Oregon Coast

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