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Seaside Celebrates 125 Years of Being N. Oregon Coast Hotspot

Published 2/09/24 at 6:15 a.m.
B
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Seaside Celebrates 125 Years of Being N. Oregon Coast Hotspot

(Seaside, Oregon) – On February 17, one magnet of an Oregon coast town turns 125 years old. Even so, Seaside doesn't look a day over 60, now does she?

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That week, the Seaside Museum will celebrate that official date of incorporation with a special grand re-opening of the Seaside Diorama after some revisions, along with a handful of historic exhibits.

The town has an interesting, colorful history, and it's a good opportunity to revisit some of those moments (below).

Seaside's celebration takes place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 17 at the museum (570 Necanicum Dr.).

The diorama is a miniature version of the north Oregon coast hotspot, depicting Seaside in 1899 – the year it was incorporated. As part of Seaside's centennial project in 1999, some 25 years later locals felt it needed some updating, so a few new things were being added in the last six months.

“Shirley Yates, Linda and Ben Benjamin and Seaside High School Pacifica Project Student Tyler Bird have been working hard building trees, making rivers, painting Tillamook Head and redoing the land and people,” the museum said. “A ribbon cutting for the diorama will be held, with Mayor Steve Wright and Chamber of Commerce taking the lead.”


Butterfield Cottage in its early days - courtesy Seaside Museum

The museum is located next to the Butterfield Cottage, which itself goes back 130 years.

Inside the Seaside Museum they'll be hosting more of the town's past, including exhibits on Seaside’s Fire Department that started in 1904, the Seaside Signal from 1905, the old hotels on the ocean front, a beach cottage from 1912 and Destination Seaside, the story of how people came to Seaside by ship, train and automobile.

Historic Seaside Moments

Formation and How Seaside Got Its Name: The area was slowly getting settled by Europeans in the mid 19th century, but it was 1871 when railroad tycoon Ben Holladay built a resort complex about where the golf course is now. It was called the Sea-Side House.

When the town was finally incorporated in 1899, they called it Seaside because of Holladay's resort and not because it was next to the ocean. You may notice that the street Holladay in Seaside is also named after him.

Seaside Prom and Piers. One of the best known attractions on the entire Oregon coast is the Seaside Prom, which was officially created in concrete back in 1921 (it just recently observed its centennial). However, there was a smaller, wooden version of that starting out in 1908. That came about because locals built – believe it or not – a pier going straight out to sea back in 1904.

For deeper history see Seaside Promenade History: Beginnings of an Oregon Coast Icon, Part I

The wooden walkway picked up steam quickly but the pier not so much. As you can imagine, this was a foolhardy construct, and it was wrecked by storms a few times and rebuilt before they finally gave up on it in 1914.

It was that year that they built a precursor to the turnaround, also made of wood. All these more successful aspects inspired the planning of a concrete promenade, and once it was completed its 1.5 miles have never been added to or had major refurbishments.

In the '20s, Seaside decided to try another pier, this one for fishing that was built closer to the Cove. That didn't fare well, either. See Wacky Moments of Oregon Coast History

Seaside in Rock History: In the 1960s, Seaside slowly became a kind of rock 'n' roll Mecca. Lots of major bands that were soon to be famous performed at the Pypo Club, originally on the Prom. Later, it moved close to where the Carousel Mall is.

It was here that a group of teenagers in a band from Portland heard a song that caught their ear: “Louie, Louie.” That band was the Kingsmen, and their version became a seminal rock anthem for decades.

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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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