Oregon Coast in WWII: Lincoln City's Submarine Lookout

Published 09/76/2015 at 4:22 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

(Lincoln City, Oregon) – The early 1940's were a darker time for the Oregon coast. Considered almost open bait for an invasion, it, like the rest of the west coast, was on high alert for incoming ships, aircraft or submarines from the Japanese or the Germans. This was also a time of rations, hardships, and a tourism industry that had been stopped in its tracks. (Above: what the "Submarine House" looks like right now.)

One historic home in Lincoln City sat perched on the cliffs of the Nelscott district during World War II and kept an eye on the seas. Now called the “Submarine,” it's a vacation rental home provided by A1 Beach Rentals. Its brief but interesting history is intertwined with that of this section of Lincoln City and its beginnings.

Originally, the house was built on property bequeathed to a talk radio host from San Francisco by a woman who died in 1940 or so. Confined to a nursing home, she was a faithful listener of his in the 1930's. When she passed on and gave him a large portion of the lot, it was on the condition that he build his own house there.

About 1940, the talk show host left California for the Oregon coast and the slowly-burgeoning tourist area that was then called Nelscott. Lincoln City would not acquire its name until 1964, when Nelscott and six other little villages combined to create the town. (Above: the Nelscott area's Marview Ave, later called Anchor Avenue. The Submarine House would be farther up the road beyond the trees. Photo courtesy North Lincoln County Historical Museum).

Up until this point, the little villages along this seven-mile stretch were starting to build a real tourism industry, especially Nelscott (which currently includes hotspots like the Inn at Spanish Head, The Christmas Village shop and the SW 35th access). In the early 20's and 30's, this area became a haven for writers, attracted by a local bookshop. It also featured the precursor to the modern motel: what was called the Nelscott Auto Park. This had evolved from a tent camp, where tents were transitioned to little shacks – and then to cabins – where you could park your car next to where you stayed.

By the late 30's, even the auto park model decayed in popularity, being replaced by the idea of motels. By 1940, the State Parks system had begun to build even more of a tourism for the future Lincoln City area.

Two short years after the man acquired the property, the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor killed just about any tourism growth, and these little villages – like the rest of the western coastline – were subject to blackouts at night and of course gas rations. The latter really ended tourism.

New construction completely stalled, and soon troops began filling these little coastal towns. It was in those early years of the war that the talk show host rented his large home out to the military. They set up the observation posts there, with the mission of scanning the seas for any sign of Japanese or German craft, especially submarines. It was thus nicknamed the “Submarine House” by its military tenants. Currently on Anchor Street, at the time it was called Marview Avenue.

According to A1 Beach Rentals, a large gun emplacement was built on the south side of the building, where the fence ends at the abrupt cliff. Apparently, erosion eventually took away that part in later years. The gun reportedly fell over the edge one day.

Why no pictures of this bit of Oregon coast WWII history? Anne Hall, head of the North Lincoln County History museum in Lincoln City, said pictures of anything to do with war operations were not allowed.

“So, we don't have anything but a few pictures of troops and some other buildings until just after the war,” Hall said.

Consequently, she said none of the information provided to Oregon Coast Beach Connection by A1 or the homes' owners can be verified. And there is no way to tell what the actual lookout stations looked like at the time.

One thing is known: as the Great War went on, it became clearer that the West Coast was not going to get invaded. Troops began filtering out of the Nelscott area long before V Day came.

However, once the post-war economic boom began, tourism along the length of the Oregon coast exploded. And so Nelscott itself expanded as well.

Hall said the Koski family (already early homesteaders in the area) bought up the submarine lookout house sometime in the 1950's, and they owned it until about 1978. It was then segmented into separate apartments, and in the early 80's the decking and hot tub were added. It's been a vacation rental home ever since.

The boys in uniform missed out on that relaxing fun by 40 years.

You won't seen any submarines from the home, but it is situated almost directly in front of the famed Nelscott Reef, which sits a couple miles offshore and attracts gobs of surfers almost year-round. It's also a great vantage point to spot whales. The home features a whopping 90 steps down the cliff to the beach, but there are benches along the way.

Called the “Submarine” on A1 Beach Rentals' website, it's often paired with the adjoining Anchor house. More on Lincoln City, the house and the Nelscott area below, and at the Lincoln City, Oregon Virtual Tour.

More About Lincoln City Lodging.....

More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....

A famous little family eatery where the seafood practically gets shuffled from the sea straight into your mouth. Soups and salads include many seafood specialties, including cioppino, chowders, crab Louie and cheese breads. Fish 'n' chips come w/ various fish. Seafood sandwiches with shrimp, tuna or crab, as well as burgers. Dinners like pan fried oysters, fillets of salmon or halibut, saut�ed scallops.
Oregon Coast event or adventure you can't miss
Pacific City, Oregon


Breathtaking high panoramic beach views from oceanfront rooms, spacious family suites & fully equipped cottages.  Known for gracious hospitality, the sparkling clean Sea Horse features a heated indoor pool, dramatic oceanfront spa, great whale watching, free deluxe continental breakfast, conference room, free casino shuttle & HBO.  Fireplaces, private decks and spas are available in select rooms.  Close to shops, golf, fishing & restaurants.  Pets are welcome in select rooms.  Senior discounts.  Kids 18 and under stay free in their parent's room.  Very attractive rates.
Lincoln City’s only resort hotel built right on the beach with all oceanfront rooms - nestled against a rugged cliffside overlooking a soft, sandy beach. Dine in penthouse restaurant and bar, for casual meal or candlelight dinner. An array of seafood specialties, juicy steaks and other Northwest favorites, including decadent Sunday buffet. Rooms range from bedrooms to studios to 1-bedroom suites with microwaves and refrigerators to full kitchens. Also, wi-fi, spa, saunas, exercise room and year-round heated swimming pool. Kids will love the game room and easy beach access. Full-service conference/meeting rooms for that inspirational retreat; extensive wedding possibilities.


LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

New Surge in Orca Sightings Over Weekend Good Sign for Oregon Coast Holiday
Chances may be good you'll get to spot some over holiday weekend. Whales, marine sciences
Surprisingly, One Man Connects Oregon Coast Lighthouses at Heceta Head, Terri...
One man, Oswald Allik, served on both the Seaside and Florence-area lights until the end. Cannon Beach, Florence history
Some of the Most Riveting Oregon Coast Views Are Hardest to Find
Outstanding viewpoints along the beaches that you may not know: Depoe Bay, Port Orford, Oceanside, Cannon Beach
2022 Memorial Weekend Travel Advice, Warnings for Oregon Coast
Dealing with traffic, hotels, speed traps, weather
South Oregon Coast's Bandon Holds Special Puffin Viewing Day
Puffin Party celebration at Bandon's Face Rock Wayside on May 28. Bandon events
Central Oregon Coast Artist Exhibits Surreal, Colorful Works at Florence Visi...
Mixed media called encaustics created by Jo Beaudreau. Florence events
Oregon Coast Wildlife Officials: Don't Kidnap Wildlife
It's not just baby seals you'll have to watch out for. Sciences
Oregon Coast Aquarium Celebrates 30 Years This Week
Since 1992, the Aquarium in Newport has been showing off countless oceanic wonders to over two generations. Newport events

Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on BeachConnection.net
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright BeachConnection.net Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted



Oregon Coast Lodging


Events Calendar

Oregon Coast Weather

Travel News

Search for Oregon Coast Subjects, Articles

Virtual Tours, Maps
Deep Details