Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

Distinctive N. Oregon Coast History Lies Beneath Oceanfront Tolovana Inn

Published 10/20/22 at 5:44 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Distinctive N. Oregon Coast History Lies Beneath Oceanfront Tolovana Inn

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts

(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – Some places on the Oregon coast are rooted in local history in a way you can't see right off the bat, and it could even be integral to the area. (Above: courtesy photo)

At Cannon Beach's southern end, in the Tolovana District, the Tolovana Inn is one of those places. While you can no longer see the original buildings that were at the center of “town” here, there's lot of history in this very spot. This was the very beginning of a little town once known as Tolovana, actually separate from Cannon Beach for a time.

These days, the Tolovana Inn still remains one of the more elegant stays in the area, and a consistent favorite through generations. The whole thing is oceanfront in some way: even if the rooms aren't right above the ocean the rest are well within view – and earshot. Thus, it continues to attract, not just the devoted faithful but making new fans along the way.

Tolovana area: photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection

Back in 1911, when this area was still a remote wilderness with only hardy adventurers trekking through on vacation, the Warren brothers put up a lodge in this spot. They came up with the name Tolovana for the place, soon founding not just a pleasant hotel but a little community. One of them had found the word through Alaskan tribes, deciding they liked the sound of it. The actual meaning wasn't important, as it meant something to the effect of “pile of wood.”

At that time, there was the main lodge and a handful of satellite cottages. For the next thirty years that operated, as meanwhile Cannon Beach got its actual name and somewhere in there Tolovana the village was sucked up into the larger town.

Courtesy Tolovana Inn

As World War II broke out, most tourism on the Oregon coast died and the military took over a lot of hotels anyway, such as the Warren Hotel. Afterwards, it was abandoned and deteriorated into the '50s, when two gents from Astoria purchased it. They remodeled the buildings and turned them into a motel, which in turn became a church getaway in the '60s.

Larger commercial companies became interested in this spot but the new owners refused to sell. But in the early '70s, as the economy caused them plenty of distress, they wound up sort of selling to a Beaverton development company. In actuality, they leased the land to them, which allowed the company to tear down the historic cottages and lodge and create what would be the Tolovana Inn.

There's all sorts of curious complexities about the former life of the north Oregon coast fave, see Surprising Oregon Coast History: Cannon Beach's Tolovana Inn and Warren Hotel

These days, you're looking at sleek, modern interiors with a classy vibe, that's still a bit more affordable than many lodgings of its kind on the Oregon coast.

The high point here (pun intended, as there's a few floors up above it all) is the view of the surf. With a couple of rocky objects out there, the Tolovana area can get dramatic and showy if there's storm conditions. Waves can do some funky, watery pyrotechnics if the swells are large enough.

On the flipside, you've got monumental views of those calming waves, sometimes quite a ways out there when Oregon coast seas are in a mellow mood.

One highlight is the heated saltwater pool – hearkening back to the old days of natatoriums on the coastline. Need to go for a winter swim in the ocean? Nope. But you can do that here.

The Tolovana Inn also has a spa, sauna, fitness center, and it's pet friendly (though those rooms have a limited number). There's also a beach fire pit for those especially cozy dusks in the sands, snacking on s'mores and watching the sun dip out of sight.

Other interesting amenities include charging stations for electric vehicles and shuttles to and from downtown Cannon Beach.

Tolovana Inn in the '70s, courtesy photo

In recent years, this longtime big name went through some more remodeling. Doug Nealeigh, president of Vacation Villages of America, Inc., which owns the inn, said there was a lot redone to keep with the interiors' northwest coast ambiance.

“The remodels feature new stone fireplace treatments, new flooring incorporating a combination of Luxury Vinyl Flooring and carpeting, new paint treatments, lighting, furniture, and bed treatments,” he told Oregon Coast Beach Connection. “Initial reviews have been very positive and our guests appreciate the comfort and features which create a relaxed coastal retreat.”

800-333-8890.  3400 S. Hemlock Street Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Hotels in Cannon Beach - Where to eat - Cannon Beach Maps and Virtual Tours


More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....

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

Coastal Spotlight

LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on Oregon Coast Beach Connection
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright Oregon Coast Beach Connection. Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted