Category: General

For those of us who live in Cannon Beach and the surroundings area, the trek to “the city” can seem exhausting. Highway 26 is a bumpy, winding, traffic-filled nightmare at the best of times, and in winter down right dangerous. We take for granted that this trip only takes only a few hours when just over 100 years ago, the journey was a long one, indeed.

In the early years of traveling to Cannon Beach the trek was a full day journey that typically combined traveling by boat down the Columbia River from Portland, disembarking at Astoria and then taking another boat down the Skipanon River, horseback, or stage coach to Seaside — then onward to Cannon Beach. The first train to travel to Seaside arrived in May of 1898. This train was often referred to as the “Daddy Train.” This decreased travel time to Cannon Beach by several hours. Travelers would journey from Seaside by horse, stagecoach or by foot to Cannon Beach. Long-time resident and Author of “Comin’ in Over the Rock,” Peter Lindsey compares the journey from Seaside to Cannon Beach as “the Bataan Death March.” The road, barley more than a trail, was a muddy mess for most of the year. At one point the road to Cannon Beach was purported to have stomach-churning 111 turns.


311.1 WF hairpin turns

One of the 111 curves on the road to Cannon Beach. 


By 1920 a highway was constructed along the Columbia River and decreased the travel to Cannon Beach to just over five hours. The road still consisted of dizzying number of curves and was mainly mud and gravel. Wolf Creek Highway from Manning to the Necanicum Junction was completed in 1941, this is now known as Highway 26. This decreased travel time to less than three hours. New links to Portland were completed in 1948 and the road was dedicated at the Sunset Highway. It wasn’t until 1950 that a new road was constructed to Cannon Beach from Seaside that eliminated the 111 curves.

If you’re wondering about travel south from Cannon Beach, it wasn’t the leisurely journey that we enjoy today. Highway 101 did not exist prior to 1932. The journey south from Cannon Beach was either along the beach or by a mountain trail. Mary Gerritse was the local mail carrier from 1897 to 1902. Both trails had their own dangers; the mountain trail was a narrow and had steep drop offs, while the beach road was only accessible at extreme low tides. To cross the point between Arcadia and Hug Point beaches, as they are now known, one had to “hug” the rock. In 1893, hand and footholds were dug out of the sandstone around the face of the point, allowing a person to climb along the shallow ledge, hugging the rock. This is how Hug Point became known as Hug Point. Gerritse nearly drowned and lost her prized horse Prince attempting to cross this area at high tide. The way was treacherous and, at times, inaccessible.


Hug point

This photo was taken in 1907 of ladies “hugging” the hand holds at Hug Point. 


In 1910, Hug Point was blasted with dynamite to make a road that would be accessible for longer stretches of time between high and low tide. Once the road was completed stagecoaches were able to use it to bypass the cliffs off the coast by hugging the edge of the cliff and escaping the waves of the Pacific Ocean. This route was called the Oregon coast Highway and is now considered part of the Oregon Coast Trail.

To learn more visit the Cannon Beach History Center and Museum and check out our new exhibit “The Long Road Home.” The Museum is open from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Wednesday through Monday, Closed on Tuesday.

This article was published in the Cannon Beach Gazette on May 4, 2018. Written by Elaine Trucke. 




 Image is from “This Oregon Life”


We live in a state with abundant forests, and yet we don’t all see the same thing when we look into the woods. Oregon is known for both its timber industry and its deep environmental values. What are the beliefs we have about our forests and what will we, as a state, do to steward, manage, and protect this special resource?

This is the focus of “Seeing the Forest for the Trees: Stewarding Our Public Lands,” a free conversation with Mariah Action on Thursday, June 7, 2018, at 4:00 p.m. at Cannon Beach History Center & Museum, 1387 South Spruce Street. This program is hosted by Cannon Beach History Center & Museum and sponsored by Oregon Humanities.

Mariah Acton is a soon-to-be graduate from the University of Oregon, where her master’s work focuses at the intersection of conflict resolution, nonprofit management, and public administration. As a recent social science researcher for the US Forest Service and a volunteer facilitator with forest collaboratives in the southern Willamette Valley, she recognizes that this is an exciting time for public-driven, sustainable forest management, and she appreciates that there are more conversations to be had.

Through the Conversation Project, Oregon Humanities offers free programs that engage community members in thoughtful, challenging conversations about ideas critical to our daily lives and our state’s future. For more information about this free community discussion, please contact Elaine Trucke at 503-436-9301 or

Oregon Humanities (921 SW Washington, Suite 150; Portland, OR 97205) connects Oregonians to ideas that change lives and transform communities. More information about Oregon Humanities’ programs and publications, which include the Conversation Project, Think & Drink, Humanity in Perspective, Public Program Grants, Responsive Program Grants, and Oregon Humanities magazine, can be found at Oregon Humanities is an independent, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities and a partner of the Oregon Cultural Trust

Rockscapes and Sea Stacks.

“From this point I beheld the grandest and most pleasing prospect which my eyes ever surveyed.”  

-Captain William Clark

401.1 postcard Ecola vista

It is well known that the Oregon Coast is littered with rockscapes and sea stacks. Hundreds of thousands of people every year flock to Cannon Beach to behold the majestic landscape.

The journey of Haystack Rock, along with many of the other monoliths, began 15 million years ago with volcanic lava flows from eastern Oregon along the route of the Columbia River. When the lava reached the ocean, it descended into the soft ocean floor sediments, pooled in spots and pushed to the surface.

Beginning around 3 million years ago, Oregon temporarily gained more land to the west as the Ice Age reduced the level of the ocean, assisted by shifts in the earth’s crust. As a result, the ocean sediment became land instead of ocean floor and was slowly lifted  as the western flank of Oregon gained more real estate.



During the last 11,000-18,000 years, continued uplift associated with the movement of the earth’s crust and erosion have removed approximately 30 miles of sediment- such as Haystack Rock- are what remains of the once great Northwestern Oregon Coastal Plain.

One of the more popular questions asked is “what are the names of these massive rocks?” I put together A slideshow with the names and pictures of the rockscapes and sea stacks below.

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downtown 1950's

Let’s travel back to Cannon Beach during the 1950’s. Jim Dennon wrote in the January 1950 edition of The Cannon “As 1949 went over the hill, Cannon Beach is left a changed ‘city,’ indeed with a growth unequalled perhaps of previous years; new business, new buildings, increased population (about 500), new streets, new utility improvements, a new highway, a new outlook for 1950.”

301 girls on horses 1950s

Perhaps the most important development listed by Dennon was the “new highway,” this referred to the elimination of those 111 nauseating curves between the junction and the town. In 1949, in anticipation of the new road, advertisement for “The Beach of a Thousand Wonders” were broadcast on a Portland radio station.

circa 1950
The population growth in Cannon Beach led to a sewage problem. On occasion the sewage would overflow onto the beach. At one point the state health authorities threatened to post the beach as contaminated. Gaining funds to correct this problem meant that Cannon Beach was going to have to incorporate, finally the measure passed in 1955 – with a plurality of only four votes out of the 303 cast. Thus did the village of Cannon Beach became the City of Cannon Beach.
Some of the major effects of incorporation, aside from the sewer construction, was the employment of a police officer. He was given a salary of sixty-five dollars a month and was expected to provide his own car. The next thing was to elect a mayor. In 1956 Dr. J.W. Sargent became the first mayor.

Then, in 1957, the enactment of a city charter was a significant addition to the history of Cannon Beach, but there was also a significant subtraction. Terrible Tilly’s light was extinguished, her fog horn silenced, both replaced by an automated buoy at sea.



Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, photo curtesy of the Oregon Historical Society.  



The Warren Brothers

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In 1891, William and Mark Warren applied for a homestead claim on 160 acres of Cannon Beach. They “proved-up” the claim and on Jun 11, 1897 William E. Warren was awarded the claim.
During the time spent working on the 160 acres William met and married Emma Sayre in Seaside, Oregon on September 18, 1893. The Homestead Act of 1862 provided 160 acres free for clearing one acre, building a cabin, planting some fruit tress, and living on the land for five years – called “proving up on it”.
In 1897, William and Emma built their homestead log cabin on their 160 acres and Mark Warren “proved-up” his claim in 1900 and built a log cabin on his land, which is the current location of the Tolovana Wayside Park. The original home stood until 1954, when it was torn down to make way for the Warren House Pub.
In 1911, the Warren brothers built the Warren Hotel located where the Tolovana Inn condominiums are now located. Oregon Governor Oswald West, credited for saving the Oregon beaches from private development, registers as the first guest in the hotel on August 3, 1911. The Hotel had 16 rooms with indoor running water, but common bathrooms. Eight cabins were added in back later along with an auto camp.

Olivia Millerschin Concert

olivia millerschin

On Sunday, May 6 at 7:00 p.m., the Cannon Beach History Center & Museum welcomes Olivia Millerschin and her band all the way from Michigan. Only three performances in Oregon, you’ll want to get your tickets soon.

At just twenty-two, singer-songwriter Olivia Millerschin has composed and released two full-length albums. Her second, “Look Both Ways” has recently been nominated for an Independent Music Award in the category of Best Adult Contemporary Album. A Detroit, Michigan native, Millerschin is making a small tour around the Pacific Northwest in May with only three stops in Oregon! She recently celebrated her second John Lennon Songwriting Award with a main stage showcase at NAMM 2018. Her voice was also heard in the 2018 Olympics Ice Dancing competition for skaters Madison Chock and Evan Bates. She was a quarter finalist on America’s Got Talent, has won the great American Song Contest, and is featured on Republic Records soundtrack to Mitch Albom’s latest novel. Millerschin also has had her music and voice featured in national film and television. She plays the ukulele, piano, guitar, and headlines national tours. She’s also opened for many established artists. Did we mention that she’s just twenty-two?

Millerschin has received accolades for her celestial voice and old soul style. She performs a blend of vintage folk and modern pop.

“Olivia has a voice far beyond her years — gentle and lilting, and filled with the emotions that riddle her lyrics. Look Both Ways straddles the line of folk and electronic, like artists such as Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson.” – 60 Best Albums of 2016 – DittyTV Staff Picks

”Olivia Millerschin is producing some of the best regional music right now and should be a star.” – Lemonade Magazine
“Olivia has a voice you melt into – it is beautiful, innocent, soulful and note perfect despite reaching some notes only dogs can hear!… As far as ‘uniqueness’ is concerned, this American has it in spades.” – Nottingham Post
Millerschin’s second album Look Both Ways is an infusion of clever lyrics, haunting melodies, colorful folk, pop, and soul. Produced in Brooklyn and Detroit, the album mirrors the grit and hopefulness of both cities and reflects her quest to “look both ways” as she relishes in the good while proceeding with caution in a complex music industry and world.

Tickets to this concert are $15 each and include complimentary refreshments. Seating is limit and it is believed that this concert will sell out quickly. You may purchase tickets online at or by phone at 503-436-9301. Tickets include complimentary refreshments. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for this event.


Early Settlements

Artwork is from Archaeology Magazine.


Archaeological work in the Americas has been causing a lot of controversy. It seems that the Americas may have been settled a lot earlier than hypothesized – a lot earlier! Most recently, a site in California appears to push human activity back to between 120,000 and 140,000 years ago. This is more than a hundred thousand years before humans were thought by archaeologists to be here. This site is among a few other recent discoveries, which include Paisley Caves that are rewriting the human history of the Americas.

On Thursday, April 19 at 4:00 p.m. the Cannon Beach History Center & Museum welcomes Dr. Cameron M. Smith to discuss this very topic. Dr. Smith is an Anthropology Professor at Portland State University and is a highly recognized scholar on human history, archaeology and evolution.

Dr. Smith will be discussing the old and new theories about the earliest dispersals of humans into the Americas. Whether by land or sea, these new archaeological sites bring about new questions. His talk, “By land, Se and Shore: New Evidence and Theories on the Earliest Human Dispersals into the Americas,” will be free and open to the public.

Dr. Smith has a PhD in Archaeology from Canada’s Simon Fraser University and is a respected scholar, who has published scientific works in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, as well as Scientific American, Scientific American MIND, Discover Magazine, Archaeology Magazine, South American Explorer, Spaceflight, Skeptical Inquirer, The Next Step, and The Bulletin of Primitive Technologcam_durham_2011y.

Dr. Smith has also appeared on PBS, The History Channel, and on the National Geographic channel. Smith was even a guest on Theoretical Physicist Michio Kaku’s radio show Science Fantastic.

For those who have not attended a lecture by Dr. Smith, you are in for a treat! He is an engaging lecturer who keeps attendees on the edge of their seats. You won’t want the lecture to end!

This event is free and open to the public.

This event has been brought to you by Clatsop County and Inn at Cannon Beach.

For more information about Cameron M. Smith –




It’s been almost 100 years since 1920. You can say the 20’s are making a come back, and why not? The 20’s was a time of social change, especially in the position of women: short skirts, short hair, and even the vote. People went to roadhouses and country clubs, danced the Charleston and the black bottom, smoked cigarettes and drank prohibition booze. The 1920’s was one big party– lots of money made and lots of money spent.

tumblr_mwab1ysQaq1qjediqo1_500.gifThe prosperity of the 1920’s was reflected in Cannon Beach in several ways. Prosperity for Cannon Beach meant more development. With the automobile becoming more affordable and more popular, the increase of motor traffic brought about six or seven auto camps to Cannon Beach. The auto camps consisted of “tent houses,” each tent had a stove and sometimes running water. The auto camp office was usually combined with a small grocery, and at some camps there was a dining hall.

711 147 E Van Buren const. 1923.jpg

Auto Camp in the 20’s, located in the area of Van Buren Street

More development in Cannon Beach meant more diversions, diversions that to some extent would draw people away from the beach and fireside. Cannon Beach acquired an indoor swimming pool called the Natatorium, a roller rink, riding stables and a moving-picture show.The Natatorium, a grand Latin name given to the indoor swimming pool, was filled with water that had been pumped from the creek. The water was heated with cordwood, later with oil. The Natatorium also had four private bathrooms, which could be rented for twenty-five cents, a boon for those auto campers that didn’t have plumbing. Bathing suits could also be rented, woolen suits that seemed to never get quite dry. The Natatorium also had a balcony above the pool. The balcony had a nickelodeon, and thus became a popular place to dance.


708.2 Natatorium w- cars.jpg

The Natatorium, located in the area of the present Whale Park.


The roller skating rink was the Natatoriums principal competition. The roller rink was also a source of music, a calliope that played melodies suitable for execution of the figure eight marked on the rinks maple floors. Both the Natatorium and the skating rink were the sites of the first moving-picture shows in Cannon Beach. The film was usually projected on one of the outside walls, the audience bringing their own seats in the form of apple boxes.

The fourth diversion was the riding stables. For one dollar, customers were offered a

302 horses at Kraemer's Pt

Horse riding in Cannon Beach in the 20’s.

leisurely trot along the beach, preferably at sunset, followed by a bonfire and barbecue. There were also those that brought down their own horses by riverboat from Portland to Astoria, riding on from there to Cannon Beach.


Looking Back, some view the twenties as the golden age for Cannon Beach. The locals made money while the summer people found all manner of recreation. Through the good times and bad times, those years in Cannon Beach brought untroubled serenity to many, especially when compared with what was to follow, with the stock-market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed. That story, however, will have to be saved for another time.



Are you fascinated with shipwrecks? Do you find yourself watching too many historical shows and movies about pirates, ships, or swashbuckling archaeologists? Then we have the perfect event for you.

Join us on Thursday, March 15 at 4 p.m. for a lecture on Oregon coast shipwrecks with marine archaeologist Chris Dewey. Dewey, MA, RPA, is a retired Naval Officer, instructor of archaeology and anthropology at Clatsop Community College, and President of the Maritime Archaeological Society (MAS). Headquartered in Astoria, Oregon, MAS was created to help document and share maritime history with the public. The Oregon coast is home to thousands of shipwrecks, some discovered and some not. It’s the MAS mission to assist archaeologists in locating, documenting, and conserving artifacts related to shipwrecks and other submerged archaeological sites.

Dewey will discuss the tools, techniques, and strategies used to discover and investigate shipwrecks and their histories. He will cover some of the greater- and lesser-known shipwrecks in our area and the efforts to locate and document their wreck sites.

The Cannon Beach History Center & Museum is a private non-profit that endeavors to make history available to all by offering donation-based admission. All lectures are free and open to the public.

Complimentary Sleepy Monk coffee will be available for attendees.Glenesslin on rocks

Oregon’s Military Heritage

On Thursday, February 22, the Cannon Beach History Center & Museum will host Oregon authors Alisha Hamel and Warren Aney as they present their book on Oregon’s impressive military heritage.

Screenshot 2015-03-14 14.06.41

A blimp patrols the Oregon Coast. This is Seaside, Oregon.

Oregon’s military heritage goes back thousands of years with native warrior traditions. These native cultures were relatively peaceful and welcomed visiting strangers such as the 1805-06 Army expedition led by Lewis and Clark. The overwhelming numbers of settlers and miners began taking over their traditional grounds. From 1847 to 1880, Army and volunteer units engaged Oregon’s native peoples in eight major conflicts. The Army built several forts from Oregon’s coast to the Snake River.

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Members of the Coast Guard’s mounted beach patrol cross an inlet during their patrol on the west Coast. The use of horses allowed the Coast Guard personnel to cover wide stretches of beach more quickly than on foot. Image courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Oregon Militia was first created in 1843 and this led to creation of the Oregon National Guard in 1887. Oregon Guard members and many other Oregonians served the nation in major overseas conflicts from the Spanish-American War through World Wars I and II. As the Pacific Northwest’s well-trained National Guard unit, the 41st Infantry Division served commendably from 1941 to 1945.

Oregonians served heroically in Korea and Vietnam. Recently, Oregon Army and Air National Guard units have been serving in Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. Oregon’s Militia and National Guard served the state in many civil-support actions, from quelling 1886 riots to Operation Tranquility peacekeeping in 1970 to tackling wildfires and floods.


A Japanese balloon bomb.

Most Oregonians are completely unaware of Oregon’s long military history, especially its pivotal role during WWII. The authors will give an engaging thirty to forty-minute presentation at the Cannon Beach History Center & Museum at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 22, 2018. They will also have copies of their book, “Oregon Military,” available for purchase.

This event is part of the Cannon Beach History Center & Museum’s annual lecture series. All lectures are free and open to the public. The museum is located at 1387 South Spruce Street in mid-town Cannon Beach. The museum is a private non-profit with a donation based admission program. Thanks to Clatsop County for making this a free event.

This event has been sponsored by Sea Sprite Guest Lodgings in Cannon Beach, Oregon!

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