Nine historical sites near Cannon Beach
History buffs will find plenty of interesting places to visit near Cannon Beach and along the north Oregon coast. Following are just a few historical spots to check out:
Wavecrest Inn — 4008 S. Hemlock, Tolovana Park/South Cannon Beach — Over the years, the Wavecrest has served as a hotel, grocery, soda fountain and bus stop. According to the book Arch Cape Chronicles by David and Alma English, in the 1920s, “one could drive onto the beach at the Wavecrest for the trip around Hug Point down to Arch Cape,” a few miles south of Tolovana.
The Coaster Theatre — 108 N. Hemlock, Cannon Beach — In 1924, Ray Walker built the Wave Roller Rink, which operated during the summer months until the 1950s. It would later morph into a movie theater and, in the late 1960s, into a 200-seat community theatre.
Oswald West Coastal Retreat — 1981 Pacific, Cannon Beach — Though Governor West’s original 1913 Adirondack-style cabin burned down in 1991, the home was rebuilt with meticulous attention to detail. The home was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 26, 1992.
Cape Meares Lighthouse — 3500 Cape Meares Loop, Tillamook — According to author and lighthouse historian Bryan Penberthy, construction on the Cape Meares Lighthouse, the shortest lighthouse on the Oregon Coast at just 38 feet tall, was complete by around Christmas 1889, with the lighting of the lamp on New Year’s Day 1890. Poor accessibility hampered construction. The lighthouse was decommissioned in the 1960s though it remains as part of the Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint inside the Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge.
U.S. Coast Guard Station, Tillamook Bay — 1 Coast Guard Way, Garibaldi — According to the National Register of Historic Places, “the station began its service during World War II as part of the national mobilization effort for the defense of the Pacific Coast. The original three buildings…embody the distinctive characteristics of the Colonial style, which was popular during the 1930s throughout the country and often favored for the design of buildings associated with the federal government.”
White Bird Gallery — 247 N. Hemlock, Cannon Beach — John and Mary Gerritse, who built a boarding house at 247 Hemlock in the 1930s, have a special part in Cannon Beach lore. In 1898, John discovered near Arch Cape the cannon from the U.S.S. Shark that capsized in 1846 near the mouth of the Columbia River. Cannon Beach would later be named for the cannon. In the late 1800s, his wife, Mary, was one of the first mail carriers on the North Oregon Coast, traversing on horseback the perilous trails around Neahkahnie Mountain to deliver the mail south. Today, the building is home to the White Bird Gallery.
Tillamook Rock Lighthouse — A mile off the coast of Ecola State Park — Because this historic lighthouse is more than a mile offshore and off limits to visitors, the best place to gaze upon “Terrible Tilly” is through a pair of good binoculars from the bluffs at Ecola State Park.
Pine Grove Community House — 225 Laneda Ave., Manzanita — Since opening in the early 1930s, the Pine Grove Community House has served as the community’s meeting place, as well as its unofficial city hall and quasi library.
Hug Point State Recreation Site — Highway 101, five miles south of Cannon Beach at the north end of Arch Cape — According to the Oregon State Parks Department, “Before [Highway 101] was built, the beach was the only way to travel along this stretch of coast. North of the parking area at low tide you may walk along the original stagecoach road, still harboring the wheel ruts carved into the rock. Pioneers traveling around this headland had to hug the point carefully, even at low tide. Thus, the point and the park are both aptly named Hug Point. Take a look at the stagecoach trail, the view of Haystack Rock to the north and the two caves around the point.”