The largest city of the Central Oregon Coast, Newport has a remarkable history and rich cultural heritage.
Newport was originally inhabited by the Yacona Native Americans who lived in the region for at least three thousand years before the arrival of the first European settlers. During the establishment of the Siletz Reservation in 1855, the Yacona people were relocated.
The 19th century was a period when people migrated from different parts of the world and discovered that this coastal land had a great potential for businesses and prosperity.
In 1852, the schooner Juliet was stranded by storms on the Central Oregon Coast. The captain and crew explored Yaquina Bay and discovered oyster beds. This great discovery and demand for oysters brought entrepreneurs and new settlers. In 1863, two oyster companies were opened.
In 1866, a former soldier, Sam Case built the first hotel at the northwest of Yaquina Bay to help accommodate the greater number of tourists. The building was named Ocean House after one of the best hotels in Newport, Rhode Island.
Sam Case continued with his mission of building houses and cottages. Later, in July 1868, he established the first post office becoming the first Newport postmaster. In 1868, the town was named Newport after a town in Rhode Island.
The city of Newport is home to two lighthouses. The Yaquina Bay Lighthouse was constructed in 1871 on the northwest of Yaquina Bay to help ships and boats to navigate safely. However, because of the lighthouse location, ships entering from the north could not see any lights. Three years later, a new lighthouse was built. Located approximately three miles north of the first lighthouse at Yaquina Head, the new lighthouse named Yaquina Head Lighthouse is positioned 162 feet above sea level and visible from all sides.
In 1884, when the railroad from Corvallis to Yaquina City was completed, Newport experienced a significant tourism growth. Nye Beach became the central district of Newport. In 1891, a boardwalk that linked Bayfront and Nye Beach was constructed. By the early 1900s, hotels, cottages, a natatorium, hot sea baths, taffy stores, and agate shops were built makin Nye Beach a touristic destination number one.
Another important change that took place was the construction of the Roosevelt Coast Military Highway (Highway 101) and Yaquina Bay Bridge. The bridge linked two parts of Highway 101 that made it possible to drive across the bay instead of using a ferry boat.
With the building of Highway 101 and the Yaquina Bay Bridge among other merchant buildings, the city became a hub for tourism business development that grew up exponentially.
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