Newport History - Oregon Coast

The largest city of the Central Oregon Coast, Newport has remarkable history and rich cultural heritage.

Newport was originally inhabited by the Yacona Indians who had lived in the region for at least three thousand years before the arrival of the first Euro-American settlers. During the establishment of the Siletz Reservation in 1855, the Yacona Indians were relocated.

The 19th century is a period when people migrated from different parts of the world and discovered that this coastal land has a great perspective 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 to the region. 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 in Rhode Island.

Sam Case continued with his mission of building houses and cottages. Later, on 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.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse
Yaquina Head Lighthouse
Yaquina Bay Lighthouse
Yaquina Bay Lighthouse

The city of Newport is a 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 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 was experienced a significant tourism growth. The central district of Newport, Nye Beach was named after John Nye, who claimed this land in 1866. A boardwalk, constructed in 1891, linked Bayfront and Nye Beach. Hotels, cottages, a natatorium, hot sea baths, taffy stores, and agate shops were built by the early 1900s, making Nye Beach a touristic destination number one.

Nye Beach - Newport

Nye Beach - Newport

Another important change that took place was the construction of Roosevelt Coast Military Highway (Highway 101) and Yaquina Bay Bridge. The bridge linked two parts of Highway 101 that made possible to drive across the bay instead 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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