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Historic Sites


Along the 804 Trail N, Yachats Oregon


The historic Yachats 804 Trail probably first served as a footpath for tribal people, later becoming part of County Road 804, which included the 7-mile stretch of beach between Yachats and Waldport at low tide. County Road 804 served as the settler's route of travel between the farmland of the upper Yachats River valley and Waldport's Alsea Bay until the 1930s and the completion of Hwy 101. The highway replaced the oceanside portion of County Road 804, allowing it to resume its ancient use as a footpath.

The 804 Trail North begins from the parking lot of Smelt Sands Recreation Site and winds north 3/4 mile where it connects to the 7-mile stretch of sandy beach. During the 1970s a long legal battle ensued to have this section of trail vacated. Oregon's high court finally ended the argument with its ruling in the mid-1980s that the 804 Trail N must be continued. This 3/4 mile section of trail subsequently became part of Oregon State Parks.

Successful mediation with local home owners in the late 1990s allowed for the completion of the 804 Trail South. The 804 Trail South is about a mile in length, stretching from the south edge of Smelt Sands Recreation Site across the lawn behind the Adobe Resort, through oceanside neighborhoods to the north side of the Yachats River, Yachats State Recreation Area, and downtown Yachats.

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, you may catch a guided walk at Smelt Sands to learn about the 804 Trail's history and find native plants - watch for the State Park's Roving Interpreter who leads these walks Wednesdays through Sundays. Smelt Sands State Recreation Area is located one mile north of downtown on Hwy 101. The trail is wheelchair accessible. Be Beach Safe


Another historic trail site is the newly completed Amanda Trail, which connects south Yachats to the top of Cape Perpetua. This trail was built in honor of Amanda, a blind Coos woman who suffered injustices during the 1860s relocation years. For more information about this trail and the difficult, but important history of the relocation years, please see Publications.

 

Little Log Church Museum, Yachats Oregon The Little Log Church Museum at the corner of W 3rd and Pontiac streets was built in the late 1920s by community volunteers using local timber hauled down the Yachats River. It was completed and dedicated in 1930. The church and property was sold to the Oregon Historical Society in 1969 when the congregation out grew this site. It became a museum in 1970 and was deeded to the city in 1986. The Little Log Church Museum houses settler exhibits, an extensive fossil shell collection, and works by local artists and authors. It is staffed by volunteers and open to visitors daily from Noon to 3 p.m. - closed Thursdays. Click here for Museum Exhibits information.

 

North Fork Yachats Covered Bridge, Yachats Oregon From town, enjoy a 9-mile scenic drive up the Yachats River Road to visit the historic North Fork of the Yachats River Covered Bridge.  Seven miles up Yachats River Rd., you will cross a small cement bridge - turn left here onto the N Fork Yachats River Rd - a well-maintained gravel road - for the final two miles. (Street cars are fine, but the road will not accommodate RVs). Park in the small turn-out before the bridge and walk across. The N Fork Yachats Covered Bridge was built in 1938 with a Queenpost truss, one of the few of this type remaining in Oregon. It was faithfully restored in 1989. Look up the hillside above the bridge for a view of a giant old-growth Hemlock tree. If you make this trip in the early morning or evening, watch for elk grazing in pasture land shared by goats, horses and belted black cattle, affectionately referred to by local children as the oreo cows for the creamy white stripe that circles their mid-sections.

 

West Stone Shelter, Cape Perpetua Turn east off Hwy 101 two miles south of town at the Cape Perpetua Campground exit; then follow the fork to the left up Overlook Road to the top of the mountain. This is the highest point that you can drive to on the Oregon coast. A half-mile loop trail leaves the parking lot to the West Shelter viewpoint. Built in the 1930s by stone masons of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the West Shelter viewpoint was used as a look out point during World War II. Today it provides an unsurpassed panoramic ocean view and an ideal location for whale watching. This trail is wheelchair accessible with some assistance recommended.

The Forest Service at Cape Perpetua operates a Visitors Center with natural and cultural history exhibits. Learn about the ancient Indian shell middens found on Cape Perpetua and the surrounding area. The exit for the Visitors Center is just south of the Campground/Overlook exit on Hwy 101.

From the Visitors Center at Cape Perpetua you may hike The Giant Spruce Trail (2 miles round trip). The majestic old Sitka Spruce at the end of this trail is nearly 600 years old, more than 180 feet tall, and has a 40 foot circumference. It was recently designated an Oregon Heritage Tree, and it has a truly amazing story of survival. See: Giant Spruce of Cape Perpetua.

 

Heceta Head Lighthouse, just south of Yachats Oregon Heceta Head Lighthouse signals to seafarers from atop a magnificent forested promontory just 14 miles south of Yachats. This working lighthouse, circa 1894, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world. The lighthouse is currently closed for renovation, but the keeper's house continues to operate as a bed & breakfast and is open for public tours Memorial Day through Labor Day and again in December when decorated for its annual Victorian Christmas Open House.


 

PUBLICATIONS & PRESENTATIONS:

Early Yachats History Recently updated; written by Joanne Kittel and Suzanne Curtis in 1996. It is presented with permission from Robert Kentta, Cultural Director of The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians.

Living Among Shell Middens - Preserving the past, Looking to the Future
(YOU TUBE) A presentation by Phyllis Steeves, Archaeologist and Tribal Liaison for the Siuslaw National Forest, October 9, 2010. Music to open and close the presentation was provided by Doc Slyter, Elder, Tribal Flutist, and Chair of the Cultural Committee, Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians. Presentation sponsored by The Yachats Academy of Arts & Sciences with support from Friends of the Yachats Commons Foundation.

Yachats Then and Now - from video produced by local historians Mr. & Mrs. Leigh Green (about 1990)

Oregon Coast Magazine:
The Alsea People of Cape Perpetua (2011)
Camp Waldport (2011) Conscientious Objector Camp WWII
Giant Spruce of Cape Perpetua (2007)

Register Guard - Eugene:
Following in the footsteps of history (2011) Amanda Trail
A Step Forward - Years of volunteer efforts pay off with a new link that makes a coastal trail safer to walk (2009) Amanda Trail

OTHER SITES OF INTEREST:

Agate Windows - Yachats Community Presbyterian Church

The Yachats Commons - Built in the mid-1930s and used as a school until 1983. In 1990 the school was purchased by the city to be used as a community center.

Yachats.info - links to articles and historic data

Yachats on Wikipedia

Alsea Bay Bridge Interpretive Center - Located in Waldport at the base of the bridge, this is a marvelous center for the history of Oregon bridges. There is a wooden toy bridge here to entertain children while adults enjoy the old photographs and other exhibits. FMI: 541-563-2002 or 1-800-551-6949.

June 23-Labor Day weekend, a park interpreter leads an Alsea Bay Bridge Walk on Fridays-Mondays at 2:00 p.m. FMI: Ranger Cameron, 541-270-8480.

Alsi Historical & Genealogical Society / Waldport Heritage Museum

Waldport History

Camp Waldport, or Civilian Public Service (CPS) Camp No. 56 and the Fine Arts Group

Yaquina Bay Light Station   and  Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Newport's Historic Nye Beach Area and Historic Working Waterfront

Oregon Coast History Center, 541-265-7509 - 545 NW 9th, Newport. Maritime, logging, settlement, Native American exhibits.

Siuslaw Pioneer Museum, 541-997-7884 - Located in Old-Town Florence

Oldtown Florence Waterfront

 

 

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