History Of Lincoln City Oregon
The first visitors who traveled to Lincoln City by automobile slogged their way before there were established roads. They came to bask in the summer sunshine and walk the splendid beaches from the Salmon River estuary to Siletz Bay.
With the exception of the Taft Grade and High Schools, and a few local churches, the Chamber of Commerce is the longest sustained operating organization in North Lincoln County.
The first Taft Chamber of Commerce was formed in January 1928 and since that time there have been several chambers that have organized, reorganized, closed, renamed and combined. Predecessors of today’s Chamber of Commerce include Delake Chamber of Commerce; Delake Community Club; Taft Chamber of Commerce; Oceanlake Chamber of Commerce; North Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce; Devils Lake Chamber of Commerce; Taft-Nelscott Chamber of Commerce; Oregon Coast Ad Club and the 20 Miracle Miles Chamber of Commerce. ‘History of Chamber of Commerce of North Lincoln County’
Lincoln City History
Before the time of European contact and non-Indian settlement, all of the Oregon Coast was home to many Tribes and bands of Native Americans. The area that now is Lincoln City was part of the original Coast (Siletz) Reservation established in 1855.
Lincoln City was incorporated on March 3, 1965, uniting the cities of Delake, Oceanlake and Taft, and the unincorporated communities of Cutler City and Nelscott. These were adjacent communities along U.S. Route 101, which serves as Lincoln City’s main street. The name “Lincoln City” was chosen from contest entries submitted by local school children. The contest was held when it was determined that using one of the five communities’ names would be too controversial.
Cutler City was located on the east shore of Siletz Bay. The community was started by Mr. and Mrs. George Cutler. It is claimed they received the property from Chief Charles “Charley” DePoe of the Siletz tribe (part of the present-day Confederated Tribes of the Siletz). Cutler City post office ran from 1930 until the formation of Lincoln City.
Delake was near Devils Lake, and was named for the way the local Finnish people pronounced the name of the lake. Delake post office was established in 1924, and reestablished as Oceanlake (see below) in 1927.
Nelscott was named by combining the surnames of Charles P. Nelson and Dr. W.G. Scott, who founded the community in 1926. Nelscott post office ran from 1929 until incorporation as Lincoln City. Nelscott Reef is known for its surf and was in ?Surfer Magazine? in 2003 as one of the Pacific Ocean’s best places to surf.
Oceanlake was named for its position between Devils Lake and the Pacific Ocean. Its post office ran from 1927 until incorporation as Lincoln City. Also is now location of Oceanlake Elementary School.
Taft was named for the 27th U.S. president William Howard Taft. Taft post office was established in 1906, and was named when Taft was Secretary of War. The post office ran until incorporation as Lincoln City.
Homesteaders began arriving in what is now the Lincoln City area soon after Congress passed the Dawes Act in 1887. This act opened up Coast Reservation lands to white settlement and gave eighty acre “allotments” to reservation Indians. Native Americans as well as white settlers first inhabited land along the Siletz River, Siletz Bay and the Salmon River. Early settlers homesteaded the land and combined subsistence farming with fishing and hunting in order to survive on the isolated coast.
Sissie and Jakie Johnson Jr. were the first residents of Taft. They had been given a 160- acre allotment on Siletz Bay as compensation when reservation lands were taken away. With its location on Siletz Bay providing access to the coast and ocean, and the Siletz River providing transportation to people living along the river, Taft became the center of north Lincoln County’s social and economic life. Homesteaders came into town for festivities on most holidays, but the Fourth of July drew the biggest crowds.
John W. Bones erected the first store in Taft, establishing a post office in the store on January 22, 1906 with Mr. Bones as the first postmaster. When naming the town Mr. Bones requested first the name of Siletz Bay but this was rejected since there was already a town of Siletz in the area. He named the town for William Howard Taft who was then Secretary of War and later became president.
In the mid-twenties and early 1930s, Herbert Rexroad, one of the earliest businessmen to settle in Oceanlake, operated a campground in the grove of trees believed to have been the exact spot where Jason Lee and his party camped. The large tract owned by Rexroad and his partner Edgar L. Hoyt was registered as “Devils Lake Park” and constituted the main business section of the town. Another large tract of land, owned by the Catholic Church, was called Raymond, named for Father Raymond, the church’s pastor.
The town had no official name until 1926 when a post office was established with A. C. Deuel as the first postmaster. Some have given Mr. Duel credit for naming the town, but it is also thought Mrs. H.E. Warren, a member of the Booster Club, is the author of the name, having described the area as lying between the ocean and the lake. Oceanlake annexed Wecoma Beach, another small town to the north, and was incorporated as a full city on November 3, 1945. Boyd C. Jenkins, a dentist, was the first mayor.
The earliest homesteaders included Mr. and Mrs. Henry Hostetler, who bought Indian allotment land as early as 1910, and the Thorpe brothers, Alvin and Harry. Harry purchased land to the south of the Hostetlers and named the platted tracts “Camp Roosevelt” and “Roosevelt by the Sea” after the newly completed Highway. The origin of the name Delake has several versions. In one, early Finnish homesteaders would say of the area, “I’m going to de lake,” and the name stuck to the area. In another, the d and e constitute a French word meaning “by”, hence, the area “by the lake.”
The first store and Post Office in Delake was established in 1924. A.C. Duel was the storekeeper and became the town’s first postmaster.
The “D” River, which runs through the center of Delake, has been known by various names in the past including “the outlet”. A contest determined its permanent name, giving the shortest river in the world the shortest name.
Possibly because of Nelscott’s dense forest of spruce and hemlock, no settlers are known to have inhabited the future town site until shortly before 1910, when August Wallace homesteaded on the land.
In the early 1900’s, Charles P. Nelson glimpsed a lovely valley gently sloping to the sea as he walked the beach from Taft to Cloverdale, noting the wooded hills on three sides and crystal stream flowing to the sea. Years later, when Mr. Nelson and Dr. W. G. Scott were looking for land to develop they revisited the area, found it for sale, and purchased it. Combining their last names at the suggestion of Mrs. Nelson, they formed the Nelscott Land Company and the town of Nelscott was born.
When Nelscott’s second store opened in 1927, it contained offices for the Land Company, a restaurant, a bus depot, hotel rooms and living quarters. In 1929 it also contained Nelscott’s first post office.
Cutler City was the third town site in North Lincoln County. Originally part of the allotment of Charlie Depoe, a Siletz Indian, the land was sold to Mary and George E. Cutler of Dallas who established a town site on June 4, 1913. The North Lincoln Rhododendron Society was organized in 1938 for the purpose of preserving native plants and celebrating the blooming season. Cutler City, abloom with so many colorful rhododendrons from May through June, was chosen as its rhododendron capital.
In the 1930s these towns competed with other coastal towns to attract tourists and increase business. Annual events like Taft’s Redhead Roundup and Oceanlake’s Regatta drew visitors from all over the state and further emphasized the distinctive characteristics of each town.
Because government services to these communities, such as fire and police protection, were needed by all, a long debate ensued as to whether the towns, some of which had incorporated as cities, should combine. However, since all of the towns in the area developed somewhat independently of one another, and had separate post offices, many people were reluctant for the towns to join together as one, and a protracted discussion ensued.
On March 3, 1965, after several failed attempts; Cutler City, Taft, Nelscott, Delake, and Oceanlake incorporated as Lincoln City. When it was determined that using one of the five cities’ names would be too controversial, a contest was held to find a new name. “Lincoln City”, submitted by school children, was chosen from among the entries.