The rustic little building at the corner of Third and Pontiac Streets in Yachats has been a part of this coastal community for generations.
Built in the shape of a cross from local timber hauled down the Yachats River, the Little Log Church was completed and dedicated in 1930. It was served by ministers from the Oregon Conference of the Evangelical Church, and later by pastors from the Presbyterian Church. When the congregation grew too large for the little building, members built a new church a few blocks away, and the Little Log Church and property was sold to the Oregon Historical Society on the condition it be maintained as a museum. The site was deeded to the city of Yachats in 1986.
The building underwent a complete restoration in 1993, made possible by enthusiastic community support and the loving hands of volunteer workers.
Today the Little Log Church Museum houses a rich treasure of local historical artifacts as well as contemporary works on loan as exhibits. It is still regularly used for weddings, memorials, and special events in addition to fine arts exhibits.
Little Log Church and Museum
By Mary Crook, Events Coordinator
A few weeks ago a gentleman from Toledo strode into the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center carrying what appeared to be a couple of seven foot long sticks wrapped in several layers of netting. He told the volunteer he wanted to donate it to the Little Log Church, and asked if she would see to it they received it. Fortunately the volunteer on duty also volunteers at the Log Church (this happens often around here) and she readily accepted the item on behalf of the museum.
The item was a smelt dipping net hand made by the donor. It appears to have had plenty of use over the years, and indications of multiple repairs made by this smelt fishing enthusiast.
We have a photograph at the museum of a group of smelters wading in the surf and using the nets to haul out as many of the little critters as they could possibly carry. We estimate the photo was taken about 1940, when smelting was big. One of the group has been identified as Rev. Lyman Myers, who served as pastor of the Log Church at that time. If the smelt were running, Rev. Myers would grab his nets and pails and dip with the best of them.
It’s a great photo, but one doesn’t have a full appreciation of what was involved until one can actually see a smelt dipping net up close and personal. It’s HUGE! It must have required a good deal of muscle power to manage it in and out of the water.
Smelt runs diminished considerably over the years and by the 1990s they were almost gone. They are now deemed a threatened species, and are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. They are slowly returning to the waters of the Columbia River, and Oregon is allowed to set minor seasons (read VERY MINOR). This year Oregon dippers were allowed on the Sandy River (only) from 6:00 a.m. until noon Saturday and Sunday March 14 and 15. They can only be taken by dip-netting, and the limit this year was 10 pounds per person, or about one-fourth of a five-gallon bucket – quite a change from the hey-days of the 1940s and earlier.
We appreciate being able to share a little piece of history at the Little Log Church, thanks to Mr. Butch Newton of Toledo. Stop by some time and take a look at our newest exhibit.
Little Log Church & Museum 547-3976
Hours: 12 - 3 pm / M, T, W, F, S & S; Closed Thursday
328 West Third Street / PO Box 712, Yachats OR 97498
Director: Karl Christianson.
City of Yachats Museum Exhibits
What happened at the Little Log Church last year?