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Before White Settlers:
Native Americans of the Alsi and Yahute tribes gathered, hunted, and fished in the Yachats area.
Shell Middens, such as the ones by Devils Churn or the Adobe Motel, are a reminder of the bounty the natives found in the Yachats area. The middens are piles of the shells the natives left behind as they processed the muscle, clams, and crab they fished for in the Yachats area. They also caught salmon and flounder with sharp sticks. Smelt were caught in dip-nets.
The fish and shell fish, together with venison and elk from the near by hills, were smoked or dried for the winter. Local plants were gathered and dried or ground for flour. The local vegetation also provided medicines and materials for clothing and shelters.
The natives regularly burned the hillside to ensure good hunting, a practice that was continued when the white man settled the area so they could have more grazing land for their live stock.
Captain Cook named Cape Perpetua
Sea going ships passed by the Oregon coast as early as 1543 when Barteleme Ferrelo came this way. Sir Frances Drake (in 1575) and Martin de Aguilar (in 1605) also are known to have passed by. But Captain Cook was the first white man to really get credit for being in the Yachats area, although he was not able to land due to the rocky shore. He named Cape Perpetua on March 7, 1787. Some say he named the 800 foot high cape after a saint whose birthday fell on that date, while others think that it was because a storm and high winds kept them in the area for several days, with that particular headland in sight the whole time, perpetually.
The first "establishment" in Yachats was an Indian Sub-Agency.
On August 11, 1855, an unratified treaty created the Coast Range Reservation, and the Alsea Sub-Agency was established at Yachats. This was home to natives from many different tribes and bands from throughout Oregon and Northern California.
Board houses, cattle sheds, a blacksmith shop, storage buildings for farm tools, and fields for crops all occupied the area at Agency Creek, near the present day Adobe Motel.
Some of the Native Americans also made a trail up the Yachats River and cleared land for farming.
The first white child was born in the Yachats Area.
Ida Case Ingalls was born at the Sub-Agency in 1871. She was the daughter of Mr. Sam Case, the current Agent. Mr. Case served from 1870 to February 1872, then again from March 23, 1873 to June 7, 1873. He later moved to Newport and became very involved with the development of the town and education. One of the Newport elementary schools is named after him.
The Sub-Agency closed at Yachats.
During the 20 years following the establishment of the Coast Reservation many changes took place. The Reservation was divided when the center section, near Yaquina Bay, was opened to settlement in 1866. In March of 1875 the U.S. Senate passed a bill that removed the Sub-Agency and granted land to all the Indians that wanted to homestead. Some chose to remain in the Yachats area, and they were "allowed to" as long as they were able to support themselves.
Oceanview, Benton County, Oregon Post Office Established
The first post office in Yachats (then called Oceanview) was established near the old reservation, and Miss Jenneta Kindred was appointed the postmistress. In 1912 the Oceanview Post Office was moved to the Hosford residence, which was near the mouth of the Yachats River.
Getting the mail to and from Yachats was never easy, and until the road was rocked in 1931 rains made it impossible for the mail to be carried by car.
Vacationers discover Yachats
Vacationers started coming to the Yachats area in the early 1900s. While some camped near the mouth of the river, others owned summer cabins. They came down the beach from Waldport, or came over the Yachats Mountain Road.
In 1905 a chittum bark warehouse was converted to the Yachats Motel, and the tourist industry really began. In 1920 the first cabins were built and others followed.
Today the tourist industry is the main business, and most of the Citys revenue comes from the bed tax.
Forest Service opened a road around Cape Perpetua
Although there were Native American trails interlaced throughout the cape, and a crude trail cut by the early homesteaders for carrying the mail to and from Florence, the Yachats area was very isolated. Then in 1914 the U. S. Forest Service blasted a narrow road around Cape Perpetua and a wooden bridge was built across the Yachats River, making travel between the Yachats area and Florence easier. The wooden bridge was replaced in 1926 with a steel structure built by Montag and Sons, at a cost of $23,034.
Oceanview renamed Yachats (YAH-HOTS)
It was decided that since there were already too many towns on the coast named "Oceanview" the name should be changed. On February 18, 1917 the name Oceanview was replaced, and the Yachats postmark was established.
Other spellings and pronunciations for Yachats have included Youitts (Lewis and Clark Expedition); Youitz (Samuel Drakes Book of Indians of North America); Yawhick, Yahuck, and Yahauts (from various Indian Affairs reports); and Yahuts, Yahatc, Yahats, Yahach, and Yaqa yik (from various history books). The current spelling and pronunciation is presumed to come from the German settlers.
According to the native language, the YA means water. The rest of the word has been interpreted as "Dark water at the foot of the mountain", "Dark water between timbered hills", or "Little river with big mouth".
Camp 1 established north of Yachats
Soldiers of the Signal Corps were organized as the Spruce Division on June 15, 1918 and they came to Lincoln County to log for the spruce needed for airplanes. The soldiers, who were mostly from the central and eastern part of the United States, knew very little about logging, but it didnt take them long to learn. They lived in eight-man walled tents, with larger tents for the mess hall and kitchen.
A railroad was constructed from South Beach to Camp 1 to transport the logs. The logs were then transferred by boat to the north side, and on to the mill in Toledo. The railroad was completed just three days before the Armistice, and the mill in Toledo was only 70% finished when the war ended, but the spruce logging continued for many years.
With the railroad no longer needed for the war effort, it was auctioned off to a company known as the Pacific Spruce Corporation. The corporation maintained the settlement at Camp 1, and provided work for a lot of the locals. A Ford truck was equipped with rail wheels so it could run on the railroad, providing transportation and hauling services for the local residents.
Little Log Church built in Yachats
When R. J. and Mrs. Phelps came to Yachats in 1926 through the Evangelical United Brethren Church Missions, he organized the construction of the first real church in the area.
The church, built in the shape of a cross, was a community effort. Sir Robert Perks, who owned most of Yachats at the time, donated the property. Local people cut and hauled the shakes, and the logs were donated. The pews, windowpanes, and Bible came from a church in Philomath. They were hauled over the Alsea road and down the beach to Yachats.
In 1969, when the congregation out-grew the church it became the property of the Lincoln County Historical Society. It was later given to the City of Yachats, and is now maintained as the Little Log Church and Museum. The church is a popular place for weddings, while the museum houses displays of historical interest and showings of local art.
The Roosevelt Memorial Highway opens Yachats and the surrounding area to the world.
In the early 1930s the section of the Roosevelt Memorial Highway around Cape Perpetua was completed. This highway is now known as Hwy 101. Construction around Cape Perpetua was difficult and dangerous; and, the equipment used was small and primitive compared to what road builders have today.
In 1930 the State Highway Department, looking for rock suitable for crushing, hired a local contractor to drill a test hole in the center of Cape Perpetua. The stone was considered unsuitable, but the large hole remained until the State had it closed up as protection against sabotage during the war. This hole, which was used for shelter by "Knights of the Road" for years, came to be known as "Cape Perpetua Cave" and rumors told of buried pirates treasure.
Cape Perpetua, and the Yachats area, became home to the CCCs.
As part of an effort to give American men jobs during the depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps was established. A camp was built near the site of the current Cape Perpetua Visitors Center and the men living there worked on many different projects throughout the area. Rockwork was one of the main skills they concentrated on; and, the rock walls around the cape, as well as the shelter built at the top of the cape were projects completed by the residents of the camp.
World War II comes to the Yachats Area.
During the early days of the war the shelter built by the CCCs at the top of Cape Perpetua was used as an observation site and radar station. A large gun was installed, and personnel looking for submarines and aircraft manned it.
Foxholes and gun emplacements along the ocean drive on the hill really brought the war close to home for the locals. Military personnel outnumbered the civilians, and it was rumored the government had spent a million dollars in Yachats installations.
The military personnel were housed in the skating rink on West Fourth and the Ladies Club was rented for recreation.
U. S. Navy blimps from the Tillamook Air Base patrolled the coast as well, looking for Japanese submarines.
After the war quite a few Japanese mines floated upon the beaches. The Coast pulled them out to sea and blew them up.
1900 Murphys established the first store.
1905 A dozen settlers got together to string telephone wire, and start their own telephone company. All the connections were on one "party-line".
1926 The first radio was brought to Yachats.
1930 The water district was formed, and electric service was made available.
1954 Homer Stokes installed an antenna on the hill, and the first TV service was established.
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