WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY

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Yachats celebrates half-century of cityhood in July – Celebration volunteers wanted!

Yachats River emptying into the Pacific Ocean Ken Gagne photo

Yachats River emptying into the Pacific Ocean
Ken Gagne photo

The City of Yachats is a calling on the community for volunteers to help the town celebrate 50 years of cityhood. Yachats was officially founded in July of 1966 and today now boasts around 700 souls inhabiting within its city limits.

The city-recruited volunteers will help highlight and memorialize major events and developments in the history of the area as well as specifics following the incorporation of Yachats. Anyone who would like to volunteer on this committee can do so by simply clicking here.

Yachats has a long storied past, much of it happy, if not wholesome, as Alsea natives created 20 different communities from the ocean to up-valley and coastal mountain retreats. Archaeologists say the civilization goes back at least 1,500 years but was brought to a painful halt by the invasion of the white man.

In the 1860s, it was determined that the Coos and Umpqua tribes would have to leave their ancestral homes to make way for white settlers wanting to take over the region for homesteading and farming. The tribes were marched 80 miles to the north and forced to settle in the Yachats area. Along the way many died, including a blind tribeswoman named a Amanda – she now, today, the namesake of the local “trail of tears.” After arriving in Yachats, the natives found out out the spot was too close to the coast for growing crops. Crop yields were not enough to feed everyone. Many starved to death in the first ten years of the settlement. Two years later the natives were allowed to farm up the Yachats River Valley where they grew potatoes, oats, wheat and corn. Eventually they were allowed to resume hunting.

But once again, the ever migrating whites moved in and took over the natives’ farms and connecting trails, forcing the natives to once again leave their homes and march 40 miles to the north to an area that eventually became Siletz – now a Native American center of activity in the region.

The decades came and went and finally the town of Yachts was created in 1917. Back then it was called Oceanview, then later Yachats in honor of the natives who originally lived there.

Yachats was more firmly connected to the outside world when the region became a leading source of spruce lumber. Lots of logging in the area. Both during World War I and II. They even built a railroad to move the timber out to lumber mills.

During the second world war the military built the West Shelter Civilian Conservation Corps near the top of Cape Perpetua, and an adjoining radar station and observation tower to detect enemy submarines or aircraft in the area. Foxholes and gunnery emplacements were installed along Ocean View Drive. Army troops were housed in the local skating rink. The local ladies club was rented for recreation. At one point, the Coast Guard discovered floating mines just offshore, whereupon they towed them back out to sea and detonated them.

The Little Log Church and historical museum was built in 1926 – built in the shape of a cross – is still with us today and is a favorite tourist attraction and a center for new matrimonial celebrations year round.

Since then Yachats has come to be known as an absolutely wonderful and quaint tourist town with unrivaled coastal beauty with endless trails and byways to enjoy.

The 50th Anniversary of the found of Yachats will have lots to work with in planning the celebration later this year during the month of July.

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