This is what the first auto trip between Newport and south Lincoln City looked like 100 years ago. It was a car sponsored by the Commercial Club of Newport, a forerunner of today’s Chamber of Commerce and they were graphically, if not painfully pointing out the need to build a road between the two areas of the county. This photo shows what it took to get the vehicle across Fogarty Creek, north of Depoe Bay; ingenuity was a must.
The re-enactment of the journey is to take place the exact day in 2012 that it did in 1912 when the brave Commercial Club members set out on their perilous mission to demonstrate why a “real” road should be built. The journey started out on July 20th at the Abbey Hotel on Newport’s Bayfront and wound its way along the coast north to the mouth of the Siletz River just north of what is today’s Salishan Resort. Admittedly, most of the journey then was over little more than farm paths and a lot of beaches. The 46 mile round-trip took about 23 hours, according to historical records and required numerous tools and lots of imagination on the part of the driver and his crew, especially as they circumnavigated Cape Foulweather, then called Bald Knob.
The symbolic sojourn wrangled acceptance by the state that a coastal road should be constructed, which eventually included a bridge over Rocky Creek, rather than something more inland. Had it been inland we might have had the county seat based in Siletz rather than initially in Toledo and then Newport.
The drive and celebration is being directed by a committee, facilitated by the Historical Society. The Society is seeking other interested coastal residents to join the committee which will meet again on March 21st, 1pm, in Newport, at the Historical Society’s Carriage House at 545 SW 9th Street, Newport. Those interested should contact Diane Disse at 541-265-7509 or at OchcEducator@NewportNet.net