Saturday, July 20, 2013

125th Anniversary of the first run of the Clamshell Railroad!

On July 19, 1888 - the little narrow gauge railroad, IR&N, took the first run.

Download the Clamshell Railroad Driving Tour HERE at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum site. 

Clamshell Railroad Days

(Our home is located on the original Stout Hotel grounds and across the street from Seaview's Depot. Our home was built in 1905 after the Hotel burnt down. The Depot was built the same summer as our home by Charles Beaver.  The lumber was likely on the same load as used for building our home.)

The Peninsula’s beloved narrow-gauge railroad made its last run in September 1930, but many in Seaview and the other towns on the line still celebrate our train with Clamshell Railroad Days in July.

Seaview’s popularity as a vacation site began in the 1870s when families would arrive by horseback, wagon, stagecoach and steamer to camp in the Willows, north of Cape Disappointment. The transition of Seaview from campground to resort is credited to Jonathon L. Stout who is believed to have come to the Peninsula as a barrel maker from Ohio in 1859. He married Ann Elizabeth Gearhart, daughter of Oregon’s Phillip Gearhart in 1860. He was postmaster of Ilwaco, operated a liquor store and stagecoach line. They homesteaded 153.5 acres near the Willows in 1880 to create a summer retreat that was registered as “Sea View” at the Oysterville courthouse in 1881. 

Lewis Alfred Loomis, one of the Peninsula’s founding fathers secured a mail contract between Astoria, Oregon and Olympia, the capital of Washington. The slowness of the stage line used, convinced Loomis that he should build a railroad to handle his business. Construction of his railroad, the Ilwaco Railroad and Navigation Co., began in March 1888 at the Ilwaco wharf, which was the central place of its business. Steamers could only reach the wharf after the tide was in mid-flood. So train departures were successively later over a month’s time. It is likely that the Ilwaco line was the only organized railroad to operate by a tide table, thus its nickname, the “Clamshell Railroad.”

The system’s first depot was built in Ilwaco not far from the wharf. Frank Strauhal, a summer camper, purchased Stout’s store and bathhouse in Seaview. He offered the railroad a lot, if a depot was erected on it. The line accepted and thus a wooden platform shed was built as a train stop on the current Seaview Depot site. The railroad reached Long Beach by July 1888. Track laying continued at a leisurely pace terminating at Nahcotta, 13 and a half miles north of Ilwaco.

In addition to the mail contract, passenger business and freight helped the railroad prosper. Over a thousand sacks of oysters were transported each week from Nahcotta to Ilwaco. From Ilwaco they were carried by the General Canby to Astoria for shipment to market in San Francisco. The freight charge from Nahcotta to Astoria was seventy-five cents a sack. Thursday was oyster day. Citizens with business in Astoria generally avoided that day.

In 1900, Loomis retired selling to a subsidiary of Union Pacific, the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company. Equipment was immediately improved and train crews were required to wear uniforms. At a 1904 Directors’ meeting the construction of a regular depot to replace the platform shed at Seaview was authorized. The railroad continued in operation until Sept. 10, 1930, when car ferries and highways brought most of us here.

Copied from Chinook Oberserver.2004 and courtesy of The Depot restaurant.
Sources: Raymond J. Feagans, “The Railroad That Ran by the Tide”; Thomas E. Jessett, “Ilwaco Railroad”; Lucile McDonald, “Coast Country.”

originally posted on July 15, 2005

Friday, July 12, 2013

Chasing Seagulls in the Marine Mist

We have a little grand-puppy frenchie who is almost 2 years old now.  She loves spending time on the beach - stalking and chasing the seagulls.  

 We keep her on a leash - because she will run and jump into the water chasing the birds.  There is a strong rip-tide here and a little frenchie is no match for the current - or vehicles driving along the beach.

North Head Lighthouse Celebration

photo credit 

The North Head Lighthouse recently celebrated the 115th Anniversary with an extra special event honoring the official ownership transfer from the US Coast Guard to Washington State Parks.
After listening to the Ilwaco High School Jazz Band and various dignitaries speak about the history of the Lighthouse - we all walked from the Lighthouse Keepers homes to the Lighthouse bluff. 

 A few years ago, local volunteers formed a non-profit to help with restoration efforts of our Lighthouse.

You can help by volunteering or becoming a member here. 

They also have a Facebook page with all the info.  Be sure to LIKE their page.
Now the badly needed restoration work can begin... but it is a big job.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Beards Hollow

We took a little bike ride along the Discovery Trail - down to Beards Hollow parking lot and back.  This was the lovely view tonight.

Beards Hollow is named after a Sea Captain who perished in 1805.
On November 15, 1805, Captain Lewis reached the Pacific Ocean near Beards Hollow. Beards Hollow was named after Captain E.N. Beard whose ship, the bark Vandalia, met disaster off the mouth of the Columbia River in 1853. The crew was lost and Captain Beard's body was found on the beach near the hollow.
More info can be found here.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Celebrating a friend's birthday

Out over the Nahcotta Tidelands - closer to Oysterville

Friends raked up 100 pounds of fresh steamers.
The sun set and we ate a Clam Bake - NW Style

Fresh caught King Salmon on a Cedar Plank.

Yummy home made carrot Birthday Cake with edible flowers!

Koi Pond Envy.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Putting together a little film studio

I have been inspired to put together a little film studio.  My first item arrived today - with a comb!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Local beach truck pulls TOW TRUCK to safety!

Jackie Sheldon - one of our beach mega volunteers, real estate agent and emergency preparedness trainer - has started posting some videos.

Gotta love it when a local (the guy who found that dock - by the way) has to give the big TOW TRUCK a tow out of the sand!

Japan Tsunami Debris in the News

A number of reporters follow me on twitter -and I follow them for the latest breaking news.  
This past week we had a flurry of activity.  Some unnamed beachcomber found (what they thought was) new tsunami debris and called the Dept of Ecology and the Sheriff to report a dock, airplane fuselage and other misc debris were washed ashore. 

This started a stream of tweets by news reporters, the sheriff department and those of us on twitter.  I was actually out of town for a meeting - but received numerous phone calls from the press - ask if they could use the photos on my blog HERE for their story.

I was confused.  That dock has been on shore for a few weeks.  I replied, "that isn't the new dock" - yet the calls kept coming.  I arrived home late that evening.

The following day, I read a tweet from Richard Thompson of KIRO 7 South Sound.  His twitter handle is @kirotvsouth.  He was looking for a 4X4 to drive up and find the dock and other tsunami debris.  
We met up at the Bolstad beach approach.  The news van is easy to spot.  We jumped in my 4X4 sport-trac and headed north on the sand.  We drove up to the dock - I mentioned before.  I said, "this isn't the new dock, there must be something further north".  We drove and drove, called the Sheriff directly and end of story... the report WAS on the dock found by Jason Knott that I reported HERE.  It wasn't a new thing.  (However, we have plenty of new tsunami debris items arriving daily.) And no one has seen anything resembling an airplane fuselage. Also, did I mention - the little dock was NOT from Japan.

Even CBS had a crew from San Francisco here. 
I met Richard from Kiro 7 before.  He did a previous beach trash story and we discovered common friends.
So- after a few hours of filming - they headed north toward Olympia and filed the story with the station in Seattle.  It aired Thursday night at 6pm and I am told again on KOIN 6 (Portland) the next day.  Click on the photo to see the original KIRO 7 news video.

The BIG July 5th Beach Cleanup starts at 9:30am.  Just head toward one of the area's beach approach roads and volunteers will check you in and give you garbage bags.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

ANOTHER Small dock washes ashore on Long Beach Peninsula

From the local paper: Small dock washes ashore on Long Beach Peninsula - Chinook Observer: Free

The press release from the Sheriff's office has a bit more information.

Long Beach, WA. – On June 20th, 2012 the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office was advised that more suspected Japanese Tsunami debris had been discovered on the beach between the city of Long Beach and the Cranberry Beach access road about five miles north of the city of Long Beach. The Sheriff’s Office received information from the department of ecology stating that a person had been recreating on the beach on June 19th during the early evening hours and located several items.

The suspected items were described as a dock that was about the size of a “pickup truck”, a refrigerator, a small television and what appeared to be a “seven foot long section of a small aircraft fuselage”. They noted several other noteworthy items such as light bulbs of various sizes and colors being scattered along the beach. Pacific County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the reported area and discovered the dock in question just north of the Cranberry Beach access road on the beach. Other smaller debris was noted but no metal fuselage was located. Deputies continued to check the beach area for other items but nothing was located.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Small Dock found north of Long Beach WA on Beach

One of our local friends found this dock (much smaller than the one in Oregon) on the beach a few weeks ago. Knowing him, it is surely recycled into something fabulous in the house he is building.

Pieces of boat with Japanese writing washes ashore near Ilwaco |

While I was in Vegas last weekend - speaking at a convention on social media- we had some excitement a few miles from the house.

Pieces of boat with Japanese writing washes ashore near Ilwaco |

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Foam crisis on our beach!

I received an urgent communication from Shelly of the Grassroots Garbage Gang!  She wondered if I had been on the beach, just north of Long Beach.  Brett and I were just arriving back in town and immediately detoured to the sandy beach.  (we can drive on our beaches)

A call for HELP! is going out to our community, visitors and summer residents.  Your help is needed!  Our beaches are filled with foam.  Not the foamy seawater that rolls onshore - but foam as in styrofoam.

A little information:  Styrofoam is a trademark of the Dow Chemical Corporation and you can read some interesting info on the wiki HERE. 

Foam (not necessarily styrofoam) is used in marine industry - keeps boats, docks and other items afloat.  Foam is used in building - insulation and even under roads to keep soil from freezing or displacing.

Foam has started started arriving on our beaches.  An email from Grassroots Garbage Gang volunteer extraordinaire - Ellen, describes the situation.
Hi.  I'm Ellen, a resident of Ocean Park, WA on the Long Beach Peninsula.  Having spent many hours on our beach, I found the view Sunday afternoon very disturbing.  Massive foam pieces in multiple numbers in our high tide line.  I collected and analyzed this foam over a 1 mile section of beach - from Joe Johns Rd (approx 290th) to 315th.  The attached Word doc describes the analysis in more detail and the attached Excel spreadsheet tallies the numbers.  Others here are witnessing the same phenomena in the high tides in OR and WA. 

I am convinced that we are now experiencing tsunami debris.  This foam is not glitzy or glamorous; it likely won't politically motivate our civil leaders to finance cleanup.  Foam clogging the high tide line and breaking up into smaller and smaller pieces down our coast has many consequences.  I am fearful. 

Sincerely, Ellen 
 (note- yes she did a complete analysis.  If you would like me to forward the excel and word docs - send me an email - nansenmalin at gmail dot com)

Grab a large trash bag - and head to the beach!  It is vital that we collect this 'foam' before it breaks into small bits.  The shore birds see living organisms inside the foam pellets.  The birds are digesting this foam!!

Our local newspaper, The Chinook Observer, has an article about the foam too.
note- Ellen and Shelly provided the photos below