Welcome to the summer season on the coast! Here are just a few pictures and postcards I have collected from days gone by in Gearhart Park and a little history…The original village or town of Gearhart was actually a planned resort – the first planned coastal resort community in Oregon. It was platted and incorporated in 1890 by Marshall and Narcissa Kinney. The original Gearhart Park was on all the land between present day Cottage Avenue, Railroad Avenue on the east side of Hwy 101, Fifth Street to the north and F Street on the south end of town.
The Ridge Path was a designated pedestrian promenade that was twenty-five feet wide and ran north to south just as it does today.
Where the Ridge Path crosses present day Pacific Way was the center of Gearhart Park. The original hotel was located there along with the livery stable, which still stands today on the creek, and an auditorium. The hotel burned down and was later rebuilt at the end of Pacific Way looking out at the ocean. That hotel also burned down and was rebuilt again and in later years it was demolished.
I guess they gave up after that and the land stood empty until it was eventually turned into a city park.
The Chautauqua auditorium was located near the present day elementary school and was a center of culture and art in the middle of “The Wilderness”. Famous speakers and singers and even the John Phillip Sousa Band performed in Gearhart Park! Narcissa Kinney was the driving force behind all these events and basically directed the general social scene of the resort. She was also a leader in the temperance movement (no alcohol allowed in Gearhart Park) and had great influence over the laws and governance of the town. It was actually illegal to sell alcohol within the original plat of Gearhart Park clear up until the late 1970’s!
Hard to believe that now as one of our main streets – South Ocean – is nicknamed “Gin Ridge”! Guess things livened up a bit in later years!
Here are the visitors and locals of Gearhart Park in 1910 on the wooden boardwalk of Pacific Way heading back toward the center of town. The golf course is on the left and you can see the homes along Cottage Avenue past the golf course. Some of those houses are still there – can you pick them out? I love the summer hats and long dresses. They all look so formal for a day at the beach! I think what was probably really happening was that everybody was walking from the ocean front hotel to the Chautauqua auditorium for a show.
Marshall and Narcissa Kinney lived in this mansion which stood backing up to the ridge path between present day 3rd and 4th Streets. After Narcissa passed away in 1905, Marshall donated the house and the grounds to the YWCA for a summer lodge and camp. This property, along with the land behind our cottage, eventually became the Episcopal summer retreat and camp. This picture is probably from around 1920.
Here is an overhead picture of the golf course and Cottage Avenue taken sometime between 1927 and 1935. The golf course was basically sand dunes and grass – no trees! The Episcopal Diocese bought the camp around 1927 and built the chapel the same year. You can see the Kinney mansion and the tennis courts and camp buildings backed up to the trees. The white house in front of it is the historic Burrell House which is still there! So is the big Sitka spruce tree! Next is our cottage and then St. Anne’s Chapel next door and the big low white camp building behind. The Kinney mansion was torn down in 1935.
This is another early picture of the Episcopal summer camp building before future additions were added. This building is gone now and another home is in it’s place. Most of the other little camp buildings are gone as well although I think one of those early buildings is possibly now my garage!
Okay…just a couple more random pictures….some I have shown before….
This is Pacific Way or “The Boulevard” as it was known back then looking west. This was the path from the train station in to the center of Gearhart Park. Looks like the edge of civilization and the end of the road…oh wait!….it is the end of the road!
That must be a really early picture because this wide boardwalk road was added a bit later. Here it is again looking east.
Not sure but I think this is Ocean Avenue….love those great old houses!!
Hope you enjoyed a little trip through history!
I will probably post more history stories along the way because I’m kind of a history nut! Don’t know why – it’s just the way I roll.
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