History of the Nehalem Valley Thrives in Manzanita

If you don’t know it’s there, you might easily walk right on by the Nehalem Valley Historical Society in Manzanita. And that would be a shame, because you’d be missing a collection of artifacts detailing some of the most fascinating stories of the area. Stories like the tragic fate of Bayocean, the luxury resort that washed out to sea; the shipwreck of the Spanish Galleon carrying a cargo of beeswax – some of which is on display; and artifacts supporting the locally held belief that it was here on the Nehalem Bay that Sir Frances Drake landed when he circumnavigated the globe in 1579.

Beeswax from the cargo of a Spanish Galleon

Beeswax from the cargo of a Spanish Galleon

You might also find on hand Tom Mock to help fill in the details of those stories.

“This is something I’ve always enjoyed,” says Mock. “It’s really nice to have the history. There are so many of our residents that have been here for such a long time. When they pass on, if you don’t have an archive or place where you can accumulate it, the history disappears. It disappears and you miss out on your heritage.”

 Fortunately, Mock meets plenty of people who are willing to help make sure that doesn’t happen.

“The Reed Family was one of the well-known early, early families here,” says Mock. “We’ve got the family Bible. That to me is just a wonderful piece of history. In those days, you’d put your lineage in there. It’s a big Bible, accidentally found at a garage sale. Someone who recognized it bought it for $10 and donated it to us. The writings go back to 1884. It goes to show how some intrinsic valuable pieces of our history end up at the dump.”

And how little it takes to save them.

The Nehalem Valley Historical Society is at 225 Laneda Avenue in Manzanita. Hours vary, but the society is open most weekends. Email info@nehalemvalleyhistory.org or call 503.368.7460.

Lori Tobias
Lori Tobias is a journalist of more than 25 years, most recently as a staff writer for The Oregonian for which she covered the Oregon Coast for a decade. She currently writes a regular column for Oregon Coast Today and freelances for numerous other local, state and national publications. Her novel "Wander" is due out from Red Hen Press in 2016.

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