Garibaldi Cultural Heritage Initiative to give Pier’s End a new beginning

Garibaldi’s Pier’s End Boathouse is worth a visit not only because it offers a unique vantage point for viewing Tillamook Bay, but because the decommissioned U.S. Coast Guard lifeboat station represents the region’s maritime history.

Located roughly an eighth-of-a-mile south of the shore, off 12th Street in Garibaldi, the 2,000-square-foot Pier’s End Boathouse was constructed in the mid-1930s to house two 36-foot motor lifeboats and a 26-foot, oar-powered surfboat. All three vessels were launched on rails, fully manned and ready to search for seafarers in distress, through large doors. Coast Guard personnel winched the boats back into the building when they returned.

Coast Guard Pier's End

Coast Guard personnel pose in a boat just south of the Pier’s End Boathouse – the current Coast Guard Tillamook Bay barracks is visible on the hill in the background – in this undated photo, courtesy of John Luquette.

The Coast Guard decommissioned the facility in the early 1960s when it built a new, larger facility, capable of accommodating then-new, and now standard, 44-foot motor lifeboats, nearby.

Today, those who stroll along the walkway are likely to see oystercatchers, cormorants, bald eagles and other birds on the way. Turnouts, located every few feet, serve as ideal spots for crabbing, fishing and wildlife viewing. Bring your own chairs, however, as the Port does not allow people to set their crab rings and leave. A gravel parking lot at one end of the pier features a trashcan and portable restroom. The pier is open from dawn until dusk.

Pier's End boathouse

The walkway to Pier’s End Boathouse features a number of turnouts popular with crabbers and photographers. (Photo by LeeAnn Neal)

The Pier’s End Boathouse belongs to the Port of Garibaldi, which permits the public to walk along the pier, supported by more than 100 pilings. However, the building itself is closed with the Port planning to work with other entities to renovate it.

The Garibaldi Cultural Heritage Initiative, a coalition of business, government entities, nonprofit organizations and others are planning to restore the Pier’s End Boathouse in hopes of opening it to the public. Participants include: the Port of Garibaldi, Community Supported Fishery, Tillamook School District, Twin Rocks Outdoor Schools and Brittell Architecture.

The group is working with the United States Life Saving Service Heritage Association, which is interested in the structure because it is one of the few of its kind built over the water and using a marine railway to launch motor lifeboats.

LeeAnn Neal
LeeAnn Neal’s great-great-great grandfather Elbridge Trask and great-great grandfather Warren Vaughn were among the Tillamook County pioneers who built the Morning Star ship and who are featured in the Don Berry cult historical fiction novels “Trask” and “To Build a Ship.” She has been a journalist on the north Oregon coast for nearly 20 years, as well as a freelance writer and blogger for a wide range of publications throughout the country. She is an owner and editor of the Tillamook County Pioneer, which provides free-to-read online news.

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