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Departure and Early Assignments We soon departed for the Pacific. We left Norfolk hauling a big barge that we took to Panama and left there. We went through the canal and into the Pacific, and that's where we stayed for a long period of time. Our first duty was to go to San Diego and pick up a dry dock and get underway for Pearl Harbor. Eventually we made it to Pearl Harbor and had duty there for two weeks. We then prepared to tow three barges loaded with bombs, and head for the deep Pacific and our first stop was in the Gilbert Islands at Funafuti. We experienced many air raids and they were always at night. Captain Lee made sure if he could find a provision of beer anywhere he'd find it and get it on board. If we got beer on board we'd take it over to Funafuti and to the airbase and split it with the fighter pilots. They'd take off with the beer and go up to cool it down at 15,000 feet for 30 minutes. Many fighter pilots received much combat air time for cooling beer, but records would show otherwise.
The first island we invaded was Eniwetok. We then invaded and took over Kwajalein. The fleet was there for bombardments. There was nothing unusual and we had normal amounts of casualties. We were involved with the Makin Islands when Carlson's Raiders came in on subs. We were the decoy. That was a fiasco as the Raiders took off at night from the subs and hit the beach. They destroyed most of the garrison on the island. We didn't realize they were so lightly populated with Japanese. Unfortunately we left 10 Marines at Macon inadvertently. Carlson received a lot of criticism amongst his peers. These 10 that we left eventually surrendered to the Japanese and unfortunately they were all beheaded.
The Couple of Kwajalein
I found a couple of people (a man and wife) on the beach at Kwajalein. I was on the beach and found this couple that could speak English, but they were kind of cowering as they had gone through the bombardment and the troops hitting the beach. They'd been prisoners of the Japanese for some time. The Japanese would tie them at night to stakes on the air strip. They would tie one on one end and one on another and our planes would hit the strip to put pot holes in runways and go after the planes. They'd survived all of this. I found them and they were in sad shape, so I took them back to the ship and gave them some clothing and fed them. They were very happy and appreciative. They were probably 35-37 years old and had no personal belongings. They gave me a grass belt that they had made and I've never opened it up. It belongs somewhere in a museum. I still have the grass string around it the way they handed it to me. It was the only thing they had to give as thanks. They gave it to me and I treasure it, but I don't know what do with it. This couple wasn't on the ship very long. I know they were taken to another ship and then to safety.
Fear at Night
There was another time we had to assist a carrier that had been hit by torpedoes at night. We couldn't find anything and we came under Japanese torpedo plane attack. There's nothing worse than a night torpedo plane attack in my opinion. This is because they see your wake in the water. The fluorescent wake of your screws. You leave a trail and they can see where you're going and where you'd been because that phos-flourescent would be out there for a couple three hundred yards. You couldn't tell where they were except when they went over you and you could see the exhaust. That's the only thing you could see. You could hear, but you never knew just where they were. There was so many of them. I was up on top side with a gun crew while this was going on and what happened at night is that the decks are wet. When you've got outgoing gunfire, it's like lightning. You don't know which direction it's coming from, it goes either way. With all your 20 nuns going out, there's a flash and it looks like its comin' right at ya'. It's a scary thing because all the gunfire that's outgoing looks like its incoming. I was standing next to this gun crew and the Arapaho took a sharp turn and knocked me off my feet and down to the main deck. I got hurt but I never put myself on the sick list. The night time air attack is something else.
Another thing of interest about gun crews. I'd be called to a gun crew as someone was down. I'd get to the gun crew and there'd still be firing going on and someone was unconscious. I'd ask what happened because he wasn't hit by shrapnel or anything. How did he fall? Did he go over quick or did he slide down? "We really don't know, but it looked like he slid down," and I said, "Ok." This is something you run into as a fIrst aid man that you don't like to do because people get the wrong opinion. This is a hysterical convulsion. They're trying to escape. They're trying to get out of reality and trying to escape. They don't want to face reality anymore so they actually force themselves into a convulsion and pass out. What do you do at that time is slap them hard across the face on both sides. When you're doin' this you've got other members of the gun crew lookin' at ya' like, "Whatta ya' doin', doc? What the hell, the guy's hurt." This is the treatment. You've got to pull them outta what they're trying to hide from. I always remember back to the Patton movie when he slapped the soldier 'cause he said he was shell shocked. They wouldn't fall down, they'd slide down. This was the key. You must get the patient back to reality quickly or you can lose him mentally. It's a form of self-induced anesthesia, but you must not allow him to go too deep because you will lose him for good.
Getting Rid of the Duldrums
In the lull between invasions, Captain Lee was one that could realize, and I could realize too, when things got to the point where people were quiet on board ship. When they didn't bitch, then you worry. There was potential danger when the crew was quiet and not bitching. When they're bitchin' and complaining, that's good. I remember Captain would call me up and ask me what I thought.I said they're quiet, he'd say, "Ok I'll see if I can find some beer some place. We've got to get them together and have a little blast some place on one of these islands." They'd kind of have a beach party, but it'd turn into a battle. The guys would fight. I'd say, "Captain, no matter how I tell 'em not to swim, they're gonna get in the water and in the coral and get cut up and coral doesn't heal." He'd say, "We've got to do something." So he'd get the beer and they'd have a few hours on the beach. There'd be all kinds of fights and this and that. Pretty soon they'd all be arm and arm saying things like, "You sure got me a good one there," or "You got me here." Then I'd spend the rest of the day suturing people and takin' care of coral cuts and this and that. This would get them out of the doldrums. They were buddies again.
The American lake A brief history of America in the Pacific
FOR MOST OF its history, America has been isolationist. Those who now worry about it turning away from its ideals of free trade and an internationalist outlook may forget how recent they are, born out of cold-war necessity. By contrast, America’s much older sense of its own exceptionalism was nurtured by turning consciously west, away from European monarchy, class and conflict. It was a “westering” people to whom the novus ordo seclorum imprinted on every dollar bill applied. They first crossed the vast North American continent, and when they ran out of land, Manifest Destiny took to the sea, unrolling an expanding American frontier across the Pacific.
The discovery of gold in California in 1848 changed everything. Not only was the gold rush the first of California’s many booms it shifted global perspectives, spurring Karl Marx to start work on “Das Kapital” and rekindling hopes of long-distance commerce across the Pacific. American traders set off by sea, accompanied by missionaries, guano miners, planters and expeditionary forces. By the end of the 19th century the theories of Alfred Thayer Mahan, a great naval strategist who argued for decisive American sea power, had taken hold. Colonies, protectorates and incorporated territories soon followed.
Hawaii, with its superb port, Pearl Harbour, was the first Pacific territory to come under American sway the kingdom was eventually annexed in 1898. That same year American forces seized the Philippines as part of a jingoistic war with Spain that had begun in Havana. After an easy victory over the Spanish in Manila, the Americans found themselves fighting a counter-insurgency against Filipinos seeking their own republic. The president of the day, William McKinley, was at a loss to know what to do with the new Philippine territories. But while praying for guidance one sleepless night, it came to him that America’s mission was to “uplift and civilise and Christianise”.
McKinley had stumbled into empire with “no more backbone than a chocolate éclair”, as Theodore Roosevelt, a fan of muscular imperialism, put it. The muscular school soon took charge. “Benevolent assimilation” would supposedly raise Filipinos to a higher plane. The generals in the Philippine campaign had nearly all earned their spurs fighting native Americans. In the tropics they applied the same genocidal techniques of terror, atrocities and native reservations. In three years of fighting, between 200,000 and 700,000 men, women and children died as a consequence of American brutality.
After early victories, the campaign turned into quicksand (with haunting echoes in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq). In the southern Philippines, American troops were fighting Muslim insurgents long after the rest of the archipelago had been pacified—and American special forces are still in Mindanao today.
The American violence, and decades of condescending racism that followed, go some way towards explaining a vein of anti-Americanism that resurfaces from time to time in a country that also admires America. The two emotions live in the same Philippine breast, says Malcolm Cook of the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore. The ill-feeling was evident in the early 1990s, when the senate voted to eject American forces from Philippine bases and, more recently, in President Rodrigo Duterte’s sudden pivot to China last year, and in his labelling of President Barack Obama as a “son of a bitch”.
Most Americans are blithely unaware of the back story, viewing Mr Duterte’s behaviour as astonishing ingratitude towards an ally that, until Philippine independence in 1946, had tried to pour its protégé’s society into an American mould, and that had remained a close friend since. But near-ignorance about the essentially imperialising mission that brought America to the region in the first place hardly helps an understanding of its position in Asia today. One lesson is that the case for a continued American presence in Asia has to be constantly remade.
The Age of Exploration
Eventually, white explorers from Europe started to roam this land. This included the famous Lewis and Clark from the Lewis and Clark Expedition, who came west in the Columbia River Basin. But, before the Lewis and Clark expedition there were some other explorers, Russian, Spanish, and English, which helped to complicate the claims of each of these nations in the Pacific Northwest Region. Vitus Bering, a Danish explorer in the service of the Russians, between 1728 and 1742, led to the occupation of the area which became Alaska by the Russians. The Spanish explorer Juan Perez sailed north, in 1774, from his base farther south, leading to much of what today is known as the American Southwest to become part of the Spanish occupation area, which eventually culminated in the nation of Mexico – this is what led the Spanish to start putting military posts along the coast of California, because they saw the Russians to the north as a possible threat, which eventually was proved unfounded. Captain James Cook, an English explorer, claimed the Pacific Coast of America for the British Crown between the latitudes of 43° and 60° north, putting a wedge in between the Spanish and Russians. To further complicate the claims to this region even more, a trading ship from the New England area reached the mouth of the Columbia River in 1792, establishing a claim for the United States. So, there were four nations that all claimed land in that area.
Vitus Bering, as previously stated, was Danish, having been born in Denmark in 1681. He joined the Russian Navy in 1703, during what was known in the Baltic States as the Great Northern War. Over time, having acquired respect and experience, eventually was asked by the Russians, in 1728, to command an exploratory expedition whose starting point was the Kamchatka peninsula that juts south off of Siberia in eastern Asia, this Kamchatka Expedition was meant to see how far Siberia went east, since it was not known then whether Asia and North America were a single landmass or not – after heading eastward, passing the easternmost point of Siberia, in what is now called the Bering Strait, and after realizing the northern coast of Siberia kept heading westward, decided to head back to the Kamchatka Peninsula before the winter season approached, believing his job to be done. A few years later, in 1741, he went on a second expedition, in which he discovered the southern coast of Alaska, and the Aleutian Islands. These discoveries by Bering helped seal the claim by Russia to the area that became known later as Alaska (Frost, 2003).
Juan Perez was a Spanish explorer who in the 1700’s, who was the first European to find, explore, and document the islands off of the western coast of modern-day Canada and British Columbia, which he did around 1774. He was also the first to the coast of present-day Washington. The Spanish, having occupied the land that is present-day Mexico and the southwestern United States, had heard about British and Russian occupations of lands farther north up the Pacific coast of North America, so they set about to find, research, and document the coastline. It was on Perez’s second expedition up north that he ended up dying near Vancouver Island (Sanchez, 2004).
Captain James Cook was a British explorer who helped to make detailed maps of Newfoundland and the lands around the Gulf of St. Lawrence before going into the Pacific Ocean on other exploratory missions. It was his third voyage, from 1776-9, that allowed him to explore the western coast of the present-day United States north of Spanish settlements in California, after having first discovered the Hawaiian Islands, which allowed him to explore the area that is referred to as the Pacific Coast Region, all the way up to the Bering Strait, before returning to the Hawaiian Islands, where he died in a scuffle with native Hawaiians. His first two voyages gave him most of his fame, though, for it was in these voyages, 1768-71, and 1772-5, that gave Captain Cook most of his fame, because in them he circumnavigated the globe, was the first European to circumnavigate the islands of New Zealand, and was the first to explore the eastern coast of Australia, among other things (Colingridge, 2003).
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The Pacific Railway
Before the advent of the transcontinental railroad, a journey across the continent to the western states meant a dangerous six month trek over rivers, deserts, and mountains. Alternatively, a traveler could hazard a six week sea voyage around Cape Horn, or sail to Central America and cross the Isthmus of Panama by rail, risking exposure to any number of deadly diseases in the crossing. Interest in building a railroad uniting the continent began soon after the advent of the locomotive.
The first trains began to run in America in the 1830s along the East Coast. By the 1840s, the nation's railway networks extended throughout the East, South, and Midwest, and the idea of building a railroad across the nation to the Pacific gained momentum. The annexation of the California territory following the Mexican-American War, the discovery of gold in the region in 1848, and statehood for California in 1850 further spurred the interest to unite the country as thousands of immigrants and miners sought their fortune in the West.
During the 1850s, Congress sponsored numerous survey parties to investigate possible routes for a transcontinental railroad. No particular route became a clear favorite as political groups were split over whether the route should be a northern or southern one. Theodore Judah, a civil engineer who helped build the first railroad in California, promoted a route along the 41 st parallel, running through Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California. He was so obsessed with the idea of a transcontinental railroad that he became known as "Crazy Judah." Although Judah's plan had merit, detractors noted the formidable obstacles along his proposed route, the most serious of which was the Sierra Nevada mountain range. A rail line built along this route would require tunneling through granite mountains and crossing deep ravines, an engineering feat yet to be attempted in the U.S.
In 1859, Judah received a letter from Daniel Strong, a storekeeper in Dutch Flat, California, offering to show Judah the best route along the old emigrant road through the mountains near Donner Pass. The route had a gradual rise and required the line to cross the summit of only one mountain rather than two. Judah agreed and he and Strong drew up letters of incorporation for the Central Pacific Railroad Company. They began seeking investors and Judah was able to convince Sacramento businessmen that a railroad would bring much needed trade to the area. Several men decided to back him, including hardware wholesaler Collis P. Huntington and his partner, Mark Hopkins dry goods merchant, Charles Crocker and wholesale grocer, soon to be governor, Leland Stanford. These backers would later come to be known as the "Big Four."
Huntington and his partners paid Judah to survey the route. Judah used maps from his survey to bolster his presentation to Congress in October 1861. Many Congressmen were leery of beginning such an expensive venture, especially with the Civil War underway, but President Abraham Lincoln, who was a long time supporter of railroads, agreed with Judah. On July 1, 1862, Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act, authorizing land grants and government bonds, which amounted to $32,000 per mile of track laid, to two companies, the Central Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad.
Almost immediately, conflicts arose between Judah and his business partners over the construction of the Central Pacific line. In October 1863, Judah sailed for New York to attempt to find investors who would buy out his Sacramento partners. Though he had made the voyage to Panama and across the Isthmus by train many times, he contracted yellow fever during this trip and died on November 2, one week after reaching New York City. Judah did not live to see the Central Pacific begin work he departed Sacramento for New York a few weeks before the first rail was spiked on October 26, 1863. The Big Four replaced Judah with Samuel Montague and the Central Pacific construction crews began building the line east from Sacramento.
At the eastern end of the project, Grenville Dodge and his assistant, Peter Dey, surveyed the potential route the Union Pacific would follow. They recommended a line that would follow Platt River, along the North Fork, that would cross the Continental Divide at South Pass in Wyoming and continue along to Green River. President Lincoln favored this route and made the decision that the eastern terminus of the Transcontinental Railroad would be Council Bluffs, Iowa, across the Missouri River from Omaha, Nebraska.
Thomas C. Durant, a medical doctor turned businessman, gained control of the Union Pacific Railroad Company by buying over $2 million in shares and installing his own man as president. "Doc" Durant created the Crédit Moblier of America, a business front that appeared to be an independent contractor, to construct the railroad. However, Crédit Moblier was owned by Union Pacific investors and, over the next few years, it swindled the government out of tens of millions of dollars by charging extortionate fees for the work. Because the government paid by the mile of track built, Durant also insisted the original route be unnecessarily lengthened, further lining his pockets. Soon after the completion of the railroad, Durant's corrupt business schemes became a public scandal with Congress investigating not only Durant, but also fellow Senators and Representatives who had benefited from his shady dealings.
The Central Pacific's Big Four formed their corporation with a similar arrangement, awarding the construction and supplies contract to one of their own, Charles Crocker, who, for the sake of appearances, resigned from the railroad's board. However, the Big Four owned an interest in Crocker's company and each of them profited from the contract.
The race between the two companies commenced when the Union Pacific finally began to lay tracks at Omaha, Nebraska, in July 1865. (A bridge over the Missouri River would be built later to join Omaha to Council Bluffs, the official eastern terminus.) Durant hired Grenville Dodge as chief engineer and General Jack Casement as construction boss. With tens of thousands of Civil War veterans out of work, hiring for the Union Pacific was easy. The men, mostly Irishmen, worked hard and well, despite going on strike occasionally when Durant withheld their pay over petty labor disputes.
Finding workers was a more difficult task for the Central Pacific. Laborers, mainly Irish immigrants, were hired in New York and Boston and shipped out west at great expense. But many of them abandoned railroad work, lured by the Nevada silver mines. In desperation, Crocker tried to hire newly freed African Americans, immigrants from Mexico, and even petitioned Congress to send 5,000 Confederate Civil War prisoners, but to no avail. Frustrated at the lack of manpower necessary to support the railroad, Crocker suggested to his work boss, James Strobridge, that they hire Chinese laborers. Although Strobridge was initially against the idea, feeling that the Chinese were too slight in stature for the demanding job, he agreed to hire 50 men on a trial basis. After only one month, Strobridge grudgingly admitted that the Chinese were conscientious, sober, and hard workers.
Within three years, 80 percent of the Central Pacific workforce was made up of Chinese workers, and they proved to be essential to the task of laying the line through the Sierra Nevadas. Once believed to be too frail to perform arduous manual labor, the Chinese workers accomplished amazing and dangerous feats no other workers would or could do. They blasted tunnels through the solid granite -- sometimes progressing only a foot a day. They often lived in the tunnels as they worked their way through the solid granite, saving precious time and energy from entering and exiting the worksite each day. They were routinely lowered down sheer cliff faces in makeshift baskets on ropes where they drilled holes, filled them with explosives, lit the fuse and then were yanked up as fast as possible to avoid the blast.
While the Central Pacific fought punishing conditions moving eastward through mountains, across ravines, and through blizzards, the Union Pacific faced resistance from the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes who were seeing their homelands invaded and irrevocably changed. The railroad workers were armed and oftentimes protected by U.S. Calvary and friendly Pawnee Indians, but the workforce routinely faced Native American raiding parties that attacked surveyors and workers, stole livestock and equipment, and pulled up track and derailed locomotives.
Both railroad companies battled against their respective obstacles to lay the most miles of track, therefore gaining the most land and money. Although the Central Pacific had a two-year head start over the Union Pacific, the rough terrain of the Sierra Nevadas limited their construction to only 100 miles by the end of 1867. But once through the Sierras, the Central Pacific rail lines moved at tremendous speed, crossing Nevada and reaching the Utah border in 1868. From the east, the Union Pacific completed its line through Wyoming and was moving at an equal tempo from the east.
The Central Pacific's engine Jupiter and the Union Pacific's engine No. 119 meet on May 10, 1869, at Promontory Summit, Utah.
No end point had been set for the two rail lines when President Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act in 1862, but a decision had to be made soon. By early 1869, the Central Pacific and Union Pacific were closing in on each other across northern Utah, aided by a Mormon workforce under contract to both companies. But neither side was interested in halting construction, as each company wanted to claim the $32,000 per mile subsidy from the government. Indeed, at one point the graders from both companies, working ahead of track layers, actually passed one another as they were unwilling to concede territory to their competitors.
U.S. Olympian Louis Zamperini’s plane goes down in the Pacific
On May 27, 1943, a B-24 carrying U.S. airman and former Olympic runner Louis Zamperini crashes into the Pacific Ocean. After surviving the crash, Zamperini floated on a raft in shark-infested waters for more than a month before being picked up by the Japanese and spending the next two years in a series of brutal prison camps. His story of survival was featured in the 2010 best-selling book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.
Born in 1917 to Italian immigrants, Zamperini grew up in Torrance, California, where he was frequently in trouble with the law. As a teen, he channeled his energy into athletics and became a champion distance runner. At age 19, Zamperini competed for the United States at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany. He ran the 5,000-meter race and finished in eighth place however, his fast final lap caught the attention of Adolf Hitler, who later asked to shake Zamperini’s hand. After the Olympics, he was a record-setting standout on the University of Southern California’s track team.
Events and Programming
Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge: Chinese Americans and the Power of Stir-Frying
September 30, 2021, 6:45 p.m. (online)
Guest Chef Grace Young. Photograph by Christine Han.
In Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge, culinary historian and award-winning cookbook author Grace Young writes of how the ancient technique of stir-frying played an important role in the culinary lives of Chinese migrants. In the United States, many families used their culinary skills to open businesses, including chop suey parlors, where that bland, made-up dish gained popularity. Young—known as “the stir-fry guru” and “wok therapist”—demonstrates her stir-fry expertise and shares tips on wok mastery for home cooks as she prepares a savory stir-fry of garlicky cabbage and bacon—a dish improvised in the 1940s by immigrant Lin Ong who used two common American ingredients to feed her nine children. She recounts her own San Francisco family’s unlikely wok story and her work to document COVID’s impact on Manhattan's Chinatown and to support the AAPI community nationwide. For 2020 Food History Weekend, writer Grace Young curated a special virtual gallery for the museum, Chinatown Stories, featuring her video-media work documenting COVID-19's impact on New York’s historic Chinatown.
This program is co-sponsored by the museum's American Food History Project and the Smithsonian Associates.
The links below highlight past museum programming on Asian Pacific American history topics.
Politics and Government
Pacific Island migration largely began after World War II. For some men, military service was the route to that migration. Although the U.S. government did not track active duty service by ethnic origin until decades later, an examination of the 1999 U.S. Department of Defense manpower records provides some information. However, these records don't provide the full picture. The military ethnic classification for active duty personnel places Tongans and Tahitians in the Polynesian category. Fijians are among the groups categorized as Melanesian.
As of March 31, 1999, the Army's ranks included 534 Polynesian men and 113 women. There were 34 male officers and five female officers. Also in that Army at that time were 102 Melanesian men and 14 women. Two men were officers. In the Navy on March 31, 1999, there were 251 Polynesian men and 46 women. Nine men and four women were officers. On duty at that time were 29 Melanesian men and 11 Melanesian women. Three Melanesian men and two women were serving as officers. On March 31, 1999, five male Polynesian officers, 56 enlisted men, and nine enlisted women were serving in the Marine Corps. Melanesians accounted for nine of the Marine Corps officers and 11 enlisted men. On duty with the Air Force on March 31, 1999 were 13 Polynesian men, and three were officers. Of the 11 Polynesian women serving, one was an officer.
A look at all branches of service indicated that the Coast Guard attracted the most Pacific Islanders, a people descended from wayfinder origins. On March 31, 1999, 795 Polynesian men served with the Coast Guard. Fifty-one were male officers. Of the 167 Polynesian women on duty, 10 were officers. At that time, 143 Melanesian men were on active duty with the Coast Guard, and six were officers. Also serving were two Melanesian women.
RELATIONS WITH FORMER COUNTRIES
It has long been a practice for people who migrate to the United States to send money home to their families. This is called a remittance, and remittances were an important source of revenue for Tonga according to the CIA 1998 World Fact Book.
Tonga is an agricultural-based economy. The country exports copra, vanilla, and squash pumpkins. Sugar is Fiji's chief export. Tourism is an important industry. Approximately 250,000 people visit Fiji each year. Tourism accounts for 20% of French Polynesia's gross domestic product. France began stationing military personnel in French Polynesia in 1962. Since then, a majority of the work force is employed by the military or in tourism-related jobs.
History of Pacific University
Founded in 1849, Oregon's Pacific University traces its roots to a log cabin meeting house in Forest Grove where the Rev. Harvey Clark, a Congregationalist minister, and Tabitha Brown, a former teacher from Massachusetts, cared for and educated orphans of the Oregon Trail.
In 1846, a remarkable 66-year-old widow completed a rugged trip west with members of her family to live in the Oregon Territory. Tabitha Moffatt Brown arrived in Oregon with hardly a penny to her name and chose to settle in the West Tualatin Plains
1849 | Pacific University is founded
Brown, the Rev. Harvey Clark and his wife, Emeline, concerned for the welfare of the many orphans in the area, made arrangements to use a local meetinghouse in Forest Grove, Oregon, as a school, which became known as the Orphan Asylum. By 1848, Brown was "house-mother" to the students there and a driving force behind the school.
A view of campus in the 1890s or 1900s. Old College Hall is in the foreground
In the summer of 1848, the Rev. George H. Atkinson came to Oregon, commissioned by the Home Missionary Society of the Congregational Church Association to "found an academy that shall grow into a college. on the New England model." Atkinson and Clark drew up plans for a new educational institution for children, on land donated by Clark. Brown donated $500 and agreed to convert the Orphan Asylum into a new school. On September 26, 1849, the Territorial Legislature gave its official sanction to the new school, establishing by charter the Tualatin Academy. It was the first official act of the new provisional government and predates statehood by nearly 10 years.
To house the academy, Old College Hall was built in 1850. Old College Hall is still in use today. It houses Pacific's museum and is the site of important university traditions, including Sign, Shake and Ring, a tradition unique to Pacific. At those times, the bell can be heard ringing out across campus.
1863 | Pacific awards first baccalaureate degree
By 1854 a new charter had been granted, establishing "Tualatin Academy and Pacific University" and college classes began to be offered. Congregational missionaries were key leaders in the establishment and growth of the university, and that legacy is still regarded as an important influence. Pacific, along with such colleges as Dartmouth, Carleton, Oberlin, Grinnell, Rollins and Pomona, celebrate a tradition that dates back to the establishment of higher education in America more than 350 years ago with the founding of Harvard College by Congregational pioneers on the first American frontier.
As an independent university, Pacific continues to maintain ties with the United Church of Christ Council for Higher Education. The university supports religious pluralism, and is committed to instilling a sense of values and ethics, compassion, caring and conscience in both students and programs.
Pacific awarded its first baccalaureate degree in 1863 - the first in the region. The university established its Alumni Association as the "Society of Alumni."
1896 | Pacific receives a bronze Chinese statue as a gift. It soon becomes a college icon, called Boxer.
Pacific University received a bronze chinese statue as a gift in 1896, courtesy of the Rev. J.E. Walker, a missionary to China and a Pacific alumnus, and Walker's mother, who presented it to the university. The statue of the mythical beast, nicknamed "Boxer" in 1908, became an icon, representing Pacific's spirit, pride and honor.
The Spirit Bench (formerly the Senior bench) was donated by the class of 1908, though the original bench was damaged and replaced in 1990. Today, this campus landmark often sports a new coat of spray paint from students who paint the bench by cover of darkness, a tradition that developed over the decades.
1911 | State approves the offering of teaching certificates
In 1911, Pacific became one of just three colleges authorized by the state to recommend graduates for high school teaching certificates.
1915 | Academy closes as public high schools come on the scene
By 1920, the school had expanded to five buildings, including Herrick Hall (built in 1883), an all-female dormitory that played an important role in enabling more woman to earn degrees by providing an living space for female students, and Carnegie Hall (built in 1912), the university's first library building and one of only three academic libraries built by the Carnegie Endowment in the West — and the only one in the Pacific Northwest.
Female students dressed up for Pacific University's annual Clean-up Day, circa 1920s. In the background, Marsh Hall is visible. Built in 1895, a devastating fire in 1975 gutted 75 percent of the building's interior. It was restored and is home to administrative offices, faculty offices and classrooms today.
1959 | Pacific University's Students of Hawai‘i Club, Nā Haumāna O Hawai‘i, is founded
The annual Pacific University Lu’au, started in 1960, is one of the largest student-produced lu’aus in the continental United States.
Throughout the latter half of the 20th century, Pacific University continued to expand with new academic offerings. Other health professions programs were launched, including Physical Therapy in 1975, Occupational Therapy in 1984, and Professional Psychology in 1985.
1968 | Boxer officially replaces the badger as the school mascot
1985 | Grand opening of Trombley Square, a popular student gathering place at the heart of the Forest Grove campus
1994 | The School of Education (now College of Education) is established
In 1994, the School of Education, now the College of Education, was established through reorganization of the professional teacher education programs that had been part of the College of Arts and Sciences. A year later, the Physician Assistant Studies program was added.
2006 | The Pacific University Health Professions Campus (now Hillsboro Campus) opens
In 2004, the College of Health Professions was formed consolidating all the health programs except for the College of Optometry under one umbrella. Pacific University's Hillsboro Campus opened in 2006 as home of the new college. In the same year, new programs in Pharmacy and Dental Hygiene were established, followed by a Master of Healthcare Administration program in 2008.
2007 | The Lincoln Park Athletic Complex is constructed, offering state-of-the-art athletic facilities
President Phil Creighton's tenure (2003-2009) marked a prosperous and expansive period in university history. A $51 million capital campaign was completed in 2006, helping to fuel a building boom. Projects included the new campus in Hillsboro, a new library, two LEED-certified residence halls, an education and business building and extensive new athletics facilities. During this period, undergraduate enrollment increased by 18.5 percent and graduate enrollment increased by 22 percent, almost exclusively in the health professions.
2009 | Pacific announces its 17th President, Dr. Lesley M. Hallick
2014 | Cascade Hall opens for student residents and is the seventh university building to be LEED-certified for sustainable building design
Students take advantage of a sunny spring day in 2016 to play a game on the grassy lawn in front of Cascade Hall.
In 2009, Dr. Lesley M. Hallick became the university's 17th president. Under her leadership, the university has continued to grow. The Woodburn Campus opened in 2012, offering undergraduate and graduate teacher-preparation programs within the College of Education. In 2013, the College of Business was founded to further develop the existing undergraduate business degree programs and add graduate-level programs.
2019 | Pacific University celebrates the 170th anniversary of its founding
Pacific University continues to plan for the future with Imagine Pacific 2020, a strategic planning effort designed to postion the university for the future while maintaining its core identity as a close community dedicated to learning and discovery.
"We are building on the mission of the university from its earliest roots, an institution established by our founders because they believed deeply in the opportunity of education for all."
— Vision 2020 Strategic Plan
"This page is currently under review by the Indigenous Engagement Committee, a subcommittee of the University Diversity Committee."
Pacific County, named after the Pacific Ocean, is perched at the southwestern corner of Washington state. The ocean forms its western border and the north shore of the Columbia River and Wahkiakum County form its southern border. Grays Harbor County lies to the north and Lewis County to the east. A distinctive geographical feature is the 30-mile-long Long Beach Peninsula, which meets the ocean on its western side and shelters Willapa Bay on its eastern side. In 1851 Pacific County was the third county created in what would become Washington Territory. The economic base of the area's indigenous Chinook and Lower Chehalis peoples as well as of early-arriving settlers was oystering, especially in Shoalwater (later Willapa) Bay, and fishing. Soon lumber became a predominant early industry, followed by cranberry farming, dairy farming, and later, vacationing and tourism. Pacific County's area is nearly 1,000 square miles and the 2005 population was about 21,000 people. The county's four incorporated cities are Raymond, South Bend, Long Beach, and Ilwaco. Of the 39 Washington counties, Pacific County ranks 28th in population and 30th in land area.
Pacific County lies within two geographic subregions of Washington state known as Coastal Plains and the Coast Range. The coastal area consists of a sandy plain characterized by "shallow bays, tidal flats, delta fans and low headlands" that lie between the ocean and the foothills of the Coast Range (Pacific County Agriculture). Long Beach peninsula has one of the longest continuous ocean beaches on the on the Pacific Coast. It is one-to-three miles wide and 30 miles long. The interior side of the peninsula contained bogs, shallow ponds, and lakes.
Inland from the coast, the foothills were heavily forested with western hemlock, Douglas fir, Sitka spruce, western red cedar, and Pacific silver fir. The main hardwood trees are red alder and bigleaf maple. The climate is mild and damp but too cool and cloudy for most crops.
The Chinook Indians were original inhabitants of the lower Columbia River including the future Pacific County. There were more than 40 Chinook settlments in Pacific County, at the mouths of the Nemah, Naselle, Willapa, and Bone rivers, and at Nahcotta, Oysterville, Goose Point, Bruceport, Tokeland, and Grayland. The site of one of their main villages became Chinook.
Along with the Lower Chehalis, the Chinook wintered along Shoalwater Bay. They spoke the Chinook language and traded (mostly fur, fish, and slaves) over thousands of miles with many different peoples. They were master navigators of sea-going canoes, and salmon and oysters formed the core of their economic base. Reflecting their long experience as traders, their name was given to the Chinook Jargon, a trade lingo that included terms from Chinook, English, French, and Nootka.
The Chinook and the Chehalis were eventually decimated by introduced diseases. Many of their descendants, by accepting 80-acre allotments on the much larger Quinault Reservation, attained the privilege of Quinault treaty rights.
The Shoalwater Indian Reservation, consisting of 334.5 acres, was established by an executive order signed by President Andrew Johnson on September 22, 1866. Pacific County's only reservation, it occupies 333 acres on the north shore of Willapa Bay, on the site of an ancient Chinook village. The non-treaty Indians of Shoalwater Bay made their living by fishing, crabbing, and oystering, selling their surplus to canneries much the same as non-Indians. Members of the present-day Shoalwater Bay Tribe are descended from Chinook, Chehalis, and other area tribes. The tribe has 237 enrolled members and a resident service population of 1,148. The tribal center at Tokeland serves both the tribe and the surrounding community.
More than 1,000 Chinook tribal members live at Bay Center on Willapa Bay and in South Bend -- both ancient village sites -- and elsewhere around the region. The tribe has headquarters in Chinook, and continues to seek federal recognition.
Pacific County's location on the Pacific Ocean and on the northern shore of the estuary of the Columbia meant that for early explorers arriving by sea, its bays and forested hills often became their first glimpse of the future state of Washington. Bruno Heceta, aboard the Spanish frigate Santiago, mapped the entrance to the Columbia River in 1775. Thirteen years later, in 1788, the British trader John Meares (1756?-1809), aboard the Felice Adventurer, traded with Indians off what is now called Willapa Bay. He did not actually find the river he was looking for and in his disappointment renamed Cape San Roque as Cape Disappointment and Assumption Bay as Deception Bay.
In 1792, British Royal Navy Captain George Vancouver viewed Cape Disappointment as a “conspicuous point” not worthy of investigation, and passed on by. On May 11, 1792, Captain Robert Gray of Boston aboard the Columbia Rediviva sailed into the Columbia River as the first European to do so. Here he encountered Chinook Indians in cedar dugouts with furs and fresh salmon to trade.
The Lewis and Clark expedition first viewed the Pacific Ocean from the sandy beach of the Long Beach Peninsula on November 15, 1805 (after mistakenly thinking a few days before that the rough waves of the Columbia were ocean waves). They arrived at the Chinook’s summer fishing village and stayed 18 days exploring the area. Considering the rain and fog, the party voted to winter on the other side of the river. Thus the future Pacific County was the site of the first election by Americans in the West and the first to include a Native American and a woman (Sacagawea, the Shoshone wife of of one of the expedition's hunters) and an African American (York, Captain Clark's African slave).
At Astoria, across the wide river mouth from the future Pacific County, the American John Jacob Astor established a fur-trading post in 1811, which was by 1813 owned by the Canadian (British) North West Company, and by 1821 by the British Hudson's Bay Company. Extensive trading and familial relationships developed between the Chinook and these British fur traders.
Under Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, the U.S. Exploring Expedition arrived in the summer of 1841. One of the expedition's vessels, the Peacock, sailed the into the mouth of the Columbia on a survey mission, grounded on a sand spit, and was lost, giving its name to Peacock Spit. The crew was saved by nearby Hudson's Bay Co. fur traders and by missionaries. Among those who jumped ship was James DeSaule, the Peacock's black Peruvian cook. He became one of the first non-Indians to settle in the region.
Graveyard of the Pacific
The many shipwrecks at the mouth of the Columbia -- around 2,000 since 1792 -- have given rise to the name "graveyard of the Pacific." It was back and forth over this treacherous estuary that skilled Indian navigators guided their canoes, causing Captain William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition to note their remarkable navigational skills “thro emence waves & Swells” ("18 Days in Pacific County").
More than one early settler in the area arrived by shipwreck. In 1829 the Isabella, bound for the Hudson's Bay Company's Fort Vancouver, wrecked on a shoal. Thus arrived Englishman James A. Scarborough (1805-1855), who in 1843 settled at Chinook Point on the Columbia River. He married a Chinook woman, Ann Elizabeth, and filed a Donation Land Claim for all of Chinook Point and most of Scarboro Hill. He occupied the property until his death in 1855. The land ultimately became Fort Columbia, part of the U.S. Army’s defense of the mouth of the Columbia River. It is now Fort Columbia State Park.
In 1845 a marker was made by cutting off the tops of three fir trees on the crest of the headland, to be used as a navigational aid. In 1856 a lighthouse was built on Cape Disappointment. It was visible 21 miles out to sea, and had a fog bell. The U.S. Army mounted smooth-bore cannon at Fort Cape Disappointment in 1862 (or 1864). Renamed Fort Canby in 1875, the facility continued to serve in defense of the Columbia River until World War II. It is now part of Cape Disappointment State Park.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began dredging the mouth of the Columbia in the 1870s, and still dredges up four to five million cubic yards of sand every year. In 1980, the U.S. Coast Guard opened its National Motor Lifeboat School at Ilwaco. Today, the Coast Guard's related Station Cape Disappointment responds to 300 or 400 maritime calls for assistance each year.
The Confluence Project, unveiled in 2006 at Cape Disappointment State Park, is a $15 million monumental public-art project to commemorate stops by Lewis and Clark in Washington and Oregon. Designed by artist Maya Lin, the project offers lessons in history, celebrates indigenous cultures, and rehabilitates parts of the natural environment.
Formation and Settlement
From 1818 to 1846, the Pacific Northwest, called Oregon, was jointly occupied by Great Britain, represented mostly by Hudson's Bay Co. fur trappers, and by the United States. The first two counties in the future Washington state were created in 1845 by the Provisional Government for Oregon Territory, a body consisting of both British and American settlers. These were Clark (originally named Vancouver) and Lewis. In 1846 Great Britain ceded to the United States the Pacific Northwest below the 49th parallel and in 1848 Congress created Oregon Territory (including Washington and Idaho). The Oregon Territorial Legislature created Pacific County out of the southwestern corner of Lewis County in 1851. Pacific County was thus the third county formed in what would become Washington Territory, and the first formed by the Oregon Territorial Legislature. In 1853 Congress created Washington Territory, comprising Pacific, Lewis, and Clark (renamed Clarke) counties. Pacific County's boundaries were adjusted in 1860, 1867, 1873, 1879, and finally in 1925.
Settlement in the future Pacific County was framed first by nearby Hudson's Bay Co. fur trappers, and after 1848, by the California Gold Rush. This last caused San Francisco to boom and opened a large market for both lumber and oysters. Pacific County, accessible to San Francisco by sea, had both in abundance.
The promotional activities of Elijah White, who hoped to found a great port city on the Columbia, resulted in the new town of Pacific City, located just south of present-day Ilwaco. On February 26, 1852, a federal executive order set aside 640 acres at Pacific City for a military reservation and required residents to leave. By 1858 all that was left of Pacific City was a couple of houses and a sawmill.
Washington Hall, who had surveyed Pacific City for Elijah White, promoted his own town, Chinookville, beginning in April 1850. Despite the Chinooks' resentment of his appropriation of the site of their principal village, settlers elected Hall county commissioner and Chinookville became Pacific County's first county seat. Hall sold lots until July 1855, at this time deeding his worldly goods to his two children, whose mother was a Native American woman to whom Hall was not married. This protected him from challenges to his claims. He continued for five years to sell lots on behalf of his children, sometimes for cash and sometimes for goods such as shingles and salmon, before disappearing in the direction of Idaho.
Shellfish and Fish
During the 1850s, schooners began arriving in Shoalwater Bay, mostly from San Francisco, looking for oysters. One of these was the Robert Bruce. On December 11, 1851, the ship’s cook doped the crew and set the ship on fire. Bill McCarty, who was cutting timbers at Hawk’s Point, along with the Indians he was working with, carried the men ashore. The Robert Bruce burned to the water line. The stranded men, who in any case had come with the idea of starting an oyster business, settled on the bay, forming what became Bruceport. These “Bruce boys” entered the oyster trade and soon bought two schooners of their own.
In 1854, Chief Nahcati invited R. H. Espy, who had been cutting timber for the San Francisco market, and L. A. Clark, a New York tailor who'd achieved a modest success in the California gold rush, to the site of future Oysterville on the Long Beach Peninsula. There they filed Donation Land Claims and set up an oyster business, shipping canoeloads of oysters to Bruceport for shipment south. Soon vessels from San Francisco were arriving at Oysterville.
Oysterville founders also included the brothers John and Thomas Crellin, who also arrived in 1854. Enmity ensued between the two new oystering groups but this ended when John Morgan, one of the Bruce boys, married Sophia Crellin, sister of John and Thomas. The two companies joined forces and by 1863 were called Crellin & Company. From 1855 to 1892, the county seat was located in Oysterville.
The oyster trade brought one of Washington's earliest chroniclers to the Territory for the first time. James G. Swan (1818-1900) came to the future Pacific County at the invitation of his friend, oysterman Charles J. W. Russell. Swan lived on Willapa Bay from 1852 to 1855, observing the first pioneer settlement grow and getting to know the Chinook and Chehalis inhabitants, including Chief Comcomly's sister as well as Toke, the leader for whom Toke Point and Tokeland are named, and Toke's wife Suis. In 1857 Swan described Indian and pioneer life on the bay in The Northwest Coast, Or, Three Years' Residence in Washington Territory, one of the earliest books about life in Washington.
Native oysters fed San Francisco during the Gold Rush (1848-1864). After they were depleted, first eastern oysters (1893-1920) and then Pacific or Japanese oysters (1920s-1950s) were brought in and farmed. Finally, laboratories in the United States began to grow oyster spat (a minute oyster larva attached to a solid object, usually a piece of oyster shell), making imports no longer necessary. One out of every six oysters consumed in the United States is grown and harvested in Willapa Bay, the “Oyster Capital of the World.”
From the handful of companies farming the bay more than a century ago to the estimated 350 independent growers in Willapa today (many of them Japanese-Americans), Willapa Bay is thought to be the largest farmed shellfish producer in the United States.
Fishing and canning, too, have been essential to the economy. Salmon was one of the first items traded to early explorers. In 1853, Patrick J. McGowan, an Irishman, purchased 320 acres of an old mission grant and founded the town of McGowan on the north shore of the Columbia. Here he established the first salmon-packing company in the state.
Chinook Indians had long harvested the wild cranberries that grew in bogs, and as early as 1847 the berries were exported to San Francisco. In 1880, Anthony Chabot, a native of Quebec who had grown wealthy from engineering ventures in San Francisco, became interested in growing cranberries commercially. In 1881 he bought 1,600 acres of government land and planted 35 acres of cranberries at Seaview, near present-day Long Beach. He brought in several hundred thousand vines from Massachusetts, and production reached 7,500 barrels. Labor was provided by Indians and by Chinese. But eventually pests and mildew brought in with the non-native vines attacked the crop, labor problems developed, and the Chabot bog went to weeds.
Meanwhile another pioneer, Chris Hanson, had planted two acres of cranberries. For a time he was the only producer on the Long Beach peninsula. Between 1909 and 1916 cranberry growing increased there to 600 acres.
About 1912, a grower named Ed Benn introduced cranberries in the Tokeland and Grayland districts of northern Pacific County. Finnish settlers expanded the bog area.
In 1923 the State College of Washington (later Washington State University) established the Cranberry-Blueberry Experiment Station at Long Beach not far from Chabot's original bog to provide technical assistance to growers. Researcher D. J. Crowley worked out sprays to control pests, and overhead sprinkling to protect from winter frost and summer scald. WSU closed its Cranberry Research Station in 1992. Growers formed the Pacific Coast Cranberry Research Association in order to buy the station. They farm the former WSU bogs while WSU continues to support technical personnel.
In the 1930s growers associated with Ocean Spray, a co-op owned by cranberry farmers, to process and market their crops. Growers also affiliated with a national marketing association, the National Cranberry Growers Association. By 1957 the Washington cranberry industry was thriving. Today virtually all the cranberries harvested in the state, about 1.5 million pounds annually, are grown in the Willapa Basin.
More than 90 percent of the Willapa uplands were forested. Approximately 3 percent of the present stands are undisturbed old growth with the majority of the remainder being managed timberlands. Mechanization of logging with steam locomotives and steam donkeys beginning in the 1890s made logging another mainstay of the county’s economy.
In 1892 the sawmill town of South Bend, located on the Willapa River, was named the county seat. The choice was so contentious that, in 1893, South Bend residents forcibly removed county records from Oysterville. Things remained calm for a number of years, until Raymond, an industrial town north of South Bend, took an interest in becoming county seat. To show Raymond how serious it was about keeping the county seat, South Bend built a new courthouse. Designed by C. Lewis Wilson and Co. in Chehalis, was nicknamed "the gilded palace of extravagance," which it was at the time.
Following World War I, the forest-products industry went into a long slow decline. Timber prices dropped in the 1920s and housing construction almost ceased in the 1930s. As the supply of old-growth timber from private lands declined, mills closed. Improvements in highway and rail transport made it possible to ship logs to large, distant mills, creating more pressure on local mills. A building boom in Asia beginning in the 1960s meant that Japanese mills could out-bid local mills for logs, leaving many local workers idle. Although timber sales from state and federal lands provided some jobs, the timber industry became a shadow of its former self.
In the 1980s Weyerhaeuser remodeled its Raymond plant, closed it, and reopened it with worker concessions. In 2001 the plant earned international recognition for its environmental management.
Dairy farms were established on stump farms in the hills after the trees were logged. In 1950 there were 150 dairy farms in the county. In 1964 the number of farms had fallen to only 40, but milk production had increased. In 2002 Pacific County had 341 farms with an average size of 152 acres.
Railroads and Roads
Lewis Loomis (d. 1913) owned the Ilwaco Navigation Company and the Shoalwater Bay Transportation Company. In 1888 he built a narrow-gauge railroad from Ilwaco to Nahcotta. Eventually it became part of the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company, and then a branch of the Union Pacific Railroad. The railroad took its final run on September 10, 1930.
The age of the auto arrived, and the Olympic Loop Highway (U.S. 101) that passes through Raymond and traces the shore of Willapa Bay, was completed in August 1931. The road made the beaches and products of Pacific County more accessible to the rest of the state. Thirty years later, in 1966, the completion of the Astoria-Megler Bridge spanning the Columbia River and connecting Oregon to Washington had a large impact on Pacific County.
Cities and Towns
The four incorporated cities of Pacific County are Raymond, South Bend, Long Beach, and Ilwaco. Tokeland is a quiet seaside village, the center of the Shoalwater Indian Reservation. Bay Center, located on the Goose Point Peninsula of Willapa Bay, is a center of fish farming. Its canneries prepare Dungeness crab, salmon, Pacific oysters, and Manila clams.
Raymond, located on the Willapa River, was started in 1904 and quickly became a center of logging, an industrial mill town. A land company offering free waterfront tracts attracted some 20 manufacturing plants over the next few years. Its business section was originally built on stilts above the tidelands and sloughs of the site. Sawmills proliferated and German, Polish, Greek, and Finnish immigrants arrived to work in them. By 1905, 400 citizens lived in Raymond. The town, named after leading citizen and first postmaster Leslie V. Raymond, incorporated in 1907 and by 1920 had a population of 4,000. During World War I Raymond became a center of shipbuilding.
A notable Raymond firm is the Dennis Company, which started out as a shingle mill and in 1905, as prices dropped due to competition, merged with another mill, becoming the Raymond Shingle Manufacturing Company. This enterprise was blown to bits in a mill explosion later that year and the family turned to hauling firewood gathered from mill leftovers gathered from several companies. The transportation and sales business expanded into hauling coal, then blacksmithing, then moving pianos and furniture. The firm acquired a warehouse and began selling and delivering block ice. By 1925 it was selling and delivering ice, coal, wood, brick, lime, and cement. The Dennis family purchased forestlands and opened an alder mill to build (and deliver) furniture.
Possessing a transportation infrastructure, it was natural, when Prohibition was repealed in 1933, to go into delivery of beer and soda pop, which led to bottling and producing Dennis Quality Beverages such as Red Rock Cola. Eventually all this diverse activity led to opening a retail store in Raymond during the 1940s. Other activities included manufacturing cement, building houses, selling hardware and plumbing supplies, and operating a long-distance trucking business. The firm opened a feed store and a Honda shop, and went into the clothing business, starting with sweatshirts. Today it operates the original store and corporate offices in Raymond, as well as satellite stores in Aberdeen, Elma, Long Beach, and Montesano, plus a concrete plant in Ilwaco. The Dennis Company employs 100 people.
In 2006 Raymond is home to nearly 3,000 people. Manufacturing still provides about 14 percent of the employment. Health, education, and social services provide another 17 percent, as does arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodations, and food services.
South Bend, down the Willapa River from Raymond, was founded in 1869. It was a lumber and sawmill town. In 1889, men associated with the Northern Pacific Railroad bought land there and within five years the town boomed from 150 souls to 3,500. The town went from boom to bust and back to boom several times, with fishing, oystering, canning, and the lumber business providing its economic base. In 1892 it became county seat and in 1910 erected the grand county courthouse, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.
Today South Bend is a community of docks, fishing boats, crab-processing plants, and other enterprises and is home to the county historical museum. As county seat, South Bend houses numerous Pacific County government functions.
Tourists began arriving at the long beach that gives Long Beach its name in the late nineteenth century, attracted to what historian Lucile McDonald calls “Washington’s Cape Cod.” Long Beach, located on the southern part of the peninsula, triples in population each July and August. Tourists are mainly sport fishermen and fisherwomen and beach aficionados who surf, swim, eat oysters, shop, and fly kites (Long Beach is home of the annual Washington State International Kite Festival held the third week in August). In the 1990s Long Beach built a 2,300-foot-long dunes boardwalk, a network of wetland trails, and an interpretive center.
Long Beach was the approximate location of Anthony Chabot's pioneering cranberry operation. WSU's cranberry and blueberry experiment station was established here in 1923.
Long Beach has a population of about 2,300 residents. Hotels, motels, and bed-and-breakfast establishments, as well as gift shops, galleries, and restaurants serving visitors form an important part of the economy.
Ilwaco, located at the southern end of the Long Beach peninsula, is a traditional fishing port. The town was also a center of logging and cranberry growing. The first non-Indian arrivals appeared in the 1840s, and included the American John Pickernell, who came from Champeog, Oregon, after French Canadian and American settlers there had disagreed over political organization. Another early arrival was James DeSaule, the black Peruvian cook on board the Wilkes Expedition's Peacock. DeSaule jumped ship when the vessel went down and eventually moved to Ilwaco and ran a freight service between Astoria (across the Columbia) and Cathlamet.
Ilwaco was originally named Unity in celebration of the end of the Civil War, but was always called Ilwaco, after Elowahko Jim, a son-in-law of the Chinook Chief Comcomly. A plat for the town was filed in 1876 under the name Ilwaco.
A Great Lakes method of trapping salmon led to a population boom to 300 after 1882. This involved traps made of tarred rope webs installed on permanent pilings and gave rise to conflict with gillnet fishers who found their fishing grounds preempted. The latter set nets afire, terrorized night watchmen, and in other ways tried to regain their fishing rights. The "gillnet wars" lasted from 1882 until 1910.
Ilwaco incorporated in 1890, and became a city nearly a century later, on July 13, 1987. It has a history museum, an 800-slip marina, a library, bookstore, coffeehouses and restaurants, an antiques store, and other businesses. The population of about 1,000 swells to 3,000 during the summer months when people come for swimming, boating, fishing, and other recreation.
The State of Washington
Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation
Oyster sloop, Shoalwater Bay, 1890
Courtesy UW Special Collections (Freshwater and Marine Image Bank)
Pacific County, Washington
Fort Canby Lighthouse, Cape Disappointment, 1900s
Bay Center, Willapa Bay, n.d.
Photo by Charles Haskins Townsend, Courtesy UW Special Collections (Freshwater and Marine Image Bank)
Railroad depot, Raymond, 1910s
Industrial section, Raymond, 1920s
Pacific County Courthouse, South Bend, 1940s
School, Oysterville, 1900s
Willapa Bay Lighthouse, ca. 1890
Photo by Henry Bamber, Courtesy National Archives (Image No. 26-LG-62-2)
Oyster harvesting near South Bend, 1930s
Centennial celebration, Oysterville, 1954
Long Beach, 1930s
Bargeload of oyster shells, Nahcotta, 1960s
Long Beach, 1960s
Cranberry Bog, Ilwaco, August 2, 2008
Oysterville Church (originally Baptist Church, 1892), Oysterville, August 2, 2008
HistoryLink.org photo by Paula Becker
Grave of siblings Medora Espy and Albert Espy, Oysterville Cemetery, August 2, 2008
HistoryLink.org photo by Paula Becker
Site of first Pacific County Courthouse, Oysterville, August 2, 2008
HistoryLink.org photo by Paula Becker
Oldest post office in Washington run continuously under the same name (1858, current building 1919), Oysterville, August 2, 2008