The history of the Oregon Coast is one of mystery, adventure, discovery, perseverance, intolerance, and economic prosperity. Before we start the parade of gold-hungry buccaneers, courageous explorers, and stalwart pioneers, here’s a quick look at the land.
Largely made up of headlands, cliffs of black basaltic rock, long stretches of beach, and towering cones of sand dunes, the coastline was the ending spot of long masses of lava flowing westward from earthquakes and volcanoes. A good example is Tillamook Head, the final point of a 400-mile-long flow of lava coming all the way from Idaho about 15 million years ago.
Since then, erosion and storms have whittled away at the coast, but essentially it’s the same as it has been for a million years—a special, wondrous strip where the massive Pacific Ocean meets the final northwest edge of the country.