Seaside History

Clamming Chronicles

November 14, 2012 | by Nate Burke

As this picture attests, clamming in Seaside has a rich and deep tradition. A sport, a profession, and means of sustenance, razor clamming carries a lengthy history. For thousands of years it was practiced in our area by the Clatsop and Nehalem Tribes using instruments fashioned from cedar.
Check out this razor clamming scene from a photo taken on the Seaside beach in the early 20th century. Shown at left is Mr. Sam Lee, a resident of early Seaside who moved from San Francisco to the Oregon Coast sometime between 1884 and 1889. Mr. Lee was well known for his clamming and crabbing expertise and would go door-to-door selling his catch.
As you can see, he and his companions were seasoned experts. Considering the sheer number of razor clams in the catch, this was no casual morning hunt, but a grueling harvest. My first thought was that the folks in the picture must be in incredible shape. A beautiful clear day, good company, and a wagon load of razor clams – that’s a productive day!

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