Seaside History

Going for a Dip in the 1920s

July 24, 2013 | by Nate Burke

Folks in the late 1920s were definitely not afraid to get their feet wet.  This photo shows a crowd of bathers on Seaside’s beach cooling off in the Pacific and horsing around in the surf. Due to limited swimsuit fashions at the time, this crowd could all be mistaken for members of the same swim team.  Dubbed “tank suits” (or “maillots”), these one-piece swimsuits were more like a leotard, made out of a springy, jersey-type material. It’s interesting that there is little difference between male and female suits (accept for the flared skirt-like cut for the female design and one resembling shorts for the men).

One might first surmise that this brand of swimwear was referred to as the “tank suit” due to its uncanny ability to make the human body resemble an armored vehicle. Actually, the tank suit is referred to as such because it was, well, a suit originally worn in a tank (a swimming tank that is – i.e. pool). Nowadays, I’m pretty sure swimming in a tank seems rather absurd (one might imagine an alternate universe where folks have summer tank parties in their back yards!). But the old-timey lingo has stayed with us throughout the years. That American Apparel tank top you’re wearing?  Well, it’s the direct descendant of the tank suits you see here.

Never mind what we wear in the water, though – what we do in the water is far more universal.  The brave souls see how far they can wade out and enjoy confronting the waves in a head-on collision.  These daredevils like the feel of the full majestic power of the ocean as their bodies slice through the incoming breakers. Then there are the more modest folk who are just fine venturing in the ankle deep waters. These conscientious and poetical types tend to revel in those moments where the shallow tide flows back against their feet, gently pulling sand around their exposed legs. One can clearly see that both temperaments are represented here in the late 1920s – and if you head down to Seaside’s beach during high summer this year, I’ll bet you can see the same oceanfront antics.

and so much more!

Seaside Downtown Wine Walk
Seaside’s Spring Downtown Wine Walk

A deeper look inside an annual spring event in Seaside

Learn More
1st Generation Boardwalk: High Definition for the Old Guard

The Promenade started out as a wooden boardwalk that attracted visitors from far

Learn More
Episode Two: the Lewis & Clark Salt Works

Join us on an audio walking tour of the Lewis & Clark Salt Works in Seaside, Oregon.

Learn More
“Gee, the Water’s Fine”

A trip to the beach is not only fun, it's good for your health!

Learn More
Churches in Seaside

The buzz of summer is in the air as Seaside welcomes ever-increasing waves of visitors, happily sharing the beauty and bounty of our coastal getaway. As numbers increase on sidewalks, in shops, on roads and in restaurants, our local houses of worship also expand. Some folks desire a peaceful respite during a busy vacation; brides anxiously check out venues for future nuptials; history buffs enjoy the areas older churches; and some just enjoy connecting and worshiping with others of like-minded faith.

Learn More
Haunted in Seaside? Just like all towns with a deep history, there's chatter of the spookier side too. We dive in to find out when and where.
Spookiest Spots in Seaside

A fair number of sites in Seaside are thought to be haunted. So we took a deep dive to see what locals and experts had to say about the paranormal.

Learn More
For a Taste of Oregon’s Beautiful North Coast, Visit Seaside

Seaside has been a vacation destination for nearly as long as Oregon has been a state.

Learn More
The Iron Horse Comes to Town

A look at the train that connected Seaside to Portland in 1898

Learn More
The Tale of the Driftwood Forts

As driftwood forts become more rare along the Oregon Coast, the memories hold strong.

Learn More
A Tradition of Tea

Seaside has a 26 year tradition it loves to share with visitors. Those in town for the holiday season are invited to step back in ...

Learn More
Why This Family Comes Back To Seaside Year After Year

The calm waters of the Necanicum River in Seaside, Oregon. Photo: Alex Butterfield There’s something comfortingly classic about ...

Learn More
Children feed the Harbor Seals at the Seaside Aquarium in Seaside, Oregon.
How to Seaside Inside

Don’t get us wrong: Plenty of beach lovers come to Seaside in the cooler, drizzlier months to enjoy the great outdoors. That’s...

Learn More
Portland to Seaside by Bus

Visiting Seaside without a Car

Learn More
Establishing Another World Record

Seaside Beach Volleyball Tournament establishes yet another record during stellar event.

Learn More
Feed Your Mind, Body and Soul in Seaside

Seaside is about more than just Broadway boutiques and bumper cars. It’s home to pampering spas, top-notch yoga studios, wine ta...

Learn More
Sea Foam on the shore's of The Cove in Seaside, Oregon
The Cove, Seaside’s Natural Treasure

Exploring Seaside's Cove, a natural wonder to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike

Learn More
Knights of Summer: Seaside’s Lifeguarding Tradition

Seaside has had a rich lifeguard tradition for almost 100 years.

Learn More
A New Year of Seaside Adventures

A new year in Seaside means you have 12 months of adventure ahead —  trekking through rain forests, watching whales spray and d...

Learn More