Skip to content

Seaside History

Knights of Summer: Seaside’s Lifeguarding Tradition

June 19, 2013 | by Nate Burke

The first day of summer is upon us and our local lifeguard team is out in force. Lifeguarding in Seaside has a rich tradition of service, where athletic men and women have spent their summers sprinting through the sands and surveying the horizon with eyes peeled for trouble. In fact, lifeguards have been a part of our coastal town for almost 100 years. The first lifeguards started patrolling during Seaside summers around 1915. In 1923 the first lifeguard station was constructed on the beach just southwest of the Turnaround. The station acted as a useful observation tower and graced Seaside’s beach with an enduring reputation for fun and safety. With the first summer lifeguard team and accompanying observation tower, Seaside became the most vigilantly guarded beach in Oregon. With this reputation for vibrant beach culture, Seaside drew talented local lifeguards and also pulled from the ranks of other coastal cities from across the country. For those who wanted to spend a memorable summer in Seaside, three months on the North Oregon Coast was an exciting prospect.

The beach is a community in its own right and has its very own social circles, so it’s only proper that the lifeguards act as a nucleus for the sun-loving set. Willy Paul and Bill Palmer (shown here in a photo from 1933) were two popular and gregarious lifeguards who grew up in Seaside; both were outstanding athletes and quickly became the most trusted men on the beach.  Practically glowing with friendliness, health, and ability, Willy and Bill were some of the earliest incarnations of the local lifeguard tradition.

and so much more!

“Fascinated” on Broadway

Fascination has been a staple in Seaside, Oregon since the 1950s.

Learn More
Gayway Park in the early 1960s

Gayway Park in the 1960s was a major family attraction in Seaside, Oregon

Learn More
Step Into Vintage Charm at the Times Theatre

Moviegoers love a good comeback story, and that’s exactly what they’ll find at the “new” Times Theatre & Public House...

Learn More
Barefoot beachcombing: a Treat for Your Feet

Historical photo of children doing some barefoot beach combing.

Learn More
Views of Tillamook Rock Lighthouse are well within your reach thanks to the adventure of the Tillamook Head Trail just south of Seaside.
How to Get Epic Tillamook Rock Lighthouse Views

Your quest to see Tillamook Rock begins on the south side of Seaside at the end of Sunset Boulevard.

Learn More
Grab a Great Cup of Coffee or Roast Your Own Beans

Want your favorite coffee drink for free? Easy! Help us keep the beach clean and your coffee is on us. Foggy days on the beach, ev...

Learn More
Eat Your Way along the North Coast

Seaside is now the starting point for the self-guided North Coast Food Trail that travels south to Neskowin and includes more than...

Learn More
Unique Seaside Spots to Stay

(photo courtesy of the SaltLine Hotel)   From oceanfront studios and restful retreats to in-house spas and pet-friendly suite...

Learn More
Murals, Swing Jazz, and Marine Life: Experiencing Seaside’s Arts & Culture

Seaside, Oregon, is known for its downtown murals and active arts scene. Photo: Rick Mickelson As one of the best known beach dest...

Learn More
Driving the Oregon Coast Highway

Unique views are plentiful along all 363 miles

Learn More
Oregon Coast: Lodgings with a Tale to Tell

Historic coastal inn in Seaside, Oregon

Learn More
Seaside Summer Event Guide

We know that Seaside’s stellar location is reason enough to visit. But summers here are jam-packed with events that you won’t ...

Learn More
Holiday Traditions

Recalling Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions on Oregon

Learn More
A Stop on the Art Walk

Capturing what goes on behind the scenes of a First Saturday Art Walk

Learn More
Seaside Watercraft Adventures

Seaside watercraft adventures await visitors of all skill levels. With two rivers and multiple access points, anyone can enjoy the...

Learn More
Exploring the North Coast Food Trail in Seaside

The North Coast Food Trail — a guide to unique, hyper-local food experiences in Seaside and many other cities from Neskowin to A...

Learn More
Seaside Beach Volleyball Tournament
World’s Largest Beach Volleyball Tournament

Come August, the “digs” along Seaside’s beach have nothing to do with razor clams. For the 36th year, Seaside will host the ...

Learn More
See What’s New in Seaside This Summer

Find more fun spots that have opened since 2021 here. When’s the last time you visited Seaside? Maybe it was last season, or las...

Learn More