Seaside History

Shell Road

April 3, 2013 | by Nate Burke

Most of the familiar things in life started out small. Seaside, our adored coastal town, is no different. Broadway, the charming downtown strip that constitutes the active heart of our city, began as a primitive trail cut by entrepreneur (and owner of the Grimes Hotel) G.M Grimes in the mid 1870s. Grimes cut this trail from his Hotel leading due west to the beach.

In the mid 1880s, the train depot was completed and the standard wagon journey from neighboring areas was replaced with a modern train ride. Grimes’ pathway to the beach was further utilized and paved with shells. The Shell Road became the main conduit between the rail line and the beach.

Seaside’s population and notoriety as a beach destination grew and small businesses popped up along Shell Road. The tiny building shown here is Poole’s Candy Kitchen, probably one of the first establishments in a long tradition of sweet shops on Broadway. The trees and undeveloped flavor of Shell Road gave it an aura of spontaneity: it looks as if it sprang up in the middle of a thin wooded area.

If you wander down Broadway today, you are essentially walking the same path that originated in the 1870s. What’s your earliest memory of Seaside? Share it with us by commenting below.

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