Seaside History

Snail Mail: the Agony & the Ecstasy

July 31, 2013 | by Nate Burke

You know that feeling when you’ve been offline for an unusual amount of time and your mind starts drifting to your Facebook and various neglected inboxes? Do you wake up, yawn, stretch your arms, and then check every social media account on your smart phone in bed? Human attraction to connectivity is universal, but it’s arguable that our predecessors were just as fanatical about physical mail as we are about our digital inboxes.

The photograph to your left shows Seaside residents in 1909 hovering around the Streibig Pharmacy on Broadway and queuing up to wait for the daily mail delivery (and yes, this was before the streets were paved).  Before the official US Post Office came to town, Streibig’s was the go-to place for all your communication needs. The mail line was a place to mingle and gossip with your fellow citizens, where you could discuss the lumber trade or listen to bad jokes told by the local wisenheimer. But make no mistake, this wasn’t just a social call. In 1909, people waiting in line for the mail pretty much had one thing dominating their thoughts, which was of course, the mail.  The curiosity, the concern, the financial and emotional investment in the daily post was a commanding hallmark of the pre-digital age. Before wide spread telephone use and high speed travel, a letter delivered to your small coastal town represented all the possibilities of love, heartbreak, fortune, and fear that the great wide world could drop on your doorstep.

Seen in this light, the poignancy of snail mail seems to dwarf some of our current online obsessions. Have you ever sat in front of your email account and hit refresh over and over, waiting for that long-awaited response from a loved one? I’ll bet this modern apprehensive feeling is directly descended from the agony and ecstasy of waiting for snail mail.

Editors Note: The old Streibig Pharmacy is no longer in business, but you can still spot the building in Seaside’s historic Gilbert District.

and so much more!

Top Things to Do With Teens

Traveling with too-cool-for-school teens? I feel you. I have two teenagers myself. But be assured, you’ll find plenty of totally...

Learn More
What is Fascination, Anyway?

Talk to anyone who’s ever visited Seaside, and they’re bound to bring up Fascination with an enthusiastic “I love that game!...

Learn More
Paragliding on the North Coast

Adventure and fun with paragliding on Oregon

Learn More
All About Independence Day 2020 in Seaside

Let’s be clear: July 4th is going to look a little different in Seaside this year. While many of your favorite events had to...

Learn More
Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day in Seaside

Seaside has many treasures “hidden” before our very eyes, ones we may take for granted because we don’t fully grasp their importance.

Learn More
Seaside’s Famous Feathered Citizens

First two weekends of April are filled with bird education

Learn More
Color Now Bursting on the Coast

Pick up a colorful bouquet of summer dahlias at roadside stands along Highway 101 and other coast highways

Learn More
Beach Access for Everyone

Beach Wheelchair Access is Growing on the Coast Seaside is proud to be among a small number of coastal towns in Oregon to offer fr...

Learn More
Golden Age Arcade

Seaside's classic golden age arcade.

Learn More
Times of Change…

Seasons of change in nature and life.

Learn More
The Pacific Pier

A look at the old Pacific Pier in Seaside, Oregon

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
Seaside Without A Car

If you’ve visited Seaside in the past, you’ve likely come by car. But did you know that you can leave the driving to someone e...

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
Keeping Watch on Our Waters

Washington lighthouses, just an hour's drive from Seaside, are historic wonders

Learn More
View from the North Prom

Beautiful view from Seaside's north promenade.

Learn More
The Best of Times News: The Beach at the End of the Trail

Travel writer for the fabulous 50-and-over set, Andrea Gross, spent some time on Oregon’s North Coast in the summer of 2014....

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