Seaside History

The End of the Trail

February 6, 2013 | by Nate Burke

In 1940, the “End of the Trail” sign was built at the turnaround to commemorate the Lewis & Clark expedition’s two year, 4,000 mile journey across the North American continent.  The original sign was a depiction of the expedition’s crowning achievement and a monument to the historical significance of the North Oregon Coast.

“Ocian in view! O! the joy!” wrote Capt. William Clark as he stood at the Columbia River Estuary up north.  The expedition ultimately settled on the south side of the Columbia in December of 1805 (15 miles north of Seaside in present day Astoria). There they built Fort Clatsop and called it home for the winter.  Nowadays, Fort Clatsop is a magnet for enthusiasts and includes a replica of the original fort, an interpretive center offering an exhibit hall, a theater, and also features popular ranger-led historical programs.

The Salt Works in Seaside is a historical site commemorating the expedition’s salt making activities (salt was vital in the food-preservation process).  They set up camp just off the sand dunes which is now a residential area next to the promenade on Lewis & Clark Way.

On January 6, Clark took 12 men through the Salt Makers’ Camp and over Tillamook Head to view a beached whale at what is now Ecola State Park (“ecola” is the Chinook word for whale) and barter for blubber and oil.  While on the Tillamook Head trail, Clark paused at one of the many spectacular viewpoints and later wrote “From this point I beheld the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed, in my frount a boundless Ocean . . . . the Seas brak with great force [and] gives this Coast a most romantic appearance.”

 


 

These are just a few of the local Lewis & Clark historical sites in the area.  Thanks to preservation efforts, all of these landmarks and moments of awe in the Lewis & Clark legacy can be relived along Oregon’s North Coast by the modern explorer.  However, the original “End of the Trail” sign at the turnaround has been replaced by a towering bronze statue of the explorers facing west.  It’s a transporting experience looking out over the Pacific next to the bronze replicas of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.  At these times Capt. Clark’s outcry, “Ocian in view! O! the Joy!” becomes a passionate sentiment that rings true even in our modern times.

Editors Note: The quotations above originate from William Clark’s journal. Though containing typos, Clark’s words have been quoted with his original creative spelling intact.

and so much more!

Seaside Elk

I was driving into Seaside, along Highway 101 South, and had just passed the Circle Creek Campsite on the left, when I noticed several cars parked off the side of the road.

Learn More
Family Magazine: Vacation 101

A look at family fun activities on the North Oregon Coast

Learn More
Paragliding on the North Coast

Adventure and fun with paragliding on Oregon

Learn More
How to Experience Seaside’s Prom Centennial

Centennial anniversaries don’t happen all too often. Once every hundred years, in fact! We’ll show you how to celebrate all ye...

Learn More
Seaside Library

A look at the humble beginnings of the Seaside Public Library

Learn More
Trying to take flight during a wind storm on the beach in Seaside, Oregon.
Tides and Tide Tables: What You Need to Know

If your winter beach vacations to date have required sunscreen, then you clearly have not experienced a magical Seaside day in Jan...

Learn More
Seaside Golf Club

A look at the history of the Seaside Golf Club.

Learn More
Enjoying the Breaks in Weather

Seaside and Oregon Coast offer unique setting for the rising and setting of the sun.

Learn More
Guide to Spring Events in Seaside

If you think Seaside is simply a summertime destination, get ready to adjust your mindset! Seaside offers something for all visito...

Learn More
Ranger’s Guide to the North Coast

Some of Oregon’s most scenic and history-rich places are located in or around Seaside. In fact, within just a one-hour drive, yo...

Learn More
Driving the Oregon Coast Highway

Unique views are plentiful along all 363 miles

Learn More
The Seaside Estuary makes an ideal spot to go bird watching along the Oregon Coast.
Where to Go Birding in Seaside

Seaside may be a small town, but it’s a big destination for birds, and as a result, birdwatchers hitting nearby spots on the Ore...

Learn More
Insider Tips: Exploring the Prom Like a Local

It’s difficult to imagine Seaside without the historic Promenade, the famous lamp-lined trail that stretches along the sandy bea...

Learn More
A group of women prepare to learn surfing in Oswald West State Park. Photo by Justin Bailie.
New Year, New Adventures

Instead of starting the new year by committing to breaking bad habits — and then forgetting that you even made the resolution ...

Learn More
Family Reunion

Seaside is a hot spot for family reunion get-togethers.

Learn More
Gone Fishin’

You know you’re in Seaside when . . . this sentence can be completed in numerous ways. Today I’ll finish it with: . . . you see a guy walking down the road in tall rubber boots, fishing pole in one hand, long silvery fish dangling from the other.

Learn More
How to Plan a Romantic Stay in Seaside

Plotting your Valentine’s Day plans? This year swap the heart-shaped box of chocolates and grocery-store flowers for an escape t...

Learn More
SOLV Beach Clean Up

When I look at our beaches I don’t see garbage. I see a breathtaking coastline, and I think how lucky we are to have such pristine beauty right in our own backyard. I believe most beachgoers, both locals and tourists, are conscientious about disposing their refuse properly after a day playing on the beach. So why do we have the SOLV beach cleanup twice a year?

Learn More