Seaside History

The Whole Clam Family

October 2, 2013 | by Nate Burke

Just how many years have families been clamming on Seaside’s beach?  Believe it or not, the answer is centuries. The Clatsop-Nehalem tribes thrived for hundreds of years on the North Oregon Coast (between the Columbia River and the cove under Tillamook Head) before the European arrival. Clamming was a basic part of life and complemented a diverse culinary tradition. The fertile sands were essentially bountiful fields waiting to be harvested, and to this day they remain some of the most abundant razor clamming fields in the country.

Razor clamming can be a rich solitary experience, but hunting in packs tends to be the most fun. Besides, everybody likes to cheer one another on and celebrate their razor clamming prowess.  The family in this photo posed with their catch on Seaside’s beach way back in 1909, but this could easily be a family snapshot taken with a smartphone in 2013 (if the family were playing dress-up that is). The Seaside Historical Society is actually overflowing with antique photos of families on razor clamming expeditions. Apparently, this was a popular moment to document. The ancient photo inscription names the older gentleman on the left as “Theron H. Lindsley”. There isn’t any information on Mr. Lindsley that we could dig up, but further inspection unveils that “Theron” is a Greek name meaning “Hunter” – which seems highly appropriate.

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