Seaside History

Washed Away

January 30, 2013 | by Nate Burke

Most people are familiar with the ever popular cove on the south end of Seaside. It’s a stunning stage that exhibits the ocean and incoming waves at play. But as we all know, those waves can also carry an unbelievable power during fall and winter storms. The cove is striking as a pristine untouched area, but back in 1929, it was also home to a fishing pier made of solid timber. The pier was perched on sturdy iron pipes that were made even sturdier by a concrete filling. However, this strapping structure took a beating from a storm during the fall of 1929 and was washed away.

The following spring, in 1930, the cantilever pier (pictured here) was built in the same location (“1920s” is scrawled in ink on the photo but research revealed the date to be a bit later). This cantilever pier was rigidly supported by thick cables. However, the image is slightly unsettling from this perspective, as the people gathered on the far end of the pier seem perched on a diving board.  In fact, a diving board is a fitting analogy to the cantilever design: the fixed anchor keeps a diving board stable, but of course there is a limit to how much weight it can take. Considering the risks of winter waves pounding the piling foundations, maybe the cantilever pier design was a final attempt to brace the structure from a point outside of the water.

Regardless of the intended result, the cantilever pier was washed away a few months later in the winter of 1931. It’s sometimes quite difficult to outsmart Mother Nature.

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A group of women prepare to learn surfing in Oswald West State Park. Photo by Justin Bailie.
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