Seaside Stories

Seaside Inside: The Historical Edition

December 21, 2016 | by Nicole Bailey

Above photo: A group plays the historic arcade game, Fascination at Funland Arcade in downtown Seaside, Oregon.

Seaside is a popular destination for outdoor activities during the warmer parts of the year. Yet, it’s not uncommon for us to have a beautiful day, even in the winter season. Still, there are a few months when people prefer to avoid the damper side of Oregon’s coastal climate and ask us for information on all of the things to do indoors. In response we created this series, “Seaside Inside.” In three segments we are highlighting indoor activities available in and around Seaside. Last month’s installment was “Seaside Inside for Kids.” This month, we are excited to showcase, “Seaside Inside: The Historical Edition.” View historic buildings and activities in our town from a “way back when” perspective and you will likely never see Seaside the same way again.

To begin, let us introduce a very unique side of Seaside’s history. The game Fascination, originating on the East Coast in the 1920’s, has been a Seaside staple since the 1950’s. Players roll a ball up a Skee-Ball style, wooden table to be rewarded by points and flashing lights. Funland Arcade, where the Fascination game resides, even has announcers on hand adding to the excitement. The arcade itself has been in Seaside since 1929, true to the town’s reputation for fun.

Where the highway meets Broadway Street, Seaside Brewing Co., built inside Seaside’s old city hall, still has original bricks, wood floors and a replica jail cell perfect for photos of your trip to Seaside. Right next door is the old fire station, now a restaurant called Firehouse Grill. West of these relics, and also on Broadway, is the historic Gilbert District. Each of the buildings on this corner intersected by Holladay Drive were built after the fire of 1912 by former Seaside mayor, Alexandre Gilbert. The buildings were made concrete to prevent another total loss caused by fire. They have been beautifully remodeled and are the backdrop for a favorite indoor activity in Seaside, the First Saturday Art Walk. The walk takes place on the first Saturday of each month from 5-7 pm. In addition to the chance to meet local artists, the walk is an excellent opportunity for those who appreciate historical architecture. See our Calendar of Events to learn about future art walks.

Another of Seaside’s many historic places also offers indoor fun. The Seaside Aquarium is situated inside what used to be the Seaside Natatorium (a fancy name for indoor bathhouse), built in 1924. In the 1920s, sea water was pumped in from the ocean, heated, and used as the water source for the pool. In 1937, the building was retrofitted to become the Aquarium. The ocean still serves as the water source for the Aquarium, which enters its 80th year of operation in 2017.

Many buildings in Seaside reflect almost 150 years of visitor history in the area. The best way to learn about that history is at the Seaside Museum. Created and run by dedicated volunteers, the museum, along with neighboring Butterfield Cottage, a fully restored Seaside Cottage built in 1893, are open for tours every day but Sunday. As visitors will quickly see, Seaside has always been popular for vacationers. Today, evidence of that history is plentiful and through a new perspective, visitors can appreciate the melding of the old and the new while enjoying this indoor fun.

Visiting in winter still offers some prime beach time between storms, but while waiting for those opportunities, why not take in some nostalgia around town? For more “Inside Seaside” look for our post next month when we describe, “The Spirit of Inside Seaside,” all the fun ways to enjoy adult beverages indoors in Seaside. In the meantime, for more information about these and other things to do in Seaside, give us a call at the Seaside Visitors Bureau at (503) 738-3097.

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