Seaside Stories

Seaside’s History is an Honored Guest in Its Present

October 8, 2014 | by Nicole Bailey

There are many local landmarks that celebrate the rich history of Seaside, a town that has been enjoyed as a popular beach getaway since the mid-1800s. These iconic figures, which represent the local tradition of leisure and hospitality, are honored for the role they have played in so many happy memories enjoyed by caretakers and visitors alike.

An historic building that many visitors to Seaside are familiar with is the Gilbert home. This Queen Anne style house, which has become the popular Gilbert Inn, started life as a tiny two-room cabin in 1885 and was transformed into a larger home in 1892. A final renovation in 1990 gave it the grand silhouette it has today. Built by Alexandre Gilbert, who later became the mayor of Seaside, the stately, yellow Inn sits adjacent to another famous landmark, the Promenade, possible only because of land donated by Gilbert.

The Inn is now owned by Haystack Lodgings and its history is carefully honored by them. The home still displays its original tongue-and-groove fir paneling on the walls, and two chairs, embroidered by Gilbert’s wife, Emma, sit in the parlor among many other items that pay homage to the home’s rich history.

Recently, the Gilbert Inn hosted a celebration of Alexandre Gilbert’s achievements and contributions to Seaside, complete with the installation of a commemorative plaque and the attendance of Gilbert’s descendants for the celebration.

A short distance south of the Gilbert Inn, along the Promenade that Gilbert helped make possible, sits the Tides by the Sea, originally a collection of beach cottages built by former Portland mayor Charles Baker in 1928. The original cottages are still there along with the outside wall and recognizable turrets that frame its north entrance. Most visitors, however, enjoy its most famous piece of memorabilia, the cement frog, which sits between the cottages, his original pond now long gone. The Tides enjoys the nostalgia experienced by many of its visitors and even has some of the original tools from the construction of the hotel on display in its lobby. Manager, Trent Johnson shares a story about a guest who has visited since the first year of The Tides’ long history. The man, now in his 90’s, has many fond memories of Seaside and The Tides.

With so many well-preserved landmarks, the history of Seaside as a travel destination is sure to continue. Those making new memories can create a more treasured history, which can then be woven along with these treasured places into the fabric of a much-loved coastal community.

Editor’s Note:Both of the historic properties mentioned can be accessed on foot, using the Promenade as a path from one to the other. If you make the short trek to explore these iconic gems, don’t miss out on the famous Lewis & Clark Salt Works near the halfway point of your walk from The Gilbert Inn to The Tides by the Sea.

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