Oregon Coast 2015: Rocks, Shipwrecks and Bombs

The second night of our Oregon Coast camping trip, my Mom was kind enough to load me up with some warm blankets, and I was nice and toasty in my sleeping bag, which meant that I slept a lot better! Sunday dawned warmer too, so we hung out with the kids as they played on the playground.

Shortly before noon we headed out to begin our long drive home, with a few planned stops along the way.

Haystack Rock

Haystack Rock is an iconic sea stack jutting out of the ocean just off the beach in Cannon Beach, Oregon.  Although there are many other “Haystack Rocks” around, including three others in Oregon, this is the actual, real one…  No really, I swear…  You have probably seen it, even if you haven’t been here, as it was featured in the opening scenes of The Goonies, when the bad guys are trying to flee across the beach.

Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon

Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon

It had been several years since I had been there, and Jon had never seen it, so we parked and strolled along the beach for a little while.  It is still beautiful.

From the beach, the Tillamook Rock Light is visible in the distance.  It was completed in 1881, with a First Order Fresnel lens, and at the time, was the most expensive lighthouse constructed on the West Coast.  The commute was so treacherous for light keepers that it became known as Terrible Tilly.  It was decommissioned in 1957, and over the years, the wind and surf have eroded the rock, damaged the lighthouse and shattered the lens.  It is now privately owned, and an unofficial columbarium.

Tillamook Rock Lighthouse - built 1881.

Tillamook Rock Light – built 1881.

The Peter Iredale and Fort Stevens State Park

The Peter Iredale was a cargo ship that ran aground on the Oregon Coast, October 25, 1906, while it was en-route to the Columbia River. She was built in 1890, was 287 feet long and was made from steel plates on an iron frame. She was named for her owner, who also owned an entire fleet in England. She grounded during a storm, and a lifeboat was dispatched to rescue the 27 stranded crew and 2 stowaways. All lives were saved.

The wreck of the Peter Iredale

The wreck of the Peter Iredale

Originally the intention was to tow the ship back into the sea, but after several weeks of waiting for good weather, the ship got ever more embedded in the sands, and she was ultimately sold for scrap. The bow, ribs and masts remained as a reminder of the wreck, and are now a popular tourist attraction. Interestingly, during World War II, Japanese submarines fired on the wreck of the Peter Iredale, so barbed wire was strung along the beach to hamper any planned invasion. The ship became entwined in the barbed wire and remained that way until the end of the war.

Jon with the Peter Iredale

Jon with the Peter Iredale

Fort Stevens was an active fort from the Civil War through World War II (although it wasn’t always manned), and had 3 batteries protecting the mouth of the Columbia River. Battery Russell was built between 1903 and 1904 and armed with two 10” disappearing guns. During the attack from the Japanese submarine, several shells landed near Battery Russell, but the order was given to hold return fire, and after 16 minutes of shelling, the submarine submerged and left. Did you know there had been a World War II attack on U.S. soil, other than Pearl Harbor?

Battery Russell at Fort Stevens State Park

Battery Russell at Fort Stevens State Park


An American Robin on a chain at Battery Russell

An American Robin on a chain at Battery Russell

It would have been fun to tour the other two batteries, but I had more sightseeing planned for us!


3 thoughts on “Oregon Coast 2015: Rocks, Shipwrecks and Bombs

    • You are welcome! I’m sure the little 5s will enjoy exploring the forts and the beaches! There is a ton to do along that section of the Oregon Coast. Or really most places along the Oregon Coast!

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