Gyotaku Workshop at the Maritime

At the Maritime Museum

Saturday, May 11th, 10am-4pm

Gyotaku Artist Heather Fortner

On Saturday, May 11, master fishprint artist and former commercial fisher Merchant Marines Master Heather Fortner will head up a gyotaku workshop at the Pacific Maritime Museum.

Fortner has been practicing the art of gyotaku since 1976 and has taught 100s of people the art of gyotaku. All proceeds from the workshop will benefit the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center.

Fortner’s Sea Fern Studio, Newport fishermen and Sara Skamser of Foulweather Trawl Company are collaborating on this hands-on fish print class. As an added bonus, a behind the scenes tour of the Maritime Museum will be offered by Director Steve Wyatt.

In this six-hour workshop you will learn how to prepare fish for printing and how to mix colorful oil-based inks. Then you will be introduced to the technique of inking the fish and pulling off the fish print on beautiful Asian rice paper. Participants will also learn how to paint eyes and embellish their prints. Attendees of this limited enrollment class will walk away with at least 3 prints suitable for framing, as well as their practice pieces.

Learn the art of Gyotaku and create multiple prints suitable for framing.
Workshop cost of $150 includes all materials, box lunch, and a behind the scenes museum tour. Limited to 20 people – Reserve your place at the museum today or call 541-265-7509.

11th Annual Crab Krack


The Krack is back! The Lincoln County Historical Society’s Annual Crab Krack will take place 4pm, Sunday, February 17th at the Best Western Agate Beach Inn in Newport.

Treat yourself to a luscious fresh local Dungeness crab dinner and live jazz in the company of your friends and neighbors. Each year, crab for this event is graciously donated by the Yaquina Bay commercial fishing community. The generosity of a long list of local restaurants and merchants also help make this annual event possible.

This whole crab feast includes various side dishes, an array of desserts, no-host bar, live music by the Bringetto Jazz Duo, and both a silent and oral auction. In short, something for everyone!

Event proceeds will be used to complete the Doerfler Family Theater at the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center. The highly anticipated theater project will be completed this spring.

The Agate Beach Inn is offering a special rate for guests attending the festivities, and reservations can be made by calling 541-265-9411, or 800-547-3310 and mentioning “Crab Krack” to get the special rate.


Tickets for the Crab Krack are also available for purchase at the Burrows House and Pacific Maritime Heritage Museums. Cost for members is $45 per person, for non-members, $55. Memberships start as low as $20 a year. To become a Member or for more information, purchase tickets by phone, or reserve your table for 8, call the Historical Society at 541-265-7509.

Crab Krack Tickets: For Members

11th Annual Fundraiser for the Maritime Museum’s Doerfler Family Theater.


Crab Krack Tickets: For Non-Members

11th Annual Fundraiser for the Maritime Museum’s Doerfler Family Theater.


2018 Holiday Gathering

The Lincoln County Historical Society’s Holiday Gathering is a fun and casual mixer complete with rare vintage instruments, played by Brent Bunker. It will be held on Saturday, December 1st from 1:00-4:00 pm.

Brent Bunker

Festivities will take place around the glowing warmth of the fireplace in the Maritime Center’s Great Room and will include festive refreshments and a special holiday musical program by Brent Bunker. Brent will be sharing his extensive collection of old and unusual musical instruments and playing them too! For anyone who has never seen a Ukalin, Harp O Lyre, Tremoloa, or a Marxophone, google it or better yet, take this opportunity to check out, up close and personal, these rare vintage instruments.

Attendees to this long-standing community tradition can also check out the museum’s exhibits, the great progress being made on the Doerfler Family Theater project and enjoy the unmatched views of Newport’s Historic Bayfront.

Be sure to bring your Christmas shopping list as the gift shop will be offering a Special Holiday Discount only available during this event. The Maritime Museum gift shop has an outstanding selection of maritime and history publications, as well as locally produced items.

Admission to the Holiday Gathering is free for members and kids under 12, and $5.00 for non-members. The Pacific Maritime Heritage Center is located at 333 SE Bay Blvd on Newport’s Historic Bayfront. Parking is available at the top of the hill.

For more information, call 541-265-7509.

A Doerfler Family Theater Update

The staff and board of the Lincoln County Historical Society would like to share some highly anticipated news – completion of the Doerfler Family Theater is within sight. This proclamation is backed with more than unchecked optimism.

Work is progressing nicely – 300,000 lbs of cement has been poured and dried, creating two sets of stairs for 124 tiered seats and an ADA wheelchair lift platform; the heating and air exchange system is nearly finished, and completion of the electrical system, stage, control room and seating area is at hand.

The extensive interior wood work will be of reclaimed product from our local forest. The end of these old growth Douglas Fir trees came when they were blown down in the 1962 Columbus Day Storm. The downed trees were recently helicoptered out of a grove atop Cape Foulweather. They are being milled locally at the Siletz River Lumber sawmill. There is not a knot of any kind in this beautiful wood. In the coming months, the combined efforts of Skriver construction, and a dedicated team of volunteers, will install the theater interior wood work.

You can do your part to bring this project to completion by adopting a theater seat. For each $300 “adopt-a-seat” donation, a plaque acknowledging your gift will be installed on a Doerfler Family Theater seat. The wording is of your choice — you may acknowledge yourself, a loved one, or perhaps a few words of wisdom or short poem.

All finish work should be done by the end of 2018. The 124 seats have been selected and ordered. This will be the last component to be installed. Presently, the seating company is projecting the seats will be installed in the first quarter of 2019. If you are interested in scheduling an event, such as a meeting or theater film screening, we are taking reservations for events in April 2019 or later.

Steve Wyatt
Executive Director
Lincoln County Historical Society

Lost and Found: A Crown of Renown

Considered lost or dismantled for decades, this one-of-a kind crown of agates was recently placed on exhibit at the Lincoln County Historical Society’s Burrows House Museum. From the 1950s until a few months ago the fate of the crown, and who actually made it, was a mystery.  

It is now certain the agate crown was made by A.L. Thomas approximately 100 years ago. Thomas first came to Newport in 1895 where he established a gift shop specializing in his hand-crafted agate jewelry and his photography in the form of postcards and framed pictures.  

Thomas was very particular about the agates. He traveled to eastern Oregon and even out-of-state on agate hunting “vacations.” Apparently, he did not use a lot of locally found agates as the quantity of suitable stones was undependable. The generous amount of agates and metal Thomas used in this one- of-a-kind crown make it quite heavy, however, the museum has no other crowns to compare it with, nor has anyone on staff ever been crowned. 

The first known appearance of the crown was at the Salmon River Highway dedication in July 1930. Mrs. Rhoda Quick Johnson the “queen mother” of the celebration, arrived by covered wagon, sat on her throne, the first chair ever made in Oregon, and was crowned by Governor Norblad. This is documented in photographs of the occasion. The next known use of the Thomas crown was at the annual coronation of the Crab Queen, the highlight of the annual Newport Crab Festival. The first festival has held in 1938 and continued until 1952. At the height of its popularity, literally thousands flocked to Newport for a free crab lunch, a host of crowd-pleasing events, a carnival, and door prizes. At its peak, a new car, washer, and clothes drier were given away.

A.L. Thomas did not live long enough to see the Crab Festival and queen crowning at its peak. He died in 1940. The store passed to his son Richard Thomas who moved the store away from Nye Beach to Highway 101. In 1947 Richard sold the store to Ralph W. Emerson. The crown likely passed to Ralph Emerson with the sale of the store. Emerson closed the shop after just a few years and moved to Bend.

The Crab Festival came to an end when crab became too expensive to give away and the festival was too successful for its own good, overwhelming the entire town. The Crab Festival is the last documented use of Thomas’ agate crown. This rather striking crown made a lasting impression on those who saw it. From the 1960s, until going on exhibit recently, locals occasionally came to our museum thinking we should have it on exhibit or at least know its whereabouts.  

In the early 1990s, museum staff had occasion to interview Helen Payne. At the time, she was the last surviving child of A.L. Thomas. She believed the crown had been taken apart; the agates sold and/or reused for less royal jewelry.  

Unbeknownst to most folks, when Ralph Emerson died in 1990, he had the crown in his possession. It then passed to his children. Also passed down was the story that it was their father who made the crown. Those who knew of this crown thought of it as the Emerson Crown.  

Recently, the Emerson family loaned the crown to the Historical Society for exhibit purposes. Photos in the Historical Society’s collection well document this exact crown in use at the 1930 Salmon River Highway celebration – 17 years prior to Emerson’s arrival in Newport. Richard Thomas, son of A.L. Thomas, was on hand for the coronation of the queen using the crown his father made.