Lincoln County History

Sam Case claimed the west end of the Bayfront and named it Newport. Case and his friend Dr. J.R. Bayley built the Ocean House, probably the first resort hotel on Oregon’s coast, on the site of the current Coast Guard station. John Nye followed a creek flowing to the ocean and laid claim to land there.

John and Joseph Graham, William Mackey, Royal Bensell, and others claimed land near what is now Toledo.

Ben Jones

Ben Jones

Early European settlement was initially confined to what is now Central Lincoln County. At first both the north and south of Yaquina Bay remained officially closed to settlement. As the pressure mounted to open this area up for settlement the reservation shrank.

South County’s Waldport was founded and named by David Ruble in the fall of 1879. That same year Louis Southworth, a freed black slave, and James Doty homesteaded on the Alsea River. The Ludemanns and Bobells, who had emigrated from Germany to Minnesota, moved on to Oregon and homesteaded on farms on the upper Yachats River. In 1887 the first post office in Ocean View (Yachats) was established about a mile north of the Yachats River.

Until 1893 the central coast was part of Benton County. The County Seat, Corvallis, was over fifty miles away on a dirt road. Ben Jones, fed up with treatment of coastal residents by county officials in Corvallis, pushed through legislation to form Lincoln County. Jones is known as the father of Lincoln County.

In 1893 most of the remaining reservation land was divided into allotments that were granted to the Indians who were still a part of what was by then called the Siletz Reservation. In 1954 the tribe was terminated by Congress. In 1977 tribal status was restored. The tribe has made a dramatic comeback and now operates since then with a casino and other ventures in Lincoln City and a social and tribal complex in Siletz.

The area now known as Depoe Bay is built on land allotted to Charley Depot and his family in 1894. Charley’s name was given to him when he worked odd jobs at Depot Slough because his native name was difficult to pronounce. Some of Charley’s descendents adopted the spelling D-e-P-o-e. In June 1927 the Sunset Investment Co. of Portland platted the town of DePoe Bay. In 1928, when a post office was approved, the spelling was simplified to Depoe Bay by the government.