NEWPORT, Ore. - A century ago this summer, four adventurers set off in a Studebaker to drive from the Abbey Hotel on the Bayfront to Siletz Bay - before there were roads.
The 46-mile round-trip took almost 23 hours and required ingenuity. In some places the only road — or the best road — was the beach itself.
The goal of the trip was to promote the need for better roads to increase business and tourism as part of the Commercial Club’s good roads program, according to the Lincoln County Historical Society.
Although improvements took a while, county historians said one of the results was a new bridge over Rocky Creek and a vote to choose a coastline route rather than a hill route for the highway, a decision that probably led to the growth of the beach communities along the route.
A celebration of the event, including a trip of vintage cars from Newport to Lincoln City, is planned for Friday, July 20, and Saturday, July 21.
The celebration is being directed by a committee facilitated by the Historical Society. Initial members of the committee include: Diane Disse, museum educator for the Lincoln County Historical Society; Tom Chandler, conductor, Yaquina Pacific Railroad Historical Society; Anne Hall, director of the North Lincoln County Historical Museum; Bill Hall, county commissioner; Sachiko Otsuki, collections specialist for the Lincoln County Historical Society; Jim Stembridge, author; and Jodi Weeber, former archivist for the Lincoln County Historical Society. John Baker, management consultant, will serve as an adjunct member of the committee.
The Society is seeking other interested people to join the committee, which will meet again March 21 at 1 p.m. in Newport at the Carriage House of the Historical Society. Anyone interested should call Disse at (541) 265-7509.