About Ocean Shores
OCEAN SHORES “HUMBLE” BEGINNINGS
Everyone in America has the traditional story of how their home town was founded; generally they are pretty run of the mill. Ocean Shores history starts off with a fairly normal cast of characters and then… well, you will see.
Long before the settlers came to this town it was used heavily by the Native American people – the Chinook used the ocean end of the point as a place to store food they gathered and before them the Chehalis Indians had a camp at the beginning of the point; among other tribes. To this day there are still a large number of Native Americans that reside in this part of the country – approximately 20 miles north of Ocean Shores is Taholah, home to the Confederated Tribes of the Quinault Indian Nation. This nation is the combination of the different tribes that once settled in this area.
The first white settler who came to this town was Matthew McGee in the early 1860’s. He sold the southern end of the peninsula to AO Damon in 1878 for a trading supply center; later he took over the entire peninsula from McGee. Damon passed the land down to his grandson, Ralph Minard who used the land as a cattle ranch from 1926 to 1960.
This is where things get a little more colorful – In 1960 a group of investors who called themselves The Ocean Shores Investment Corporation bought the land from Ralph for $1,000,000. They renamed themselves The Ocean Shores Development Corporation, parked an old travel trailer in the dunes and began selling lots, sight unseen, starting at $595. It wasn’t until the road construction began that actual lots were numbered and staked.
The initial roadway was less than 20 miles long, but the downtown area had the vapor lamps – this classified Ocean Shores as a city in the making. 25 homes were built the first year and from these first homes sprung the charter members of the Ocean Shores Community Club… which is still in existence today.
In the first year 25 miles of canals were laid out and a 6-hole golf course was built. By 1963 – 3 restaurants, motels, the marina and airstrip were put in. In 1966 the famous stone pillars at the city entrance were installed.
Ocean Shores was quickly becoming the place for the jet set to go, so the SS Catala was brought up from California to be used as a charter fleet office. Two years later a winter storm drove it into the sand. Parts of the shipwreck can still be seen at the end of Damon Point. The SS Catala is still one of the most famous shipwrecks on the Washington coast.
Pat Boone became a resident in 1967 as a stockholder in the Ocean Shores Estates Corporation
and soon began promoting celebrity golf tournaments. Twelve more holes were added during this time. There were six Pat Boone Celebrity Golf Tournaments between 1966 and 1971.
By 1969 Ocean Shores was declared the “Richest Little City” with 900 permanent residents and an assessed value of $35,000,000.
Today Ocean Shores welcomes more than 3,000,000 visitors to its sandy beaches. Not too bad – from a cattle farm to the most visited seaside location on the Washington Coast.
OCEAN SHORES – THE BASICS
Ocean Shores – is a 6 mile peninsula that encompasses over 6,000 acres. There are 5 major beach approaches along the 6 miles of sandy public beach that follows the Pacific Ocean southward. At the southwestern tip of the point is the North Jetty, a popular place to watch the waves crash against the rocks. From there the coastline runs east to the mouth of the Grays Harbor. The southern most tip of the peninsula is where the marina is located – from there you can see Westport which is about 2 miles across the water. The east side is the bay – and the views of the Olympic Mountain Range and Mt. Rainier are awesome.
If you are more into fresh water – there are 23 miles of interlocking waterways that include Duck Lake and the Grand Canal which empties into the harbor at the spillway. This is a great place for boating and fishing.
The weather in this little town seldom reaches any extreme in cold or heat. The marine climate makes it so that there are generally dry summers, with cool ocean breezes and temperatures that stay under 80 degrees. Winters are wet, but the temperature seldom dips below freezing. Occasionally it will snow, but it never lasts very long.
Winter storms are common with winds that can reach up to 100 mph and waves that can swell 20 to 25 feet. It is an awe inspiring sight to watch from the safety of your room – never go onto the beach during a storm, driftwood can be tossed out of the surf without notice. Power outages are frequent during the storms, but only last for a few hours.
THE FUTURE OF OCEAN SHORES
It seems that Ocean Shores has a knack for attracting celebrities to help with its growth.
Erik Estrada, of CHIPS fame, visited here in June 2003 to help promote a company that he is the spokesperson for. National Recreational Properties Inc is a company that recently purchased approximately 370 lots in Ocean Shores for future development and marketing through infomercials. The goal is to drive property values up and possibly bring in more affluent people to settle here.
A new convention center was built to attract larger groups into Ocean Shores, a roundabout was created to help with the flow of traffic, and sidewalks to help with the foot traffic. Ocean Shores may be growing, but it will always be a small town to the people who call it home.