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Life In Ruins: Yaquina City and Paradise Lost

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GPS Coordinates: 44.602446, -124.008737

Today, if you travel along the Yaquina Bay Road about three to four miles east of Newport, you will drive right by the spot once anticipated to be the cultural and commercial hub of Oregon. If you watch carefully, you can still see signs of the little community ironically called Yaquina City.

Yaquina City was established in the late 1880s by a entrepreneur named Thomas Egenton Hogg as the terminus of his Oregon Pacific Railroad which connected the coast with the Willamette Valley. Hogg expected his town to become a trading hub through which goods arriving by sea would be sent inland, and agricultural items from the valley would be sent out. He even boasted that Yaquina City would outshine San Francisco as the cosmopolitan capital of the West Coast. For a while things looked promising, but Yaquina City was positioned between Newport and Toledo, both of which were better located for business, travel and recreation. By the early part of the twentieth century, Newport was a thriving resort community and Toledo was becoming increasingly important for its lumber industry. Yaquina City slowly began to fade away. By the time World War II broke out in the 1940s, the railroad connecting Yaquina City to Toledo was torn up and the town’s fate was sealed.

You can see what’s left of this true Oregon “ghost town” all along the edge of the bay and within the estuary. The pilings of long-gone piers still poke up from the dark water. Crumbling docks, now overgrown with moss and weeds, provide shelter for birds and all types of marine life. And best of all, the trestles from Col. Hogg’s railroad, now missing their metal rails, still stand in place almost a century and a half later. Make sure you take your camera!

Related Information: Colonel Hogg’s Great Railroad to the Pacific and Other Engineering Disasters

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