Blasted to Bits: The End of Grandmother Rock

Category: Exploring Nature Item

Back to Bandon and Vicinity

GPS Coordinates: 43.114471, -124.434257

For the Coquille Indians, many of the geologic features in and around the river had special significance. None more so than the humped outcrop of metamorphic rock called Blueschist which once sat on the south edge of the river. This unique landform is referred to as Sae-Tsik-Na (“Grandmother Rock”) after an ancient legend about a grandmother and granddaughter who were turned to stone for violating tribal taboos.

In the early twentieth century, when Bandon began to grow in importance as both a commercial hub and tourist destination, raw stone was needed to build jetties at the mouth of the river to make it safer for navigation (pictured above). Rather than hauling in rock from other destinations, engineers blasted apart Sae-Tsik-Na with dynamite and dumped the pieces offshore to help create the jetties. This was done despite the protests of the Coquille Indians to preserve this important landmark. Sadly, nothing remains of the sacred rock and the site where it once stood is now buried under modern Bandon.

What happened to the “Grandmother Rock” stands out not only as an example of how humans have transformed the coast, but how different cultures viewed the resources of the area.

Related information: Landmark Places: Turned to Stone