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The Graveyard of the Pacific: The Bones of the Peter Iredale (Hammond, Oregon)

Posted by Jody on October 31, 2011

Trick or Treat? Actually, here’s the perfect Halloween treat for beachcombers!

Lewis and Clark National Park is made up of 12 separate park sites located in about a 40-mile stretch of the Northwest Pacific coast from Long Beach, Washington to Cannon Beach, Oregon. Historic Fort Stevens State Park, which is part of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Park, is located just 10 miles west of the Astoria, Oregon (The “Little San Francisco of the Pacific Northwest”). This area is just a portion of the Washington-Oregon coast known as the “Graveyard of the Pacific” due to the treacherous rugged coastline and unpredictable weather which have together resulted in thousands of shipwrecks over the years.  The sandy beach at Fort Stevens State Park is particularly exciting due to the bones of the British ship, the Peter Iredale, which have been resting on the sands since 1906! How cool is that?

Peter Iredale (Photo by Robert Bradshaw/Wikimedia Commons)

Fort Stevens State Park “includes almost 4,000 acres, featuring year-round camping facilities, miles of ocean and river beach, horseback, hiking and biking trails, fishing and swimming lakes, shipwrecks, and sweeping views of Astoria, Youngs Bay, Southwest Washington and the Columbia River mouth. A replica of a Clatsop Indian long house is located on the grounds of Fort Stevens Historical Site. The park also offers a military interpretive museum, the only enclosed Civil War earthworks site on the West Coast, and, in fall, Civil War battle re-enactments.” (NPS.gov) Who could ask for anything more?

To read a brief but very interesting  history of the final voyage (and demise) of the Peter Iredale and  the transcript issued in London by the Board of Trade on the 24th of December 1906, see the  Finding and order of a Naval Court. It’s a great read! The good news: the entire crew was rescued due to the “prompt action of the United States life-saving crew at Hammond in having the lifeboat alongside in heavy surf.”

Happy Halloween from The Graveyard of the Pacific!

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