Beyond the door located on the ground floor of the Pine Grove Community Center in Manzanita, the Nehalem Valley Historical Society (NVHS) offers a fascinating tour through centuries of our local stories. Exhibits share the history of the lives of native people, ancient ship explorations, homesteading, and the beginnings of the timber, fishing, farming and tourism industries, as well as the development of state parks.
The exhibits are the result of years of hard work by Tom Campbell, executive director of NVHS, Mark Beach, local historian, and a corps of dedicated NVHS volunteers.
“It’s important to share these stories of this area, and to preserve them for future generations of researchers, students and historians,” said Campbell.
One way NVHS is preserving historical records is through a digitization project, which will be available online. The first set of archives that have been scanned and uploaded can be found at nehalemvalleyhistory.org under the “Explore” tab.
“Our board member and archivist, Steven Gibson, offered a $4000 match to donations from our members,” said Campbell. “Not only did the community match that, but we also received two, $2000 grants, one from the Autzen Foundation and another from the Tillamook County Cultural Coalition. This will provide the funds for a major portion of the total digitization project.”
Visitors from all over the United States and many countries walk through the door each year, with many donating or becoming members. Closed during the worst years of Covid, the historical society has revived and regrouped. Since then, membership has doubled to more than 200, much of that because of the programs sponsored by NVHS.
Since November 2022, NVHS has sponsored several popular speaker series: “Shiver Me Timbers,” about the discovery of remnants of an ancient Spanish galleon shipwreck; six Nehalem Valley history sessions led by Mark Beach; “No Treaties for the North Coast,” presented by Dr. David Lewis of Oregon State University; and “Carrying Mail for the North Coast,” a documentary film about Mary Gerritse, developed by Liz Cole, Mark Beach and Carl Vandervoort. And on Memorial Day, May 29, NVHS hosted a ceremony honoring veterans, families and community leaders at the Nehalem American Legion Cemetery.
The speaker series isn’t over yet. On June 21 at 5:30 pm, NVHS, along with the Elakha Alliance, Tillamook County Pioneer Museum and Pelican Brewing, will sponsor a program about saving Oregon’s sea otters.
For thousands of years, sea otters were an important part of the ecology of the Oregon coast and culture of the many peoples who lived here. But Oregon’s sea otters disappeared in a flash of destruction, driven by demand for their lush pelts. The commercial trade began in the 1700s, and by the late 19th century, sea otters were wiped out across much of the Pacific Rim.Translocations from the Aleutian islands in 1970-71 briefly brought otters back to Oregon, but for reasons still not fully understood, the translocations failed.
This presentation by the Elakha Alliance will share the ongoing efforts to restore sea otter populations along the Oregon Coast. Pelican Brewing will be serving their locally brewed beer. Co-sponsored by Tillamook County Pioneer Museum and Nehalem Valley Historical Society.
Attendance is free; please register at: https://www.elakhaalliance.org/restoring-oregons-sea-otter-population-6-21-23-nehalem-or/
Then on July 8, NVHS welcomes Dr. Brian Atwater, geologist and author of “The Orphan Tsunami of 1700,” will present the research on earthquakes and tsunamis in the Cascadia zone.
NVHS is located at 225 Laneda Avenue in Manzanita and is open to the public on Saturdays from 1-4pm. There is always a docent to greet you. Private tours can also be arranged; email email@example.com