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Destination:
Florence, Oregon

A Rich Pioneer History

photo of bridge in Florence, Oregon
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Introduction

As the rest of the New World, Florence was originally inhabited by the Siuslaw Indians, whose name to this day is shared by the mighty river that flows through the country where these Native Americans once lived. Europeans first began traversing this region during the Golden Age of Exploration, when Spanish galleons sailed off the coast, charting the territory. Years later, on his northwest voyage, the famous English seaman Captain Cook explored the Oregon coastline, giving names to many present landmarks, such as Cape Foulweather.

In the second half of the 19th century, Anglo-Americans permanently settled the area that would become Florence. This rugged frontier community depended on the logging and fishing trades for its economic survival. The town hit a landmark population of 300 in the year 1900, a year when it was proud to boast a lumber mill, two general stores, two canneries, a saloon, and a weekly newspaper.

One of the town's most complete mercantile stores, located in the Kyle Building, was built in 1901. Bulk goods, farm tools, hats, boots, and other items were sold here, providing residents necessities for life in what was a remote part of the state. The town's vital link across the Siuslaw River was provided by ferry boats until 1936, when the picturesque Siuslaw River Bridge was completed. The ferries were soon made obsolete, overtaken by the growth of the automobile.

Today the town's legacy is still going strong and its history is well-preserved. Historic buildings line the narrow streets and picturesque waterfront of Old Town Florence. The Kyle Building can still be found along Bay Street, where it now represents a perfect example of early Central Coast commercial architecture. There are even a few remnants of the old Siuslaw ferry service on the south side of the river. Finally, there are a number of historic lighthouses left along the Oregon coast, including the one located at Heceta Head, 12 miles north of Florence. The Heceta Lighthouse stands out as one of the most-photographed lighthouses in the nation.

Spend some time in Florence and the surrounding area and get to know some of its living history. Explore the old buildings, streets, and docks. And spend time in the antique shops, which offer local treasures from times gone by. No matter what, any history lover or antique collector will love the treasures and stories to be found in Florence.

Chamber of Commerce Visitor's Center
270 Hwy 101, Florence, Oregon 97439
(541) 997-3128 ....... Email

Lodging ... Location & Seasons ... Restaurants ... Shops & Galleries ... Recreation
Fishing ... Wildlife ... Calendar ... Community Events ... History ... Introduction

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