Some things change. Some don’t.

Oct 17, 2013 | 2 comments

1903 Magazine

1903 Magazine

Greg, our Oysterville Storekeeper, has loaned me a copy of a 1903 magazine sent to him by his Aunt Lillian.  It is called The Coast: An Illustrated Magazine of the West and it is the January, 1903 issue – Volume V. Number One.  Pages 27 to 34 concern Pacific County and I was impressed that one of the introductory paragraphs could have almost been written today:

Pacific County, Washington, although among the smaller in area, is large in resources and great in opportunities.  Here we find six distinct avenues open for industrial and commercial activity:  lumbering, fishing, oystering, dairying, cranberry raising and the conducting of sea-side resorts.  Some things don’t change.

What interested me most, of course, was the part about Oysterville.  This is what it says:  (The editorial comments are mine.)

Lighthouse at North Cove

Lighthouse at North Cove, 1903

Oysterville, located near the head of the Peninsula, is a thriving village and was the first county seat of Pacific County.  [Not true.  It was the third county seat, Pacific City and Chinookville being first and second. – SS] I.A. Clark and R.H. Espy who came in 1853 [1854 – SS] are the reputed oldest settlers in the place.  They engaged in the oystering business and named the place Oysterville.  It is called the oldest town in the county, and was laid out in 1877.  John Crellin was the first postmaster here and received his appointment in 1856. [Actually Isaac A. Clark was the first postmaster of Oysterville and received his appointment April 29, 1858,  John Crellin, Jr. was next and was appointed February 14, 1863, — SS]   The Oysterville Oyster Company has just been organized here with M.E. Greenman president; F.A. Greenman, secretary; C.E. Kerlee, treasurer, which has a capital stock of $55,000, and proposes to plant fifteen acres with eastern oyster seed.  The shipping point of Oysterville is Nahcotta.  Again, some things don’t change, as in writers getting the facts straight.

Bay Center Methodist Church

Bay Center Methodist Church

Although the section is liberally sprinkled with illustrations, – lithographs and photographs – there were none of Oysterville.  Several  were of particular interest, though:

The Bay Center Methodist Church – the twin of our Oysterville Church, probably built using the same cookie-cutter plans.  It still exists, but for years has been a private residence and its similarity to our church is hard to make out.

The North Cove Lighthouse – where my great-grandfather holed up for a year in 1859 recovering his strength after a scarlet fever attack.  It is not clear whether he served as lightkeeper during that time.   The Lighthouse, officially called the Cape Shoalwater Lighthouse, no longer exists due to eroding sands and ever-encroaching tides.

Ilwaco Shoreline 1903

Ilwaco Shoreline c. 1903

A view of Fort Canby – and of the Ilwaco shoreline of 110 years ago.

I am so grateful to Greg for sharing (and to Aunt Lilly, too!).  The magazine is a treasure and no doubt I’ll be coming back to it time and time again.  My interest in our past is another thing that doesn’t change.


  1. Stephanie Frieze

    What a wonderful treasure Greg shared with you and you with us! I did not know that there’d been another lighthouse and found that most interesting, especially considering the fact that your great-grandfather removed to there with scarlet fever. Let us hope he just convalesced and had no duties beyond getting well.

  2. Cuzzin Ralph

    In doing genealogy research I first encountered The Coast at Google Books where I found several articles written by my Greatgranduncle David Howard Gwinn in Volumes 8 and 9. My Uncle Howard was a newspaper owner/editor and also even a novelist (I have a copy of his single novel, The Gold of Ophir, pub 1898). While The Coast (aka Wilhelm’s Magazine), edited and published by Honor Lupfer Wilhelm (1870-1957) in Seattle, included mainly articles and photographs about the beautiful Pacific Northwest, it also included humorous stories from different sources (including my uncle). It was published from about 1900 to 1911 as a monthly magazine. After that Mr. Wilhelm evidently went to seminary and finished out his career as Rev. Wilhelm of the Ballard Presbyterian Church—following in the footsteps of his father Rev. Martin Luther Wilhelm of Ohio. While there are a few issues online at Google Books, most of the magazine has been reprinted (two volumes of the magazine per book) for prices ranging from $28-48 per book.


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