Journey Into the Past
Every story has to start somewhere, and for Lincoln City that place is the North Lincoln County Historical Museum. Wander through the past and learn about Lincoln City’s quirky history.
Located in the Taft District of Lincoln City, the North Lincoln County Historical Museum holds the key to the doors of history. Occupying a small, unassuming cedar shake building, the Museum draws you in with their window display of antique Japanese glass floats. Glowing in the morning light, these gorgeous glass floats gleam and twinkle in their carefully polished display case.
Upon walking into the museum, you’ll be greeted by a friendly docent, who will encourage you to sign their guest book. With admission being complimentary, the museum relies solely on donations from the public to keep their doors open. After dropping a donation in their box, the Lincoln City story begins in the downstairs gallery. Explore displays of fossils, early artifacts, Native American baskets and beadwork, and other elements of our history leading up to the township in the 1920s.
Making your way to back wall of the downstairs gallery, the collection of glass floats beckons you closer. Donated by collector Jim Watson, this display includes many examples of the floats produced in Japan for their fishing industry. In days gone by, these floats have used the hold the fishing nets aloft in the water. Occasionally, the floats would snag off the netting and make their slow journey west, where they would wash up on Oregon’s shores. Lucky beachcombers would find these rare baubles and take them home as a keepsake. This became the inspiration for Lincoln City’s popular Finders Keepers program.
“We get quite a few requests to identify antique floats,” says Jeff Syrop, Museum Director. “We just installed a new display for a collection of floats donated by Nick Simpson. We helped him identify the floats and then he graciously donated them to us. It’s a very nice collection.”
The upstairs gallery celebrates the age of the automobile and early tourism, as the Salmon River and Oregon Coast highways came through in the 20s and on to 1965, when Lincoln City was incorporated. The communities of Taft, Oceanlake, DeLake, Cutler City and Nelscott banded together in 1965 to create one town, which would eventually be called Lincoln City. Experience the history of each town and marvel at the brilliantly preserved photos of the region. Make your way down the “Twenty Miracle Miles” and look at the displays of roadside attractions that once were, like the Redhead Roundup and the Pixie Kitchen and Pixieland.
Each gallery includes a changing display area so that every time you visit there is something new to see. Another new thing to see includes a “Pocket Art Gallery,” which occupies the office of previous long-time Director, Anne Hall.
“We are going to hold a ceremony to name the gallery after her,” says Syrop. “She did a lot for the museum. This is our way of honoring her work.”
Syrop, who was previously the Curator for the Lincoln County Museum, has been hard at work installing new displays and artifacts donated to the museum. “We have thousands of artifacts in storage,” infers Syrop. “It’s nice to rotate them out so that people get a chance to see them. For instance, we just got an "Indestructo" suitcase donated that was supposed to belong to F.E. Cutler, one of the founders of Cutler City.”
Other new, unexpected things to discover include a Kids Library and a new miniature movie theatre. “We got some chairs donated from the original Lincoln Theater here in Taft,” says Syrop. “My plan is to put some displays on the wall telling the story of the theater.”
Wandering through the museum, one can’t help but get a sense of a time long ago, nearly lost in memory. “Every artifact tells a story,” proclaims Syrop. ”We invite people to come out and hear those stories through the displays.”
To learn more about events and happenings at the Museum, including their upcoming Craft Bazaar, visit their website or call 541-996-6614.