Coos Bay and North Bend
 The Present

        In June 1995 Ed and I spent part of our vacation in Oregon searching for Jepsons.  We spent several days in North Bend and exploring the Coos Bay region.  The only trace of Peter Jepson or his family we found at North Bend was in the 1870 Federal Census.  There were no other written records.  Peter did not marry there.  No one in his family died there so there are no cemetery records.  Although four children were born in North Bend, birth certificates were not required yet.  It was a company town so Peter did not purchase property.  Much of our time, then, was spent in just getting a feel for the area and trying to see what he and his family saw when they lived there. 

         Considering the fact that Peter went there to work in a sawmill and that lumber is still an important industry in Oregon, we were not surprised to look out our motel room window in North Bend that first afternoon when we arrived to see this:

Add a shot to the left and right, combine them all, and this was the whole scene:

We saw piles of logs several other places along the shores of the bay. 

        With the restrictions on cutting virgin forests, the lumber and sawmill industries have dwindled to form only a small part of the North Bend’s current economy.  In fact, a huge building by the wharf which had been used to store lumber for shipping had closed and then reopened by local Indian tribes as a gambling casino.  When we were searching the records in the local LDS library several people were there trying to find Indian ancestors so they could claim a share of the casino profits.  If they could prove they were at least 1/12 Indian they qualified.


        At the mouth of the bay we saw jagged rocks where seals like to rest in the evenings.  But there weren’t any at the time this picture was taken.

Here was another view of the coastline at the mouth of the bay.

Ocean sunsets are almost as beautiful as Nebraska sunsets

Looking across to the south we could see the bar that goes across the mouth of the bay.  That "bump" on the right is the lighthouse at Cape Arago.


      Here is a closer look at that

        And here is another view taken by a much better   

        In our search to find a spot where we could take a picture like the one of North Bend back in the days when the Peter Jepson family lived there, we went across the bay.  This was one view we found from a street above the shoreline.  The area is all residential now, something I’m sure Peter would never have imagined would happen.



But the skyline does not look quite right.

Maybe this was it....

but there are no buildings here.

This is North Bend but we were a little higher up when we took this picture than the photo- grapher of that old one.

We did find the North Bend Airport. 

        The tide was out at the time we were taking pictures of North Bend from across the bay.  We saw these stubs of wood posts in the mud flat and wondered what they were.  An elderly resident of the area told us that back before the bridge was built one could cross the bay on the ferry.  Those stubs of wood are the remains of pilings of the old pier where the ferry would dock.


 Now, of course, there is a bridge across the bay.  It was designed and built in the 1930’s and is a wonderful example of art deco architecture. It is one of a very few remaining of this style in Oregon.  The bridge is on the National Register and is well preserved.   The first view here is of the bridge as we saw it from the shore.  The second was taken as we started to cross it on our return to North Bend.

        Since the lumber industry is so depressed, North Bend citizens have looked for other sources of income.  One is the raising of oysters commercially.  Oyster beds can be found in shallow reaches of the bay.  They are marked by tall white sticks.

With the sun shining on the water, it was not always easy to see the sticks marking the oyster beds.

Digging for clams,  however,  is probably more

of a personal hobby than a commercial venture.

       The description of Coos Bay in the early days tells of the Blue Mountains which surround the bay to the north and east and appear to come down to the water's edge.  It is, indeed, a beautiful view.