A Brief History of Extant Buildings in Old Town, The Original Port Orford Business District.
“In 1852, Oregon land claims officials, checking on Port Orford, reported that the town had about 60 buildings: one sawmill, three hotels, eight stores, two saloons, one ball alley (bowling), one mine, and 14 structures in a U.S. garrison (Fort Orford). An 1854 visitor described the
town as “lively … with about 1,000 inhabitants.” He reported many stores, hotels, and saloons and much business done by miners.”
“A forest fire destroyed the town in 1868, leaving only the Tichenor house, the stables of the Knapp Hotel, and one or two other buildings. Determined people stayed, and others came. Louis Knapp constructed a new hotel in the early 1880s. Some mines continued to operate. Logging and saw milling continued, and shipments were made by sea.”
“Settlers often had more than one source of income, such as a farm and a store or a gold mine. They might work part of the year in the logging industry or fishing. This pattern has persisted through the years. Even today, locals seek employment in Coos County.”
…[during the decade between World War I and the economic crash of 1929]. Port Orford was growing slowly, always dealing with its relative isolation from population centers, fluctuations in timber and gold markets, difficulties of maintaining facilities in the harbor, and the daily work of living in a beautiful area where warm, sunny days alternated with rainy days and brutal storms. Residents found ways to stage events and have fun as well. Conveniences were gradually added to make life easier: the automobile, telephone, and electricity. Automobiles were seen more often in Curry County after World War I ended in 1918. Major influences on the south coast, as elsewhere, were the dark days of the war, followed by the influenza epidemic, and the Roaring Twenties.Text: Shirley Nelson. “Port Orford and North Curry County.” — PHOTO ILLUSTRATIONS and additional research: REBECCA MALAMUD-EVANS