Our Coast Magazine 2018:OC18
FORT STEVENS STATE PARK, OREGON ver since this four-masted steel bark ran aground on Clatsop Spit the night of Oct. 26, 1906, it has been drawing onlookers and generations of tourists intent on seeing a shipwreck in the Graveyard of the Pacific. Though captain and crew walked away from the wreck with nary an injury, the years have proven not to have been kind to the Iredale. Of course, decade upon decade of beating tides and ferocious winds have eaten away much of the ship’s former glory, but the position of the Iredale has left it to battle more than just storms. In 1942, it survived bombardment as a Japanese submarine fired wildly at Fort Stevens, missing the ship completely. It would spend the rest of World War II wrapped in barbed wire in case of an invasion. Then in 1960, a Clackamas County man named Cliff Hendricks laid claim to the salvage rights, boasting of an inheritance from his father who bought them up in 1908. As legal shenanigans reached an apex, the shipwreck was put under 24/7 armed guard, which included rotations from many local mayors and leaders of civic and social groups. Eventually the skirmish ended when a record turned up showing that Hendricks’ father had resold the rights some three days after purchasing them, so the younger Hendricks had no claim. And so, the rusty hull of the Peter Iredale is still there, beckoning onlookers as she has for more than 100 years.
The wreck of the Peter Iredale is a popular attraction at Fort Stevens. JOSHUA BESSEX PHOTO
MARITIME MEMORIAL PARK ASTORIA, OREGON
The Maritime Memorial Park serves as a reminder of those lost at sea and on the Columbia River.
king out a living amid the treacherous waters of the Graveyard of the Pacific requires an iron temperament and about 700 pounds of gall. This quaint park located on the Riverwalk in the massive shadow of the looming Astoria-Megler Bridge honors those brave enough to spend their lives testing these unpredictable waterways as well as members of the Coast Guard who lost their lives trying to make passage on the Columbia safe. The park itself is small and has benches and picnic tables from which to take in the breathtaking view. The memorial is composed of individual plaques with an individual’s name, birth date, and the date of their passing, as well as a short designation of how their lives revolved around the maritime industries, such as “Gillnetter” or “Oysterman.” Names denoted with an anchor identify souls lost to sea. Signage in the park also commemorates the Ghadar Party, the radical nationalist movement to free India from British rule. The Ghadar Party’s first meeting took place at the nearby Finnish Socialist Hall in 1913.