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Come on in and browse. Admission is free, whether you're visiting online or in person, and we're always happy to see you! Learn more about our community, and the events and people that helped make Waldport such a wonderful place to live.


Photo of Alvin McCleary, courtesy of Lincoln County Historical Society. In Alvin's words, "I was born in San Francisco on July 19, 1868. My father, Robert McCleary, and his wife Adelin, my mother, both came from the West Indies. My mother died when I was one year old and seven months and my father sent me to board with a couple in San Francisco. As I played in the yard in front of a widow, Maria Cooper, she used to stop on her way to work in a switch factory and play with me and give me an apple, an orange, or a piece of cake. She had lost her own little boy when he was six months old, and we became very much attached to each other. Soon she stopped to visit the people where I was living and asked about me. Obtaining my father's address, she secured from him his consent to have her legally adopt me. This was done and for a while I bore her name but when she remarried I took back my father's name.

While I was living with her she often received visits from a colored man named Lew Southworth who had bought his freedom. At that time he was living in Buena Vista, Polk county. Their friendship culminated in marriage in June 1874, the ceremony taking place in Salem. In 1879, Lew made a trip up the Alsea River with Jim Doty, father of Lee Doty who now lives in Waldport, and they decided to homestead. After traveling up and down the river they selected some land lying on both sides of a creek. Jim Doty, who had brought Lew, offered his companion first choice of the land. Lew refused and then Jim selected the north side of the creek and Lew took the south side, which he said he preferred anyway as being on slightly higher ground. Then and there they homesteaded. The creek still bears the name of "Darkey Creek", in memory of Lew. A year later, in 1880, Lew brought his wife and me and we settled on the land. That is how I happened to come to this part of the world."

In the fall of 1886, Mr. McCleary left home to work for himself. He got as far as Yaquina City on the Yaquina Bay and slaughtered cattle, hogs and sheep for Peter Rader. From there he went to Ashland, Oregon, and spent the winter in southern Oregon, then coming back to Albany as cook in the Russ Hotel, returning to Alsea Bay in June. In the fall of 1887, Mr. McCleary gillnet fished for a cannery built by Nice & Poliheamus and butchered cattle for J.T. Porter who ran a meat market in Newport. He continued fishing and cattle business till 1920 when he sold out and took up his present business in the Wakefield Hotel in Waldport.

December 6, 1951 a funeral was held at the Waldport Mortuary for Alvin after dying at a Corvallis hospital. Following his wishes, as expressed in a paper he left with Mr. and Mrs. Starr, Alvin was buried in a space long reserved for him in the Wakefield plot at the Alder Grove Cemetery on Eckman Creek. The burial remains unmarked. Waldport Heritage Museum - CRN (Click here for previous Snippits)


Settlement of Waldport began in 1879 when David Ruble bought squatter's rights from Lint Starr for $300 for property including the area now known as "Old Town". The first post office was established and the town was named Waldport in 1882, with David Ruble as the first postmaster. In 1885 the town was platted, and the plat recorded on September 9, 1885. In 1889 Mill Street had 3 houses, a store, and the Harrison sawmill. By 1911, when Waldport was incorporated, it boasted a dozen businesses and 150 inhabitants....(click to read more)


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