Coos Bay Oregon Sir Francis Drake 1879

The city of Coos Bay, located in southern Oregon, is a scenic, seaside community with a governmental emphasis placed on conservation of the natural beauty of the area, and enhancement of the general quality of life in the region. With a population just under 20,000, Coos Bay is the largest coastal community in Oregon, and coupled with the nearby city of North Bend, Coos Bay forms what is known as The Bay Area.

The bay is said to have been visited by sea faring adventurers as far back as 1579, with the protective qualities of the bay forming a link between the Coos River and the Pacific Ocean. The first permanent settlement was established in the mid 1850’s and while heavily reliant upon the sea throughout its history, the city of Coos Bay has continued to prosper and expand since its original founding as Marshfield.

Sir Francis Drake once sought refuge in the Coos Bay, seeking refuge in the protective bay to shield his ship from a storm. Though he visited the future city in 1579, the first permanent structure wasn’t built until 1853. The town was first founded as Marshfield and though heavily dependent upon the sea, the town also contained an iron works. The Nelson Iron Works provided the city with a vital second industry and a prosperous one at that. Known today as Coos Bay Iron Works it  is still in operation  and is one of the oldest in the nation. It wasn’t until 1944 that the name of the city was changed however, by popular consensus the name was switched to Coos Bay rather than the Massachusetts town that the area was originally named after.

Since quite early in its history the city has been split into two districts, known as the Eastside District and the Empire District; the two districts were consolidated by city vote in 1965. Today Coos Bay is becoming more heavily dependent upon tourism as its primary industry. Even the iron works responsible for the city’s early success is now a vital historical attraction. The natural qualities of Coos Bay have also attracted visitors to the city, with a diverse blend of activities taking place such as water sports and seaside activities to ATV riding on sand dunes in the nations largest dune recreational facility.

At 6,000 acres in size, the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is a major tourist site and attracts ATV enthusiasts from all over the country. Most recently the city of Coos Bay was spotlighted when a freighter ran aground on the beach, after which an investigation led to the discovery of human error as the cause. The incident resulted in a minor fuel spill and the subsequent removal of the wreck from the beach.