West Yaquina Sitka Spruce
Posted on: April 24th, 2023 in Heritage Tree Details |
Height: 158 ft
Circumference: 22.4 ft
Crown Spread: 90 ft
Approximate Age: 200 ft
The West Yaquina Sitka spruce stands at the end of Water Street in the former township of West Yaquina. Colonel T. Egenton Hogg, a San Francisco entrepreneur, had a vision to build tracks from Corvallis to the coast, making a transcontinental railroad. In 1882, Yaquina City was founded as the terminus for Hogg’s railroad. In 1884, West Yaquina was incorporated on the peninsula directly across the bay from Yaquina City, promising future home sites for wealthy investors in Hogg’s railroad – a Martha’s Vineyard of the west. New homes and a school were built. A ferry service ran between Yaquina City, West Yaquina, and Newport. In 1888, 144 ships entered Yaquina Bay annually. But the prosperity didn’t last. By the mid-1890s the boom days were over. After two of Hogg’s major ships sank, he was bankrupted, and the ownership of his railroad passed to Southern Pacific Company. By World War II the terminus of the rail line moved to Toledo and the tracks to Yaquina City were removed.
Today Yaquina City is known locally as Sawyer’s Landing, and the site that was West Yaquina is now part of the Yakona Nature Preserve & Learning Center. Few remnants of the ghost town remain, but two 30 ft wells serve as archaeological evidence of what was once here. The West Yaquina Sitka spruce connects us to the boom and bust of Oregon’s coastal shipping industry, honoring a broad patterns of Oregon history. It is also a focal point of tours at Yakona Nature Preserve.
The West Yaquina Sitka spruce can be accessed at the end of SE 40th/ Harborton Road in Newport, Oregon by hiking 2.4 miles past the locked gate or arranging a private tour by contacting staff through the website: www.yakonaoregon.org/contact. Private tours are free and part of the Preserve’s mission.