Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Daddy Train Comes to Gearhart, Oregon

Gearhart, Oregon beach
Gearhart, OR beach
Janet Chester Bly

As waves rolled in, they watched an empty sea for ships on the horizon. Peace and quiet faded to long days of tense waiting for supplies that never came. The 1805-1806 Lewis and Clark Expedition now made plans to winter on the Oregon coast. In the spring, they tackled the long journey home by land.

One hundred years later, fiction character, Stuart Brannon, lingered nearby the same spot along Gearhart, Oregon beach. Lost in the mesmerizing waves as though he also expected his ship to appear, he pondered the end of the Old West and trying to cope with New West ways.

His friend, Lord Edwin Fletcher, remarked: “I’ll bet you wish you were back there with them.”

Brannon, an old Arizona rancher of fifty-eight, out of his element wearing suit, tie, hat and boots, had to agree. "I'm not ready for auto cars and telephones and moving pictures." He raised a leather case. "I'm not even sure about this new-fangled take-down Winchester rifle."

Coastal towns such as Gearhart, Oregon owed its existence and well-being to adventurers like Lewis and
Gearhart, OR early 1900s family vacation
Family finds leisure at Gearhart
Clark, and fighters for law and justice such as Brannon, as well as good times for Portland citizens who spent a lot of cash there at the close of the nineteenth century.

State sponsored tourism followed this new wealth. Portland celebrated the 1905 centennial of Lewis and Clark arriving at the Pacific, the end of their cross-country journey.  

All this cash made a broader sponsorship of people willing to invest in the interesting idea of leisure time. The Oregon coast provided many places of leisure for sale.

Just about all resorts at the turn of the century were destination resorts, so a hotel was an important necessity. The first hotel in Gearhart was built in 1890 and stood just off the town's main streets.

A second hotel, far grander, rose about a mile away and closer to the ocean in 1910.  By 1915, both had burned to the ground. In 1923, a new hotel emerged. It was demolished in 1973 to make way for a concrete hulk for tourists Gearhart residents called Attica.

Gearhart, OR Daddy Train
The Daddy Train, Gearhart, OR
Many families spent the full summer in the early Gearhart days. Women and children stayed for weeks at a time and the men came back from Portland over the weekends. This novel new way of living was made possible by a world moving fast enough to make more people mobile. For five bucks and over five hours, a train arrived at the Gearhart Park Station, in the center of a recent clear cut. It got nicknamed the Daddy Train.

A boardwalk near the station led to the hotels, the beach, the boarding houses, the campgrounds or to the homes along Ocean Avenue, known as Gin Ridge. In the 1920s, there were about 120 permanent residents, swelling to 1000 or so during the summer.

Vacationers and residents then and now take on the challenge of clamming for the delicious razor clam. Click
Gearhart, Oregon Razor Clam Chowder
Razor Clam Chowder
here for a razor clam recipe:

The Gearhart Golf Course is a true links course that rolls and dips among mounds of grass-covered dunes. A breezy adventure, the ocean remains out of sight, although it can be heard and felt. Throughout the course, narrow ridges and other topographical features carom balls every which way.

Gearhart and nearby towns are perfect for beach walks and gallery browsing. A scenic stretch of coast tucked between crashing surf and Pacific forests, that portrays a number of Lewis and Clark historic sites.

This community is located in Clatsop County, south of Astoria, between Warrenton and Seaside along Highway 101. Gearhart is also positioned near the Lewis & Clark River while overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Janet Chester Bly
 Janet Chester Bly is the widow of Christy Award winning western author Stephen Bly. She has written and co-written with Stephen thirty-one fiction and nonfiction books, including Stuart Brannon's Final Shot. Janet and her three sons finished this last novel of Stephen's for him, which was a Selah Award Finalist. Janet is working on a new novel series and nonfiction releases.
Click here for the story of the Bly family writing project:

For more info about Janet and her books, click:

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Stuart Brannon's Final Shot
Stephen Bly with Janet Chester Bly, Russell Bly, Michael Bly, and Aaron Bly

In 1905, two orphans flee from Oregon's Tillamook Head. One is branded a hero. Will they tell the truth and
Stuart Brannon's Final Shot
risk the wrath of a dangerous man?

Meanwhile, legendary lawman Stuart Brannon searches for a missing U.S. Marshal at the request of President Teddy Roosevelt. That means leaving his beloved Arizona Territory to attend the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in Portland. He also grapples with the game of golf on behalf of a Gearhart, Oregon celebrity tournament sponsored by his friend, Lady Harriet Reed-Fletcher.

Find Stuart Brannon's Final Shot here:



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