It’s amusing really that Long Beach, Washington gets the lion’s share of recognition and is the most well-known town on the entire Long Beach Peninsula, when in fact it came a ways after a few of the other settlements. However, much like Ilwaco, and Seaview, and even McGowan and Megler, Long Beach became a very popular place for tourists to visit. The story of the peninsula actually begins with the Chinook Indians, who had learned the art of trading and were thus a little more well-equipped on how to deal with European traders that might have robbed them blind. But since pelts weren’t a big thing on the peninsula they traded other commodities that attracted people and made each side prosperous. Cranberries were one such product as the wilder versions of that day were highly prized and fetched a fairly good price.
Eventually however the Chinook would cede their lands to farmers claiming homesteads, but would as history shows get stiffed more than once as they had to move onto other reservations or petition to be recognized as landowners. This is one harsh lesson that history doesn’t often teach enough, and it is a rather dark mark in the history of the peninsula.
Moving forward though the town of Long Beach would eventually begin to form as it’s founder, Henry Tinker, moved to a tract of land just north of Seaview and began to plot a tourist destination that would eventually end up drawing a great deal of people to this beautiful and undeveloped site. In 1880 he obtained a land claim from Charles E. Reed and began to work on his dream, which was initially labeled Tinkerville, or Tinkertown depending on who you talk to. By 1922, when the town had already experienced a massive amount of growth, the town’s name had been officially changed to Long Beach.
Tinkerville started out very humbly and grew with increasing speed.
In 1883 the Tinker’s built a hotel and several cottages on their land. Many would follow suit and do the same as the town swiftly grew in size to accommodate hundreds of cottages. By about 1885 around 5,000 tourists were visiting the peninsula on an annual basis, looking to see this new town that had flourished in such a short time.
The coming of the railroad.
The Northern Pacific Railway ran from Megler all the way to Nahcotta on the north end and was one of the main sources of transportation on the peninsula, ferrying people north and south as they wished. Even now if you look at the old pictures you can see how it ran through the heart of the land and afforded people every chance to climb on wherever the train deigned to stop. Some even bothered to nickname the train as the Never-Get-There Railroad since the train would stop for just about anything, whether it was because someone lost something out the window or there was a stray horse to corral. In any case the railroad serviced the peninsula up until 1930, after the advent of the automobile and the coming of paved roads. By 1931 the tracks had been ripped up and the whole lot had been sold off for scrap metal, thereby marking the passing of an era on the peninsula.
The peninsula as it is now.
Throughout the years the Long Beach Peninsula has undergone a lot of changes, not the least of which has been the number of businesses, the number of people, and of course anything and everything that’s been in keeping with the trends of the world that lies further inland. On the peninsula life moves just about as quick as it does anywhere else, but during tourist season is when this is most evident. Otherwise in the late autumn all the way to early spring it becomes a sleep little town that runs well enough to get along, but is constantly waiting for its stock and trade, tourism, to start up again each year.
As a tourist attraction it’s managed to draw thousands upon thousands of people to its shores throughout the years for various events, festivals, and holidays. But as a home and a place of refuge to those looking to kick back and enjoy its more subtle charms, it’s been nothing short of heaven.