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July 12 , 2008

Around Florence


Florence, located midway on the Oregon coast, has North America’s largest stretch of dunes to the south and the most photographed headlands on the Pacific coast to the north. Although Florence is on the coast, it is a river town located on a bend of the Siuslaw River. Before the railroad arrived in 1916, the town was cut off and dependent upon ocean-going ships. The Siuslaw did not make it easy because of a notoriously shifting river mouth before the north jetty was built in 1893. Even after the jetty, crossing the bar continued to be treacherous due to shallow depths and fickle winds. Even so, entrepreneurs William Kyle and O.W. Hurd, in trying to outdo each other, developed a thriving town. For decades, fishing and logging were the mainstays. Now, they are tourists, retirees, and the arts. Old Town, where it all began, is a happening place once again.

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