Florence in Lane County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)
Navigating the Siuslaw River
The connection to the Pacific Ocean by way of the Siuslaw River made Florence a natural hub for industry. The shifting river channel and mouth made early navigation unpredictable. The lack of stable conditions made establishing a thriving harbor difficult for early settlers.
Transporting goods up and down the Siuslaw River was aided by the construction of the North and South Jetties. Assembly of the jetties began in the early 1890s with the assistance of the Army Corps of Engineers and federal funding. As funding resources were exhausted, little work was done on the jetties in the following years. The formation of the Port District in 1909 revitalized the efforts to make navigational improvements to the Siuslaw River with the aid of the River and Harbor Bill of 1910. With community support, the harbor was improved and the jetties were completed in 1917.
The first cargo ship to cross the bar at the Siuslaw River was the S.S. Alexander Duncan in 1877 traveling up river to the Duncan Cannery where it delivered machinery, livestock, plants, supplies, and the Duncan family organ. In the following years, several ships began
The Siuslaw River was the main mode of transportation in the Siuslaw Valley as settlement was established. Ferry travel was used to travel across the River between Florence and Glenada. The ferry traveled diagonally across the Siuslaw River, and the old landings can still be seen on either side of the river.
As the Oregon Coast Highway System developed, ferry travel increased drastically. The ferries could not keep up with the increase in traffic. In their 1934-35 Biennial Report, the Oregon State Highway Commission called the ferry system along the Oregon coast a "barrier to the growth and development of the Oregon coast region."
The first ferry on the Siuslaw River began in 1885 and was operated by ex-Norwegian Sea Captain Harry Olson. Transferred from service on Coos Bay in 1929, the Tourist I replaced the previous vessel as the Florence-Glenada Ferry. It operated on the Siuslaw River until the Siuslaw River Bridge was completed in 1936.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Bridges & Viaducts • Industry & Commerce • Waterways & Vessels.
Location. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1220 Bay Street, Florence OR 97439, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Florence: Industrial Beginnings (a few steps from this marker); Siuslaw River Bridge: Construction & Design (within shouting distance of this marker); Welcome to Historic Old Town (within shouting distance of this marker); Siuslaw River Bridge (within shouting distance of this marker); Mapleton Depot (within shouting distance of this marker); Harbor Theater (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Technology Spans (approx. 11.6 miles away); Heceta Head Lightstation (approx. 11.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Florence.
More about this marker. The marker is relatively new and in excellent condition.
Also see . . . Historic Old Town Florence. Eugene, Cascades & Coast website entry (Submitted on April 10, 2021, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.)
Credits. This page was last revised on April 10, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 15, 2016, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 198 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on April 15, 2016, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 2. submitted on April 23, 2016, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on April 15, 2016, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.