Monday, July 20, 2009

Florence's Old Town

We arrived in Florence, Oregon for a six-day stay, and our first stop was the Visitors' Center. (Talk about a creature of habit.)

"I would suggest starting your time in Florence with a walk through Old Town," was the advice we received from the Welcomer at the Center.

So, we started at the east end of Bay Street, which ran along the Siuslaw River. We soon understood how fishing had been one of the major industries of the town's first residents in the late 1800s.

This area, identified as the Port of Siuslaw, is less than five miles from the Pacific Ocean, making access to prime fishing and crabbing grounds for commercial fishing boats very easy.

William Kyle played an important role in two early, major industries in Florence. He owned a salmon cannery and the Florence Lumber Company. His ambitions were unlimited, he dreamed of developing a monopoly in the trade and business of the valley of the Siuslaw River and owned a tug and a three-masted schooner.

However, while his ambitions were great, his capital was not.

The building in the photos above and right was the William Kyle and Sons building. Today it is the Bridgewater Restaurant.

Continuing our walk around Old Town, we came upon the Balcony Gourmet, which carries kitchenware and gifts.

When I took this photo, I was standing near what had been the site of the dock for the Florence-Granada Ferry, which operated from the late 20s to 1936, when the Siuslaw River Bridge was built.

As is apparent in the photos, we were quite taken with the old pilings in the river.

Near the west end of Bay Street, we saw the Waterfront Depot Bar and Restaurant.

From the vacant lot adjacent to the Waterfront, I took this photo of the historic Siuslaw River Bridge. The concrete arch structure was designed Conde B. McCullough. This photo shows one of the two 154-foot concrete bowstring arch spans.

Some of the pilings were in better shape structurally than others. The growth in this piling seemed a beautiful contrast to the aging wood.

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