72 Hours in Cannon Beach
Ocean spray the local way
April 1 2012By Thomas Howison
In 1894, mail carrier George Luce rounded up his neighbors and a couple of horses, and pulled from the sea what would become the namesake for present day Cannon Beach. They dragged the cannon to what was the post office in Arch Cape, five miles south of presentday Cannon Beach.
The smooth bore cast iron cannon was a design made by the Scottish for the British Royal Navy, though this one was aboard the ill-fated U.S.S. Shark. She was a topsail schooner that had already lived a full life at sea, but in the turbulent toss of the Columbia River Bar to the north, she broke apart.
Discoveries such as this relic weren’t uncommon in early America, but they were in 2008, when a father and daughter came across two rocks with rust on them just south of Cannon Beach. As if reaffirming the legacy, those rocks were cannons, both likely from the U.S.S. Shark.
Present day Cannon Beach is still a place of miraculous finds. From top to bottom, the coastal town of 1,700 is a studio for artists, a rolling pin for bakers, a seaside redoubt for Oregonians and a star in the seafood culinary scene. Every June, sand architects come out to create a massive display of sand sculptures that take the shape of Oregon icons such as the Timberline Lodge or gigantic sprawling squids. For culture and leisure on the Oregon Coast, there is nothing comparable.