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Port Orford

A Collection of Historic Photographs
relating to:
Port Orford - Oregon
Orford - New Hampshire
Orford - England

Technical writer Beth Gibson's brief but excellent Historical Summary of Port Orford covers the early days, the Indian conflict, the Gold Rush days, and some little-known WWII facts such as. "On Sept 9, 1942, an I-25 sub, crippled by an A-29 bomber, came creeping in on the ocean floor (of Port Orford's harbor) to spend the night. The ship carried the aircraft that had just dropped bombs on Wheeler Ridge on the Siskiyou National Forest east of Brookings, starting a forest fire...the people of Port Orford weren't told of the incident until 1975."

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Port Orford
Port Orford 1922
1922 Port Orford, Oregon
- Click on above photo to download its full-size, 1000k version

Battle Rock City Park

Battle Rock City Park has been dedicated in memory of the Ancient People (Dene Tust Dah) and the Pioneer founders of this townsite. In 1850, the U.S. Congress passed the Oregon Donation Land Act. This Act allowed white settlers to file claims on Indian land in Western Oregon although no Indians Nations had signed a single treaty. Captain William Tichenor of the Steamship Sea Gull landed nine men on June 9th, 1851, for the purpose of establishing a white settlement. This resulted in deadly conflict between the two cultures. For two weeks the nine were besieged on the island now called Battle Rock. Under cover of darkness, the party escaped north to Umpqua City. In July, Capt.Tichenor again arrived with an well-armed party of seventy men and established the settlement now called Port Orford. Later Tichenor became a permanent resident after his retirement from the sea. (text from sign in Park)

Native Americans and the White Settlers

"The Tututni people lived on and near this site (Battle Rock) thousands of years prior to the arrival of white settlers, and their tribe stretched over the Southern Oregon Coast and lower Rogue River. In 1792, George Vancouver, one of the first Europeans to come into contact with these natives, described them as being curious, mild, and peaceable. Understandably, the Tututni's Quatomah band was not as friendly some years later when Capt. William Tichenor came with muskets and cannons to establish a European settlement right in their village.

In the early 1850s, trappers, miners, and farmers infiltrated the entire length of the Rogue River, and their plows and livestock destroyed the grass seeds, acorns, camas, and other food sources important to the native people. Mining depleted trout and salmon. And, in 1855, as had been done across the continent, US troops forced-marched the natives from their land to a reservation.

About 1,200 people were held at Port Orford in open pens until the steamship Columbia deported them north to the Coast Reservation. The tension this caused mounted and broke into attacks all up and down the Rogue River by both whites and natives, culminating in the 1855-56 Rogue Rivers wars. The last resistors, Chief "John" and his band were marched 125 miles up the coast to the reservation." (text from U.S. Dept. of Transportation: National Scenic Byways Online)

South end of Port Orford showing Knapp Hotel and Battle Rock. 1900-1910
Knapp Hotel

1900-1910
Harbor Drive 1910-1920
Harbor Drive

1910-1920
Lumber Rock on Battle Rock Beach
Lumber Rock

Early Dock Site
South end of Port Orford showing Knapp Hotel and Battle Rock. 1920-1930
Knapp Hotel

1920-1930
Southeast end of Port Orford - 1920-1930
Southeast Port Orford

1920-1930
Congregational Church in Orford New Hampshire
Orford Church

New Hampshire
South end of Port Orford showing Knapp Hotel and Battle Rock. 1940-1950
Knapp Hotel

1940-1950
1950's Highway 101/Oregon Street
1950's Highway 101

Looking SE, Oregon Street to the right
Western States Plywood Cooperative
Western States Plywood Cooperative
1971 Photo

Opened May 1951
Closed Aug 1975
Garrison Lagoon and Agate Beach 1926
Garrision Lagoon and
Agate Beach 1926
Port Orford 1926
Port Orford

Oregon - 1926
Aerial view of Orford, England - UK
Orford England

Aerial View from South
Jolly Sailor Inn
Jolly Sailor Inn
Orford, England -UK
12th Century Orford Castle
Orford Castle

Southeast Approach
12th Century Orford Castle
Orford Castle

South Approach
Aerial view of 12th Century Orford Castle
Orford Castle

Aerial View from North

Tseriadun (Port Orford Heads) History

By R. Scott Byram, Ph.D.
Coquille Indian Tribe Consulting Archaeologist

Tseriadun was a unique Native village on the Oregon coast. Located near a coastal headland, offshore islands and reefs, and a coastal lake that was once an estuary, the village had access to a tremendous variety of resources from the sea and the land. The name Tseriadun comes from the large rocky headland (the Port Orford Heads) that offered protected waters for ocean canoeing during much of the year.

From their homes by the coast, it was only a short hike to mountain hunting camps, and fishing sites along Kusuma (the Elk River), one of the most productive salmon streams on the Oregon coast today.

The people of Tseriadun were wealthy in many ways. They lived in finely made houses built of cedar planks, with smooth clay floors. Like others in southwest Oregon, they made fine stone tools, and they were known for their sea hunting skills. They were expert canoeists, fishers and hunters, and skilled artisans. They used hundreds of native plants for food, medicine, and a variety of other technologies.

The Tseriadun people spoke an Athapaskan dialect, reflecting strong ties to the Tututni and Totowa to the south and the Coquille to the north and east. They often traveled to distant villages for celebrations, trade, gaming and athletic events, and to visit relatives. Storytelling was more than a pastime; it was a way to pass on history and cultural tradition. Women usually married into Tseriadun from other communities at the Rogue or Coquille rivers and beyond, and it was not uncommon for several different dialects to be spoken in one village.

Archaeological evidence shows that the native people lived at Tseriadun for over 5,000 years, and possibly more than 10,000 years. Most of the food remains at archaeological sites in Port Orford are of marine origin, including the bones of whales, sea lions, seals, sea otter, rockfish, salmon, and shellfish, especially mussels.

In 1856 the Tseriadun people were forcibly removed from their homelands by the U.S. military, and relocated at the Coast Reservation (later called Siletz Reservation). Many of their descendants live at Siletz today. Other descendants trace their ancestry to those who moved back to the southern Oregon coast after the government closed portions of the Coast Reservation in the 1870s.

Alan & Brenda Mitchell

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Updated: October 16, 2011