What's in a name? Well, here in Coos Bay our history and community pride runs deep, and our name is one part of it. From Native inhabitants to the present day, here's a history of our favorite town on the Bay.
As the largest city on the Oregon Coast – as of the 2010 census, we're 15,967 residents strong – Coos Bay perches scenically where the Coos River enters Coos Bay and streams towards the Pacific Ocean.
The Coos, Lower Umpqua, Siuslaw and Coquille tribes were the original inhabitants of the area for thousands of years before European settlers arrived. Abundant natural resources of the rivers, estuaries, forests, rivers and ocean supported a bountiful life of fishing, hunting and gathering. The first Spanish and British explorers approached the area approximately 400 years ago searching for safe harbor, fur resources and an inland passage for the Hudson's Bay Company.
Since the first permanent settlement was established here in 1853, our little slice of heaven on the shoreline has become a thriving community. Founded by members of the Coos Bay Company from Jacksonville, Oregon during the regional gold rush, the first church was built in 1857, the Cape Arago lighthouse in 1866 and post office in 1871. Coos Bay was officially established as a commercial and residential district of import. In fact, one of the nation's oldest machine shops - the Coos Bay Iron Works – stands intact (though now shuttered) with original Victorian-era machinery.
The turning point for Coos Bay came in 1916, when the first completed rail line linked our hamlet to neighboring communities and expanded both tourism and commerce. Since then we've been a destination welcoming all to explore. Ocean-gazers and business-folk alike enjoy modern amenities alongside our magnificent natural resources. We sure pack a lot into our 15-square miles: wander through the historic downtown business district, savor exhibits at the Coos Bay Art Museum and the Coos History Museum, the Egyptian Theatre (with its functional 1925 Wurlitzer organ), and abundant parks, natural areas and coastline. At the end of your day of exploring, relax and recharge with us at the Quality Inn & Suites Coos Bay while enjoying our pool, hot tub, and complimentary hot breakfast.