History of Ocean Shores

Every town starts somewhere:

The City of Ocean Shores occupies the Point Brown peninsula on the Washington coast. Long before the arrival of European explorers and settlers, the peninsula was used by the various local tribes for trading and other purposes. The Chinook, Chehalis, and Quinault Tribes used the area, as well as others that now make up the Quinault Indian Nation.

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* 1792 – Captain Robert Gray in the ship “Columbia” anchors in Grays Harbor on May 7th.

On May 7, 1792 Captain Robert Gray sailed into the bay and named the area Bullfinch Harbor. Later, Captain George Vancouver renamed the area after Captain Gray, now called Gray’s Harbor.

* 1860 – Matthew McGee – the original homesteader.

The First white established settler on the Point was Matthew McGee, who settled in the early 1860s.

* 1878 – A.O. Damon acquires the southern tip and settles here.

Matthew Mcgee sold the southern portion of the peninsula to A.O. Damon in 1878 for a trading supply center whose dock extended into the Oyehut channel.

* 1929 – Ralph Minard, his wife Ruth and his sister Clara takeover their grandfather Damon’s cattle ranch.

A.O. Damon took over the entire peninsula from McGee with the land passed along to his grandchildren, Ralph Minard, his wife, and his sister Clara Minard, used the area as a cattle ranch from 1929 until they sold to the Ocean Shores Development Corporation in 1960 for $1,000,000.
* 1930s – During an economic depression, several families of “squatters” built camps in what is now the middle of Ocean Shores.At the time the Washington State legislature was considering legalizing some forms of gambling. In expectation of a huge casino development, the Ocean Shores Development Corporation opened their sale of lots in a travel trailer parked in the dunes.

* 1941-42 – The North Jetty was built by the Army Corps of Engineers.


* 1960
– A group of investors (Ocean Shores Development Corporation) in January purchase what is now Ocean Shores from the Minards for $1,000,000.00. Later that year, they started selling lots that were labeled as sight unseen at $595 from the first plat maps. Word spread about the California-style development of the place called Ocean Shores. As the numbers of lots sold, the prices rose. The first year 25 homes were constructed and their owners had charter membership certificates in the Ocean Shores Community Club.

* 1963 – The Marina finally opened.

Property lots were staked and numbered only as the road construction crews began to lay out the massive road system. Even though the first roads were only 20 miles (32 km) in length, the downtown area had mercury vapor lights to show that this was a booming city. As the development grew,

the Ginny Simms Restaurant and Nightclub brought in the Hollywood set. In fact, on Grand Opening night chartered planes flew up a whole contingent of Hollywood stars, and 11,000 people turned out at Bowerman Basin to see the celebrities. In 1960, Ginny Simms and Pat Boone helped promote the new resort town of Ocean Shores Estates, and Ginny Simms opened and operated the Ginny Simms Restaurant at the Ocean Shores Inn. After her passing in 1994, that restaurant was torn down to make way for the new Shilo Inn.

* 1960-1964 – December, 1960, 25 miles (40 km) of canals were planned, a six-hole golf course was drawing players, and the mall shopping area was ready for the 1961 Ocean Shores Estates construction boom. The “Razor Clam,” a huge electric hydraulic dredge began working on the canal system.The mall, 100 motel units, three restaurants and the airstrip sprang up from the sandy ground with the marina opening in 1963.

Ocean shores interpretive and coastal studies building was built in 1962

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The SS Catala was brought up from California to become a “boatel” and charter fleet office, two years later a southwest winter storm drove her into the sand and for many years she was the most famous shipwreck on the Washington Coast. Now there are ghost stories surrounding the legend of the boat (more can be read about that here) the department of ecology eventually removed the remains of the shipwreck some years later.

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* 1966 – The famous gates to the city were installed.

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Pat Boone’s first Ocean Shores Celebrity Classic 18-hole golf tournament. Pat Boone became a local resident in 1967 as a stockholder in the Ocean Shores Estates Incorporated and promotion of the development was sped along by the famous Celebrity Golf tournaments hosted by Boone.

* 1969 – Shores was declared the “Richest Little City” with an assessed valuation of $35 million and 900 permanent residents. The following year the city was incorporated with a planning commission formed to zone the city and codify streets.

* 1970 – Ocean Shores becomes an incorporated city.

* 1971 – Ocean Shores’s first school opened in 1971 and road paving on streets began in earnest.

* 1972 – Ocean shores Library established.

Population: 909

John Wayne on set filming MCQ


* 1973
– “McQ,” the famous movie featuring John Wayne was filmed in Ocean Shores. The bridge at Ocean Lake Way on the Grand Canal was replaced.

* 1980 – Population: 1,777

young kurt cobain

* 1986 – Kurt Cobain, from the rock band Nirvana, worked part-time as a maintenance man at the Polynesian Inn Resort.

* 1990 – Population: 2,301

* 1993 – Ocean shores library rebuilt in a new location on Point Brown Ave.

* 1994 – The Ginny Simms Restaurant at the Ocean Shores Inn is torn down for the new Shilo Inn.

Quinault Beach Resort Casino

* 1995 – New sewer system installation begins. Property owners discover what a “Sewer LID” is.

* 1999 – Construction of the Quinault Beach Resort & Casino begins.

* 2000 – Population: 3,836

Eric Estrada Promoting Ocean Shores

* 2003 – National Recreational Properties buys hundreds and hundreds of lots in Ocean Shores and resells them to Californians for triple or quadruple the original price. The invasion begins. NRP’s front person is Erik Estrada from the popular television show “CHIPS.”

* 2004 – Ocean Front lots are selling for $50-$80K.

Population: 4,240

* 2005 – Ocean Front lots are selling for $180-$300K.
The Ramada opens on Ocean Shores Blvd NW with its indoor waterpark. Seattle developers start building numerous condos down at the Jetty. The bridge at Ocean Lake Way on the Grand Canal was replaced. Visitor Count: 4,163,633. 225 New Homes Built.

Ocean Shores Convention Center

* 2006 – Ocean Shores’ brand new 29,000 square foot Convention Center opens.

* 2007 – The City hires company to spray chemicals in the canals and lakes to get rid of all the weeds. It works and the canals and lakes clear up. The City moves forward on their 30 million dollar renovation of all the streets in town. The South end near the Jetty is completed.

The cruise ship, Catala, finally removed after the hull was discovered to have thousands of gallons of oil left inside. The State takes care of the project and gets rid of the Catala.

* 2008 – Ocean Shores was featured as one of the top 16 most affordable coastal communities in Coastal Living magazine.

* 2010 – The roads are completely redone and like new. Downtown gets a new look with the roundabout.

Population: 5,569.

* 2012 – Revitalization of interpretive center after economic depression and recovery of town.