The museum features displays relating to local history, and some displays are only shown for a limited time. The building was originally the regional telephone exchange, but the telephone company decided that with the shift in population away from Ilwaco they no longer should have an exchange here. The building was obtained cheap, and provided a pretty good place for a historical museum that would otherwise be difficult to have such home.
One of the unique items in the collection, and one of the largest as well, is the last surviving passenger car (and probably the last surviving piece of rolling stock of any type) from the original Ilwaco Railroad and Navigation Company.
The museum is only open until 4 pm, so plan your visit to take into account this closing time.
Standard admission is $5
Located in Cape Disapointment State Park, North Head Light stands on a bluff overlooking the Pacific ocean. Much of the surrounding land is beach and the gently rising beaches of the ancient shorelines. A few bluffs stand high above the beach overlooking the Pacific. Here, are the lighthouses.
From it's perch, you look out over 20 miles (32 k) towards the western horizon. To the north, the beach stretches as far as the eye can see. Southward, is the Pacific and a little to the east you may catch a glimpse of the low breakwall forming the northern border to the Columbia River.
The lighthouse is often open with a volunteer seated in the latern room. Climb up the circling stairs and extend your view. The
It has been a long day and when we arrived at the parking area for the Cape Disappointment Light, we found it was a mile plus (1.6+ k) up a gently rising slope, through a thick pine forest. It would have been a wonderful walk, but we just weren't up to the walk. Instead, we headed to the visitor center (Lewis and Clark). They use the same parking lot. And what do you know, there from the patio of the visitor center, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, we noticed the lighthouse standing on the next bluff. What a wonderful surprise. Of course, we'd have to walk the trail to get up close, but it's a beautiful sight, standing high above the ocean, marking the northern point of the Columbia River mouth.
Running east to west along the paved frontage walkway that separates the Port of Ilwaco and related structures from the harbor itself, the Ilwaco Saturday Market runs every Saturday from May to September. Here you will find an assortment of gifts, crafts, food, and plants. While not entirely 100% local (there are a few vendors that come from the northern Oregon coast and other not so close locations), it is basically all local people and certainly all items on sale here are made in Oregon or Washington at the very furthest away.
Adding to the overall color of the event, there are permanent restaurants, stores, art galleries and other businesses (including a walk-up fish canning business and a wood turning shop) along the walkway as well.
The Pacific Coast is Tsunami country. While the last 'significant' tsunami was in 1963, there is evidence that the shore has been struck many times before. Look for the Tsunami highway markers, showing the way out in case of a warning. Be sure to read the brochures about Tsunami's so you will know how the area provide advanced notice to visitors.
The best evidence of a pending Tsunami is if the waters retreat from the shoreline, leaving a wide breath of sand between you and the ocean. %S$Get in your car and head inland
Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup (CREW)
IF YOU FEEL A STRONG EARTHQUAKE WHICH LASTS A LONG TIME WHEN YOU ARE ON THE COAST:
Protect yourself during the earthquake. Duck, cover and hold if inside and watch for falling objects if outside until the earthquake is over.
Move to higher ground immediately. Gather your family members and evacuate quickly. Leave everything else behind. A tsunami may be coming within minutes. Go on foot if at all possible. If there is no high ground, move inland away from the coastline.
DO NOT WAIT FOR AN OFFICIAL WARNING
Stay away from the coast. A later wave may be higher than the first! Damaging waves may continue to arrive even hours later.
Listen to your radio. Wait until an official all clear signal has been given before returning to low-lying areas.
Never go to the coast to watch for a tsunami if you hear that a warning has been issued. Tsunamis move faster than a person can run. Also, incoming traffic hampers safe and timely evacuation of coastal areas.
An earthquake in your area is a natural tsunami warning. Do not stay in low-lying coastal areas after a strong earthquake has been felt.
Damaging tsunamis are very rare. Our coastlines are vulnerable but tsunamis are infrequent. Understand the hazard and learn how to protect yourself, but don't let the threat of tsunamis ruin your enjoyment of the beach.
Somehow, Ilwaco has managed to keep its old firehouse intact. The structure is badly in need of restoration, but it at least is still standing. This at least gives you some idea of how structures in the early years of Ilwaco looked.
The building is located at Lake Street and Myrtle Avenue, which is essentially directly behind the new firehouse.