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As It Was: Early Myrtle Point Viewed as “Village of Importance and Promise”

In 1853, Ephraim Catching filed a donation land claim along the Coquille River in Coos County, Ore.  Soon 52 people lived in the village that sprouted there, named Myers after the man who platted the land, Henry Myers.  The town’s name changed to Myrtle Point in 1876 in recognition of a nearby grove of trees.

At first the town’s only industry was a steam grist mill, but as the population grew Binger Hermann built a hotel and store with a concert hall on the second floor.

With a population of 150 by 1884, Myrtle Point was characterized as a village ideally situated for trade with the fertile valleys around it, and safe from river flooding.  Myrtle Point had two general merchandise stores, a drug store, post office, two hotels, a literary society, a lawyer, a butcher, a blacksmith, and a furniture shop – whose owner moonlighted as the town undertaker.  Myrtle Point also had an excellent brass band.

By 1890, the population had reached 350, and the bustling town featured a newspaper, several surgeons, and a confectionary and lunch counter called Cheap Charley’s.

Present-day Myrtle Point’s population exceeds 2,500.

Sources:  Walling, Albert G., editor. History of Southern Oregon: Comprising Jackson, Josephine, Douglas, Curry, and Coos Counties. Portland, A. G. Walling, 1884, pp. 485-86. Accessed 27 Apr. 2017; Dodge, Orvil. Pioneer History of Coos and Curry Counties, Oregon. Portland, Capital Printing Company, 1898, pp. 88-89. Accessed 27 Apr. 2017.

Valerie Ing was a teenager when she hosted her first music program on the airwaves. As a student at SOU, she was JPR’s Chief Student Announcer and the first volunteer in our newsroom. She's now JPR’s Northern California Program Coordinator, hosting Siskiyou Music Hall from JPR's Redding studio in the Cascade Theatre.