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As It Was: European Immigrants Provide Oregon Coast Place Names

When Whiskey Creek gold was discovered south of Coos Bay in 1852, miners from all over the world showed up on the Southern Oregon Coast, hoping to strike it rich.  As more European immigrants arrived, some brought place names with them.

Lord George Bennett of Bandon, Ireland, settled the beach town of Bandon at the mouth of the Coquille River.

Glasgow, just north of Coos Bay, was named by a Scotsman.  Today it has a corner market and fire hall.

Norway, between Myrtle Point and Coquille, was founded by former sea captain Olaf Reed.  Today it’s a wide spot in the road overlooking State Route 42. 

Denmark, between Bandon and Port Orford, was settled in the 1880s by Danes who started a profitable dairy industry among the rolling hills of northern Curry County.  At one time it had a creamery, cheese factory, post office and newspaper. 

All that remains of Denmark is a highway sign, but the countryside is still dotted by farmers and cattle ranchers with Scandinavian last names. 

Sources: Friedman, Ralph. Oregon For The Curious. Portland, OR, Pars Publishing Company, 1972, p. 26; Hull, Lisa. Images of America: Coos County. Arcadia Publishing, 2007, pp. 7-9, 16-17, 29; Wikipedia: Denmark, Oregon, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 13 Feb. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denmark,_Oregon#cite_note-OPB-6.

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.