Historic Walking Tour of Coos Bay

Activities: Culture & Museums, Historical, Shopping, Walking & Hiking

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What now makes up the central district of Coos Bay was called Marshfield until 1944 when residents voted to change the name to Coos Bay to match the name of the Bay itself. The City of Marshfield was named after the Massachusetts home town of the Cityʼs founder, J.C. Tolman, and incorporated in 1874.

Download a printable Brochure and Map Here: Historic Walking Tour of Coos Bay

The waterfront was the focus of Marshfield, with Front Street where there are now various larger industrial uses and office buildings, being a hub of pedestrian and waterfront activity.

While taking this walking tour, you will note that many of the buildings in the central district of Coos Bay were completed near the turn of the century. This was a time of growth for the community.

The City of Coos Bay is now made up of various communities that once surrounded the Bay, the oldest of these being Empire City, which was once the Coos County seat. Another community which makes up Coos Bay was until recent years the City of Eastside. Both Empire and Eastside are now districts of Coos Bay. The prominence of these and other individual communities and districts within the city of Coos Bay give it a unique character not often found in small town. Today Coos Bay is known throughout the world as a major exporter of wood products, as the largest city on the Oregon Coast, a center of culture and museums, and a playground for tourists and retirees. It and is the professional and financial hub of the region.

Here are just a few of our Historic Points of Interest. 

See a full list of historic properties on our printable brochure, or pick up a copy at the Coos Bay Visitor Center.

The Egyptian Theatre, 229 South Broadway

Outstanding example of Egyptian Revival Architecture, made popular by the discovery of King Tutankhamuʼs tomb. Elaborately decorated theatre remains largely unchanged. For the time being the interior is closed due to structural damage but can be viewed from the outside.

Albert Powers/Conrad House, 480 Hall Street.

Canadian born Powers was a well-known lumberman who founded the town of Powers, Oregon. W.J. Conrad, a later occupant, formed the Conrad Lumber Co. in 1927. circa 1907

Pat Hennessey House, 893 South 5th St

A coal min superintendent, Hennesseyʼs name is a reminder of the importance of this once major industry. Hence, the name Coal Bank Slough, south of Coos Bay. circa 1908

Nerdrum House, 955 South 5th St (Coos Bay Manor)

Constructed in 1911-1912. Mr. Nerdrum emigrated from Finland and was employed by the C. A. Smith Lumber Co. He pioneered a new technique for making pulp by using slat water from the bay.

Pioneer Cemetery, 7th & Ingersoll, (Marshfield HS)

IOOF Cemetery owned & maintained by the CIty of Coos Bay. Established in June 1888. Price of a lot at that time was $5. Records are available at City Hall or a map at the Visitor Center.

Bror Olsson House, 631 South 10th St

Built for Sea Captain Bror Olsson, a local hero admired for saving a number of lives at sea and on land. The Bungalow Style home was originally constructed in 1912-1913 as a single family residence and today remains very much intact and original in configuration. Prominent Marshfield architect Benjamin Ostlind placed the garage “San Francisco syle” in the front yard because of the yardʼs slope and size of the house.

Marshfield Sun Building, 1049 North Front St

Jesse Lusse published the Marshfield Sun from 1891-1944 and was the buildingʼs sole tenant. The newspaper was the longest continuously published paper under a single owner operated in Oregon. The Sun, was hand set & printed on a hand press during its entire existence. The original equipment and many artifacts remain at the site. The building is open 1-4pm Tues – Sat between Memorial Day & Labor Day. For winter tours, call 541-266-0901.