Monday, April 2, 2012

Ocean Shores Washington

The above postcard arrived a couple days ago, sent by my favorite aunt, who had just had fun weathering a severe winter storm, or two, at my cousin's place in Ocean Shores.

I don't remember, for sure, the last time I've been to Ocean Shores on the Washington Coast. My best guess is August of 2004, when I drove from Tacoma to the coast, hoping to go to a lunch buffet at the Quinault Beach Resort, at the north end of Ocean Shores.

When I was a kid my three favorite places to go on a family camping trip were Sun Lakes State Park, in Eastern Washington, Honeyman State Park, on the Oregon Coast, to play on the Oregon Dunes and to the Ocean Shores zone of the Washington Pacific Coast.

The modern era of Ocean Shores, as a town and a real estate development, began back in the late 1950s. At the time, it was believed, by many, that the Washington State Legislature would soon legalize casino gambling. And so Ocean Shores Development Corporation begun selling lots.

My Brother, Sister-In-Law, Big Ed & Sister
In Front Of The Catala Shipwreck
Soon a bit of a gold rush erupted as rumors spread of a California type development at a place called Ocean Shores. As lots sold, roads were built.

Soon, Hollywood's Ginny Simms opened a restaurant and nightclub. This brought in celebrities. On Ginny Simms' opening night chartered planes flew in Hollywood stars by the dozens, with thousands turning out in Ocean Shores to catch a glimpse.

Simpler times.

By late 1960, 25 miles of canals were planned, along with a golf course, mall, motels, more restaurants and an airport.

The ill-fated S.S. Catala was brought up from California to serve as a "boatel." Two years later a strong winter storm grounded the Catala, turning her into the most famous shipwreck on the Washington Coast.

Big Ed Climbing a Catala Smokestack While
My Brother & Sister Lean
Crooner Pat Boone became a resident in 1967. In 1969 Ocean Shores was dubbed the "Richest Little City in America" due to the assessed property value of its 900 residents.

Eventually the S.S. Catala became a bit of a hazard. In the late 1980s a girl fell through the shipwreck's rusted deck, resulting in a broken back and her family suing the State of Washington. The State then ordered the ship to be removed to sand level. But then, a series of storms gradually unburied what remained of the Catala.  In 2006 a beachcomber saw that oil was leaking from the wreck. The Washington State Department of Ecology then sealed off the area and removed the remains of the S.S. Catala.

Below is a blurb I gleaned from an Ocean Shores website that does a good job of characterizing Ocean Shores in the year 2012...

Ocean Shores is the top coastal destination in Washington State & boasts over a thousand  rooms in a variety of hotel & condominium complexes that line the beaches as well as a  population of over 5,000 full time residents. With more than six miles of flat, easily accessible ocean beaches & 23 miles of interconnected freshwater lakes and canals - coupled with plenty of recreation & leisure opportunities - it's easy to see why millions visit annually & people more than ever are relocating to settle in for a true oceanfront lifestyle. A brand new elementary school, a new multi-million dollar convention center, an 18-hole championship golf course, brand-new, freshly-paved roads, clean air, gorgeous views, an abundance of wildlife, small-town charm, great restaurants, tons of fishing, clamming & a casino on the beach are just a few of  the reasons why Ocean Shores is hotter than ever - even in this economy. If you're looking to just enjoy yourself at the beach, search for some real estate in the likes of a beach cabin, condo, vacant camping lot, getaway pad or even a fulltime house, you've come to the right place. See you on the beach!


Cindy Cohen said...

That girl in the Budweiser jacket is sure a cutie.

Steve A said...

Kurt Cobain used to work in a hotel at Ocean Shores.