Good Food, Good Beer and Good (History) Lessons Learned

By Ann Powers | Wednesday, January 23, 2019

No doubt, a big part of the fun of traveling is learning about your vacation destination’s history.

That said, do you ever wonder who Oregon’s first pioneer was and the reason why his wife was reluctant to marry him or why Clatsop County farmers took up shipbuilding in the 1800s? How about the effects local weather had on the Lewis and Clark Expedition or who some of the lesser-known women were on that historic journey through the Pacific Northwest?

One last question, do you like good beer?

Well then order up a delicious craft brew and discover all of the fascinating answers to those queries and more during History & Hops at the Seaside Brewing Co. in Seaside. History & Hops is a series of local history discussions offered by the Seaside Museum & Historical Society on the last Thursday of each month from September through May. The presentations kick off at 6 pm with a different North Oregon Coast yesteryear topic each month presented by an area expert.

Everything about this monthly history buff get-together centers around the days gone by – even the building where it’s held. The Seaside Brewing Co. used to be the old Seaside City Jail and Town Hall built in 1914. It’s been meticulously restored using all local reclaimed woods and original brick from the jail. The brewery’s hopped-up concoctions are brewed onsite, and the taps from which they flow come right out of the jail cell that once served as the city's drunk tank and occasional women's cell.

Seaside Museum & Historical Society President Steve Wright launched History & Hops four years ago after attending a similar event at a McMenamins in McMinnville. He obviously tapped into a good thing because it’s been going strong ever since. He said he wanted to offer locals something fun and educational to do during the off season, but visitors are more than welcomed to join the beer drinking time travel. Many folks show up early to have dinner, others just want a couple of drinks. The history discussions are free, but meals and drinks are not.

Remember those questions about Oregon’s first pioneer, his wife’s reluctance to walk down the aisle and Clatsop County farmers turned shipbuilders? At this month’s History & Hops on January 31, author Jerry Sutherland will clue you in with the answers he uncovered while doing research for his book, Calvin Tibbets: Oregon’s First Pioneer.

Here’s a sneak peek: Sutherland claims Tibbets was Oregon’s premier pioneer because he was the first American to journey to what was then "Oregon Country" with the intent to settle permanently. This paved the way for Oregon becoming the nation’s 33rd state in 1859. Otherwise the Beaver State was on a fast track to becoming a Canadian providence.

Sutherland says Tibbets’ wife was a Clatsop Indian woman who refused to marry him in the “white man’s way.”

And what about those shipbuilding farmers in 1849? Sutherland says that resulted from the discovery of gold in California. About half of the male population in Oregon left at that time to strike it rich in the Gold Rush. But farmers stayed behind to take care of their farms and families. Nevertheless, they wanted a piece of the golden action too. They built a ship called the Pioneer at Skipanon Landing, stocked it with their goods, sailed to the Sacramento area and sold their wares at inflated prices to the gold miners. Sutherland will share a PowerPoint presentation of historical maps, drawings and manuscripts as he brings shipbuilding, Calvin Tibbets and early Clatsop County to life during his presentation from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Future History & Hops events include:

February 28
Author Jim Aalberg talks about the topic of his book, Historical Company Towns of Clatsop County

March 28
George Miller, meteorologist and author, discusses the effects local weather had on the Lewis & Clark Expedition

April 25
Fort Clatsop Ranger Sally Freeman talks about the importance of some lesser-known women to the Lewis and Clark Expedition

Since 1974 the Seaside Museum & Historical Society has served as a nonprofit educational institution with the mission to collect, preserve and interpret materials illustrative of the history of Seaside and the surrounding area.  The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information call (503) 738-7065.

Make sure to check our Daytime EventsNightlife and Community Events pages for even more adventures along the Northern Oregon Coast. Also, we’d love to hear about your Pacific Northwest getaway in the comments section below!

Photo Credits to the Seaside Museum & Historical Society and Jerry Sutherland

About the Author Ann Powers
Ann Powers is a reporter and writer who has lived and worked on the Oregon Coast. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Madison and currently working on her master's degree in multimedia journalism at the University of Oregon's Portland campus. Originally from Wisconsin, she now calls Oregon home, describing it as, "the Midwest of the Pacific Northwest," due to its dairy-state status, beautiful environment and friendly people.