October 25th, 1906 had a dark, cold and windy night. Sailing vessel Peter Iredale was Portland-bound, traveling from Salina Cruz, Mexico to pick up a cargo of wheat for the UK. The voyage had kicked off September 26, and despite passing through heavy fog along the way, reached the mouth of the Columbia River about a month later.
But on the night/early morning of October 25, around 3am, Captain H. Lawrence reported seeing the Tillamook Lighthouse ahead. The crew members tried to alter their course and steer the ship away from the shore, but strong winds coming from the west pushed the vessel off the sea and grounded it into an area now known as Clatsop Spit.
Luckily there were no deaths from the wreck and the ship wasn’t completely damaged. They even had plans to tow it back out to sea, but after waiting several weeks for the weather and ocean conditions to improve, the ship had become “listed” – tilting to the left – and settled into the sand. Despite the fact the vessel had not been completely wrecked the salvage rights were sold later on in 1917.
It’s now been over a century since the wreck and the vessel has been broken up even more due to weather erosion and years of pounding ocean waves. Not much is left anymore – just a couple of ribs and the ship’s bow. But it still remains a fascinating highlight of the Oregon coast – blending rugged coastal scenery and a notable part of Oregon’s early 20th century history.
You can still walk around the remains of the old vessel at low tide. It sits just off-shore within Fort Stevens State Park, in the northwestern tip of Oregon. The photo ops around the wreck are just amazing, especially at sunrise and sunset. Here is a map of Peter Iredale Shipwreck.
For a birds-eye view of the wreck and Oregon coast, check out this amazing short clip from Youtube:
This century-old wreck is so intriguing. Have you visited the Peter Iredale before?
We recommend adding the Peter Iredale shipwreck to your Spring Road Trip Up The Oregon Coast.