Oyster Farm, Along the Lower Yaquina
Although the local Yacona had been harvesting a tiny but tasty oyster in Upper Yaquina Bay for years, it wasn’t until a local fisherman told a visiting sea captain about the oyster in 1861 that the outside world took notice. Suddenly, an area that was considered so useless to white settlers that the government made it an Indian reservation was being invaded by entrepreneurs seeking to feed the huge demand for oysters in San Francisco. Within a few years the rare Ostrea lurida, a species of oyster that lived nowhere else, was wiped out, and the flood-gates had been opened to white settlement. The boom town of Oysterville was founded on the south side of the bay and flourished until the oysters were depleted—the entire community burned to the ground and was abandoned in 1889. The oyster beds were eventually re-seeded with Japanese imports, and those oysters continue to be farmed today on the north side of the bay, across the water from the original site of Oysterville.