Pacific Beach History


Pacific Beach, combined with its close neighbor to the north, Moclips, is referred to by the North Beach Business Association as "Washington's best kept secret." The most obvious draw to the region is the almost two miles (3 km) of flat, wide-open Pacific Coast beach that stretches between the two towns 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Hoquiam. Both are on state Route 109 between Ocean Shores and Taholah.

Besides its early manifestation as a sawmill town, Pacific Beach has always been a resort destination of sorts, ever since a man named Henry J. Blodget first settled that part of the coast during the mid-1800s.

Henry Blodgett, a trapper and hunter homesteaded 160 acres (0.65 km2) and eventually gave part of his land to his hunter friend P. H. Roundtree with the stipulation that he build a $500 home. Roundtree built an $800 house which later became the site of the Pacific Beach Hotel. Originally, Pacific Beach was called Joe Creek. In 1903, Roundtree began plotting the town and decided on the Pacific Beach name. Other names considered were Bluffton, Illahee Beach, Roundtree and Ocean View. The Navy has been part of the local area since moving into the Pacific Beach Hotel. During WWII, anti-aircraft recruits trained here and sharpened their aim by blasting targets pulled by Navy planes out of Westport. After WWII, the facility was offered to the local community for $1, but because the community was unincorporated, the sale failed and the base sat idle until 1950.

In 1902, the Northern Pacific Railway got the right-of-way to Pacific Beach from the Aberdeen-Hoquiam area. The town of Pacific Beach eventually was platted as the population surged with the advent of the railroad. (The rutted and mostly wood plank roads in those days were practically impassable.)

The beach soon became a popular destination for Sunday train excursions by folks from Aberdeen and Hoquiam -- even from as far away as Seattle. In 1906, the Pacific Beach Hotel opened and prospered as a resort destination until the Navy took it over during World War II. Flat and unprotected from Pacific storms, Pacific Beach and Moclips are about as close to the ocean beach as any town in Washington. Geographically, Moclips might even be considered actually on the beach. Besides being ravaged by several major fires early on, Moclips has been decimated by fierce storms over the years -- especially a big one that blew through in 1911.

Pacific Beach and Moclips, because of its railroad connection to Aberdeen-Hoquiam, became a popular vacation and day-trip destination because of the easily accessible expanse of sandy beach. Razor clams were plentiful, surf fishing was productive and picnicking on the beach couldn't have been finer. One day in 1913, more than 5,000 people came by train to Pacific Beach and Moclips for a giant picnic.

In 50th The Air Force returned and for the next five years operated the Pacific Beach base as a radar station. In 1957 and 1958, after two more years of idleness, SOSUS Naval Facility (NAVFAC) engineers arrived and redeveloped the base. Then in October 1987, the U.S. Naval Facility at Pacific Beach was disestablished and transferred to Naval Station Puget Sound and then to Naval Station Everett. Under Commander Naval Base guidance, the unoccupied facilities developed into a Morale, Welfare, Recreation (MWR) and Education Support Center, Resort and Conference Center.

The lodging part of the resort is open to active, retired and reservist military, as well as all Department of Defense and federal employees. Authorized users can sponsor family members and friends. The Windjammer Restaurant and bar, gift shop and bowling alley are open to the public. Each 1950s vintage guest cottage is named after a U.S. president.

Today Pacific Beach is still a small beach community with a population of less than 1000 people and thousands of tourist enjoying Pacific Beach State Park is a 10 acre camping park with 2,300 feet (700 m) of ocean shoreline with brisky fresh area, salty mist and incredible views. The beach is actually called Mocrocks in the town of Pacific Beach.

Further reading