The West/Oregon Coast Humane Society Thrift Shop, 1193 Bay Street

‘Then’ picture courtesy Siuslaw Pioneer Museum, ‘Now’ picture by Jim Hays.

Then & Now - A look back at the Siuslaw region’s past

March 29, 2023 — This is the first in a series, in cooperation with the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum, that will show well known (and some not so well known) landmarks and locations around the Florence and Mapleton area, as they appeared in the past along with how they appear today. We hope to increase appreciation of the “good ole’ days” and also help the reader to realize that today is tomorrow’s history.

The newspaper made its bow in Florence in mid-April 1890, three full years before the first city council meeting. Nearly 133 years ago The West was established by the late Colonel B. F. Alley in a building that sat by itself on the west end of what was then called Front Street (now Bay Street.)

Alley was followed as owner of The West by George O. Knowles in about 1896, and shortly before the turn of the century, by W. H. Weatherson.

The West was published until January 7, 1921. Following The West, came the Siuslaw Region, which was published by A. K. Lulay. In 1923, Ralph Moore became publisher of the Florence News and was followed in 1926 by launching the Florence Times.

Mr. Moore, who had begun the printer’s trade over a half century before, made his home in Florence. He frequently contributed a column of pithy comments, coming into the shop and preparing his press; read the proof and made the corrections. He kept remarkably well-posted on current affairs and despite his advanced years was hale and hearty.

In the years immediately preceding this country’s entrance into the first world war, Florence boasted of two newspapers. For a time, one of them, the Siuslaw Pilot, was issued twice weekly. Its editor Robert S. Huston, continued it until 1916. The Pilot was printed in the Brynd building near the ferry landing, probably the only paper of the area, at that time, not printed in the building on Front Street.

The Siuslaw Oar was established in Florence in June, 1928 by M. D. Morgan. He passed away in 1942 and then the “Oar” was published by Mrs. Lola Morgan and family. The West, the Region, the Florence News and Times, were all four-page seven-column papers published in the plant which the Oar took over.

The back part of the Oar office comprised the complete quarters of The West for many years and the newspaper was first printed on a job press.

In 1916, a second story was added.

The Oar brought the type-setting machine to the plant late in 1941.

The long cherished dream of a new Oar office building became a reality in September 1952 when an L-shaped addition was added alongside and to the rear of the The West building that was there at the time.

Frame construction was used, with stucco exterior. The Floor was cement and floor space was doubled. Truitt Woodworth and his crew constructed the one-story addition.

In April 1953 ‘history’ was made in Florence the last of the original West building was torn down by Lars Norquist and his son.

In 1960 Dave Holman and family, owners of the Florence News, acquired the Siuslaw Oar and combined the two publications into the present Siuslaw News eventually moving the entire operation to its current location on Maple Street.

Today the building houses the Oregon Coast Humane Society Thrift Shop, a non-profit that helps raise funds for the local animal shelter by reselling donated items.

Other businesses located at 1193 Bay Street prior to the Humane Society include the area’s first cable television provider, a candy store, a hot rod club and a gift shop.

Siuslaw Pioneer Museum is located at 278 Maple Street. The museum is open Wednesday - Sunday from Noon to 4 p.m.

Visit for more information.