Yachats is pronounced YAH-hots as in, "When yah-hots yah-hots. When yah-nots, yah-nots."
Or maybe that's the proper mispronunciation.
Ya'Xaik, Yawhuch, Ya'qua'yik, Yahutes, and Youitts are some of the spellings explorers, Indian Agents, homesteaders, and others wrote as the Native American name of the area now known as Yachats, Oregon.
Spencer Scott, a Lower Umpqua/Siuslaw Indian, said Yáxaiky means "as far as you can go along the beach," the beach being the seven-mile stretch that goes from present-day Waldport to the rocks at the north end of the 804 Trail.
Clara Pearson, a Tillamook Indian, said Yachats means "Sexual intercourse."
"We couldn't have people think our town was where people came to make wild whoopie," an old-timer said. Thus the most often offered definition of Yachats became "Dark water at the foot of the mountain," the dark water being the Yachats River and the mountain being Cape Perpetua.
And what about the name Oregon? Where did that come from?
One theory is that it comes from the French word "Ouragan," which means hurricane, and refers to the Chinook Winds.
Another is it comes from the Chinook word "Ooligan," a fatty fish Native Americans ate.
Another is explorers looking for a Northwest Passage—a sea route that would connect the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans—were told by Native Americans about "Ouragon," a "River of the West."
Some say it's from the Spanish, "Oregano," which grows in the southern part of Oregon. I've yet to read reports of pioneers setting out onto the Oregon Trail saying, "Honey, I can't wait to get to a territory where we can get good Oregano for our pasta?"
My personal favorite theory is that Oregon got its name due to sloppy cartography. The Wisconsin River was once called the Ouisiconsink River. "Oui" is French for "Yes" and pronounced "We." The name was written on a map in two lines, with a slash between them. The slash looked like a river flowing west named "Ouaricon."
What's in a Website?
You ever do this: walk by a location and ask, "What was the name of that business that used to be here? You know the one. It was run by what's his name."
We have an app for that.
It was funded by the city of Yachats.
The idea behind the Yachats Tour App app is that you can walk around Yachats, stand in front of a building, see "Then and Now" photos, and read stories about Native Americans, homesteaders, entrepreneurs, and colorful characters who have lived, worked, and played there.
This website is an expansion of that project.
This website is also very much a work in progress.
When I told people I was doing research on Yachats's history, I lost count of the number who said, "You have to include the time a car crashed through Beulahs while she was sleeping upstairs." Many kindly sent me photos of the aftermath. But I'm still looking for a photo of Beulah Swigert herself.
Anyone out there have one? If you do, please send it to me.
Another example: I was surprised to learn that what's now the Green Salmon, in the 1970s, was one of the largest Dairy Queens in Oregon. Even more surprising? I can't find a photo of the DQ. Do you have one? If you don't have any photos, do you have stories or memories about working or eating at the DQ?
In fact, do you have any good stories, photos, or clippings about life in Yachats? Are there stories that you often tell your out of town visitors? I want to hear them.
To get you started down memory lane here's a brochure and map of business in Yachats in 1949.
Stories you might think are mundane, may be of more interest than you imagine. I work at the Drift Inn and one of the most popular items on our menus is the history of the Drift Inn, and stories about the former owner, Lester Blair. There wasn't anything all that unusual about Lester's life, but people enjoy reading about it while sitting in the place he lived and worked in for so many decades.
Currently this website is mostly a framework.
But once the framework is filled in, the site and the Walking Tour app, will still be works in progress. That's because few places are static.
Since starting this project, some businesses have either opened, closed, or moved; some buildings have been built, renovated, or torn down; and some people have come, gone, and returned.
I hope you enjoy perusing this site, and I hope you email me your stories and photos.
T- (Theresa) McCracken
Yachats Businesses & Sites of Interest
Do you have stories and/or photos about this location? Did you ever work here? Live here? Have family and/or friends who told you anecdotes? Send interesting stuff to us and we may add them to the website.