When The Adobe Motel opened in 1952 the lounge was called "The Padded Cell" because people in town thought the Smiths were crazy to build with adobe on the rainy Oregon coast. Surely the motel would dissolve in no time, people thought.
Larry Smith knew what he was doing, though. His research showed that the clay beneath the site's topsoil, when mixed with sandy loam from a few miles away, would be great building material.
Waldport High School allowed Smith's sixteen-year-old son, Lauren, to take a light load of classes so he could help with the project. He and his father worked 14 hours a day making 4"x8"x16" adobe bricks
At one point, one of Lauren's hands got stuck in the adobe mixer and three fingers were cut off. The family continued working but saved the last brick, number 17,029, for Lauren to lay when he returned from the hospital.
On opening day the motel had 12 units and 22 bedrooms.
Larry then set to work as the chef in the restaurant.
In 1977 the Pfannmullers purchased the motel. It now has over 100 rooms, a heated pool, a sauna, and an exercise room, as well as a restaurant and lounge.
Where The Adobe now stands there once was a 40-foot shell midden, essentially an ancient refuse heap containing the remnants of feasts enjoyed long ago by Alsea Indians. For thousands of years, this was a summer camp where the Alsea fished and collected shellfish. “When the tide went out, the table was set,” was a common expression among Pacific Northwest tribes. Most of the shells in the midden were from mussels cooked in watertight baskets. Rocks were heated in a fire and then put in with whatever was being stewed. Although this might sound like a rather cumbersome process, it's surprisingly fast.
The midden was destroyed when the shells were used for road fill.
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