"Neither rain, sleet, nor horses plunging down chasms will keep us from our appointed
rounds," could have be the motto of the early Yachats mail carriers.
The first Post Office in this community was near what is now the cemetery and was established in 1887, when Yachats was called Ocean View. George M. Starr was its first Postmaster. He was also one of the first to homestead on what had been the Coastal Reservation's Alsea Sub-Agency land.
That Post Office closed in 1893 and reopened in 1904 with Jenneta Kindred as Postmaster. Women have been postmasters since before the Revolutionary War and "Postmaster," and not "Postmistress," has always been their official title.
In 1912 the post office moved near the mouth of the Yachats River, and in 1916 the post office moved yet again to what is now Yachats River Road and Loma Lane.
Back then, the sites and names of post offices changed frequently, often without the knowledge of the patrons they served. A post office just north of Waldport was renamed eight times.
In 1917 the town of Ocean View changed its name to Yachats. People didn't want anyone confusing their town with any of the umpteen other places with "Ocean" in their names. There was, is, and most likely will never be another Yachats.
Yachats' early postal customers had to make their boxes accessible to a mounted carrier because he was not required to dismount when making a delivery. Sometimes, though, one would dismount unintentionally. Art Carpenter's horse fell while rounding the bend at Cape Perpetua's Devil's Churn. Carpenter got his foot out of the stirrup just before his horse plunged to its death.
Stilnah Stonefield-Smallwood said when her father, Rufus Stonefield, delivered mail, "He used to have two horses. One he rode. One he put the mail on. When the creeks were really swollen, he would put the mail horse ahead and drive it across the creek. And then he would swim his own horse across and hang onto his tail. Cape Perpetua had a trail way up at the top, and the wind would be blowing so hard that he would crawl on his hands and knees and hang on to the horse's tail so that he could get around there with the mail."
In 1926 Cy Cooper drove a 1918 Model-T Truck to deliver mail to 45 families between Florence to Yachats. He often stood on the running boards so he could jump off if the car began to fall into the ocean. He also stripped the car of everything unessential, so if he got stuck, he could cut a pole from a tree, leverage the car up, and continue on his appointed rounds.
"Cy Copper," John Bray said, "was the one who always got the mail through. If the creek was up and a little bit deep, he'd throw a canvas over the front end of his old Model-T and down underneath, and then ride over. He'd almost float across." Cy drove backward to go up really steep inclines because gas was gravity fed to the engine. The car had thirteen forward gears and eight backward ones, and he shifted almost non-stop on his route.
Before they built Highway 101, the beaches were the highway, and you had to pay close attention to the tide. Following a mail carrier who knew the tides well was often the safest approach to take.
Usually, people along the route had coffee and cake, cookies, or a full meal waiting for the carrier. While visiting the families, the carrier took orders for everything from sewing thread to nails, which he purchased in Florence and dropped off on his return to Yachats. Myrtle Hatch-Goforth said, "When our mail was late, we would always say, 'Well, Cy probably got to the lighthouse and Mrs. Herman [Heceta Head's keeper's wife] didn't have her letter finished.' If she had a letter to write, he'd say, 'OK, you go ahead and sit down and write your letter, and I'll wait for it.'"
The current Post Office at 141 Beach Ave was built in 1983.
Hours: Mon- Fri 9AM–1PM, 2PM–4:30PM
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