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1908 Emily G Reed Shipwreck

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ROCKAWAY BEACH — This winter's wind and rain has uncovered the hull of the Emily G. Reed on the beach here. The boat ran aground south of the Nehalem bar in 1908.

The sailing vessel's wreckage has remained buried beneath the sand since then, appearing only a couple of times since its demise.
In a letter to the editor that appeared in the Jan. 18, 1954, Headlight-Herald, Elmer D. Allen recounts seeing the ship shortly after it foundered on the beach.

"Among the last of the proud, old sailing ships," Allen wrote, "she lay fast in the sand, broken in two with a pile of coal two stories high; masts, spars and sails toppled and her cargo of coal dumped to the center holding firmly the fore and aft. The beach was strewn with wreckage and coal."

According to Allen, the American sailing ship Emily G. Reed, bound for Portland, was 103 days out from New Castle, New South Wales, carrying 2,100 tons of high-grade Australian coal. She lost her bearings and hit a sand bar on what was Garibaldi Beach, now Rockaway Beach, south of the entrance to Nehalem Bay.

Seven men lost their lives in the wreck. The captain, his wife and four of the crew drifted ashore clinging to part of the ship's cabin. Some of the crew, not knowing where they were, decided to chance swimming ashore, tying a rope to the wreckage. When they jumped overboard, their feet touched bottom and they were able to walk ashore.

Reports about the incident said four other men, who also could have walked to safety, took a lifeboat and were carried out to sea. They landed at Neah Bay, in the Juan de Fuca Strait, more than 100 miles to the north.

The Emily G. Reed was built in 1880 at Waldoboro, Maine. She was a full-rigged wooden sailing schooner, 215 feet long.

For years after she broke apart, it was a common occurrence after storms for locals to gather quantities of first-grade coal all along the coastline in the vicinity.