Rogue River, Gold Beach

Rogue River, Gold Beach

by | Jul 9, 2019

The Rogue River begins at Boundary Springs at an elevation of 5,320 feet (1,622 m), near the northern edge of Crater Lake National Park, and flows generally west for 215 miles (346 km) through the Cascade Range and the Klamath Mountains to the Pacific Ocean at Gold Beach, Oregon.

Gold Beach is a small coastal community located at the mouth of the Rogue River. The area was called “yan-shu’-chit” in the Tolowa language of the Lower Rogue River Athabaskan people. The town was originally named Ellensburg by pioneer settlers in the 1850s, but later took the name Gold Beach after a nearby strand where hundreds of placer mines extracted gold. The river was historically crossed by ferry until the Oregon State Highway Department finished building a bridge at Gold Beach. The bridge was dedicated on May 28, 1932, and named after Isaac Lee Patterson, the governor of Oregon from 1927 to 1929.

Early settlers along the Rogue River were relatively isolated from the outside world and in 1883, Elijah H. Price proposed a permanent mail route by boat up the Rogue River from Gold Beach. The Post Office Department resisted the idea for many years but in 1897, the department established a post office near the confluence of the Rogue and Illinois rivers named Agnes to serve as the mailboat route terminus. A transcription error added an extra “s” and the name became Agness. Since then, mailboats based in Gold Beach have been delivering mail upstream to Agness, one of only two rural mailboat routes remaining in the U.S. Today, jet boats that function mainly as tourist excursions still deliver mail between Gold Beach and Agness. Read more here and here. Explore more of Gold Beach here:

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