Peter Iredale, Clatsop Spit

Peter Iredale, Clatsop Spit

by | Apr 21, 2020

Peter Iredale was a four-masted steel sailing ship with a length of 275 feet (84 m) that ran ashore on Clatsop Spit about 4 miles (6 km) south of the Columbia River entrance, 7 miles (11 km) west of Astoria and 3 miles (5 km) northwest of Warrenton, Oregon. The wreck of Peter Iredale is one of the most popular attractions on the Oregon coast.

On October 25, 1906, Peter Iredale was heading for the Columbia River to meet a pilot schooner that would guide them over the bar. Captain H. Lawrence began steering toward land when the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse was spotted. But no schooner was on station when Peter Iredale arrived at the south jetty of the Columbia River. Within an hour, strong gale force winds developed, and despite efforts of the crew, the ship struck the sandy beach near the jetty. The impact was so great that three of the four masts snapped immediately. All crew walked away unharmed, but the ship was severely damaged.

The ship’s hull survived intact, but a salvage operation had to wait several weeks for favorable conditions, and the ship became deeply embedded in the sand. The ship was eventually sold for scrap, and what wasn’t taken was left to rot away and rust on the beach. Today, the shifting sands of Clatsop Spit repeatedly bury and uncover the remains of the wreck. Read more here and here. Explore more of Clatsop Spit here:

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