Jump Off Joe, Nye Beach

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Jump Off Joe, Nye Beach

by | Aug 4, 2020

Nye Beach is a neighborhood in Newport, about 2.5 miles (4 km) southeast of Yaquina Head and 1.9 miles (3 km) north of the mouth of Yaquina Bay, Oregon. The beach was named after John Nye who homesteaded the area when it was a semi-wilderness. Historically, Nye Beach was demarcated to the south by the mouth of the Yaquina River and to the north by a rocky outcropping known as Jump-off Joe that extended into the sea and posed an obstacle to beach traffic.

In the early 1800s, Nye Beach was part of the sprawling Coast Indian Reservation. By 1865, the native population of the area was severely diminished and so the U.S. government opened it for homesteading.  At the time, the Yaquina Bay frontage was the primary destination of visitors to Newport. Nye Beach lacked any approach by road and was edged by cliffs. Nye Creek had carved an opening in the sea cliff, that became a popular access point and the heart of the Nye Beach district. This spot later became known as “the Turnaround”.

Jump-off Joe was a massive sea stack 100 feet tall at Nye Beach composed of middle Miocene concretionary sandstone. It formed sometime before the 1880s when it was connected to the mainland and was a major impediment to walking the beach. It was a well-known tourist attraction and early travelers would have to jump off the side to get over it, hence the name. Erosion separated it from the mainland in the 1890s, possibly accelerated by the construction of jetties at Yaquina Bay, and its largest arch collapsed in 1916. Between 1920 and 1970, the majority of the sea stack eroded and collapsed, and by 1990 it had been entirely washed away, and only a trace of it remains today. Read more here and here. Explore more of Nye Beach here:

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