Historical Signs Help Commemorate the Beginnings of the Community of Cloverdale

                                    By Sally Rissel

            Charles Ray founded Cloverdale at the turn of the century. He built the first buildings and businesses – such as a store, hotel, bank, boat dock, and cheese factory. Ray made his house in the center of town more than 100 year ago, with a barn next to it for his horse and buggy. 

            The house has had many uses through the years, but was recently bought and restored by Kelly and Josh Armstrong. 

            In 1920, a fire started in the hotel and burned the town hall, the livery stable, the barbershop, and the Kraner buildings to the ground. The hotel was rebuilt but soon burned again under mysterious circumstances. A new hotel was built across the highway on the corner lot between the bridge and the street. It was burned down in the 1960s. In 1921, a new town hall was built on the river side of the street. A restaurant was added and served as the center of all social activities. It had the local movie theater, a dance hall, a basketball court, a roller skating rink, and a stage with a curtain. It was considered a modern building at the time. It was 65 feet long and heated by two large wood heaters on opposite sides of the hall. The heater at the end was equipped with water coils so you could take a hot shower – the town hall building and the old cheese factory building burned in 1934.

            Cloverdale has had its ups and downs, dealing with fires and changing economies. Losing the Dory Restaurant, Cloverdale Pharmacy, liquor store, barber shop, and grocery store has led to much of its demise. New businesses are seeing the potential of this picturesque town along the Nestucca River and Highway 101. We hope that residents and tourists will again appreciate Cloverdale’s history and charm.

            Two years ago, the Tillamook County Historical Society wanted to find a way to celebrate the town’s past. Clyde Hudson documented much of Cloverdale’s early town history with his photos. Loranne Eckhardt has preserved these photos and has generously made them available. The TCHS has worked with PSI printing to enlarge some of the early Cloverdale scenes on large sheets of metal and installed them on buildings around town. The photos are reminders of a town moving from horse and carriage to the first automobiles. It was primarily a dairy farming town but grew to house the high school and become a center of Nestucca Valley commerce.  The Tillamook Coast Visitors Association has given a grant to continue installing additional murals. Drive slowly through town to enjoy the history of early Cloverdale. Photos

(published 2/9/2024 in the Pacific City Sun.)


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