1936 was not a very good year on the Oregon coast. In fact, in August and September, the region – recently bursting with tourism activity because of the new Highway 101 – was plagued with conflagration after conflagration. It was the year the Oregon coast burned.
By mid September of ‘36, Bandon had just experienced its complete devastation, Gold Beach and Marshfield (Coos Bay) were in the middle of their own set of forest fires, and Yachats and Waldport were fighting a blaze. There were some 25 different fires along the coastline. Right about then, somewhere between September 15 and 20, a fire broke out near Depoe Bay.
At first it was a somewhat distant forest fire. According to the City of Depoe Bay, there are two versions of how it started. One is that a shingle mill caught fire (possibly arson), almost a mile east of town. The second is that a homesteader's cabin caught fire.