Dec. 17, 2017 — The Florence area has come a long way since establishing a lifesaving station at the mouth of the Siuslaw River in 1917. In the past 100 years, the men and women who served at U.S. Coast Guard Station Siuslaw River have performed countless rescues, assisted many boaters and helped Florence become Oregon’s Premier Coastal Community. In 2017 alone, Florence Area Chamber of Commerce chose Station Siuslaw River as the Grand Marshals of the 110th annual Rhododendron Festival and named the theme “Always Ready to Rhody” after the Coast Guard motto “Semper Paratus — Always Ready.” In August, Florence was named the 24th U.S. Coast Guard City. “This designation is only awarded to a few cities in the U.S., and is in recognition of the support of a local community for Coast Guard personnel and their families stationed in that community,” Florence Mayor Joe Henry said. “It’s an indicator of the relationship between the city and the Coast Guard, one that we hold in highest regard.”
Station Siuslaw River’s first year (excerpts from The West, precursor to the Siuslaw News)
Station Keeper arrives here
Friday, Dec. 14, 1917
The West — Vol. 27, No. 34
Captain Theodore Roberge who has been appointed keeper of the Siuslaw Coast Guard Station arrived here a few days ago from Cape Disappointment at the mouth of the Columbia and has taken charge of the station here.
Captain Roberge informs us that most of the equipment for the station is now at San Francisco ready to be shipped from the east and is now on the way here.
He expects that a crew will be selected as soon as the equipment arrives which will be in a month or so.
Want crew at station
Friday, Jan. 4, 1918
The West — Vol. 27, No. 35
The superintendent of the Coast Guard Service has recommended that a crew be placed at Siuslaw Coast Guard Station and Captain Roberge has received orders to be on the lookout for men for this place.
To be eligible for appointment as coast guard, a man must pass a physical examination and be able to swim.
Siuslaw Station has full crew
Friday, March 29, 1918
The West — Vol. 27, No. 48
It has been some twenty-five years since it was first suggested that a life saving station should be established at the mouth of the Siuslaw River and efforts to bring this about were commenced. These efforts have been kept at intervals with apparently not much result till some three or four years ago when Congress granted an appropriation for purchasing a site and erecting the buildings for a coast guard station.
A site was purchased and the buildings erected in 1917, but the station has not been fully manned till this week when the last of eight men took position.
Captain T. Roberge was sent here from Oak Point, Wash., to take charge of the station about two months ago and instructions given him not long afterward to select a crew of men.
Captain Roberge selected five men from this vicinity and three others were sent here from other places, making a full crew of eight men besides the captain.
All except two are new men in the service.
The following are the names of the crew: Fred Cannon, Alfred Gentry, Lewis Circle Roy Lockwood, Pat Deveney, Thomas Corrigan, — Waters and — Pantell.
The men have been busy building walks and making other improvements about the buildings. They expect the surf boat to arrive in a few days and the men will then begin their regular drills. A guard will also be on lookout to watch for vessels in distress.
Most of the men are married and will soon erect cottages near the station for their families. They will make quite a little community in that part of the city limits of Florence.
Mine picked up on beach
Friday, Aug. 16, 1918
The West — Vol. 28, No. 16
Last week J.W. Bergmar, Fred Hollister and others spent several days outing at Heceta Beach.
On Thursday they found, on the beach about a mile south of Wm. McCraes residence, a mine which had evidently been planted in the ocean by some vessel and had drifted ashore. It was of metal cast in the form of a cylinder rounded on both ends, about four feet long and two feet in diameter. It evidently has been in the water very long as there were no barnacles or other growth on the outside.
Mr. Bergman reported the find to Captain Roberge of the coast guard station and the crew went out and removed the mine.
Coast Guards’ first rescue
Friday, Oct. 25, 1918
The West — Vol. 28, No. 34
The Siuslaw coast guards were called out Tuesday afternoon for their first actual work of rescuing a vessel in distress, and they were entirely successful in bringing the vessel into the harbor, without any loss.
The vessel was the fishing schooner “Pilgrim,” Captain McConnell, with gasoline engine and carried three men including the captain. They left Newport Saturday afternoon and fished several days near that place then decided to run down the coast and out to Heceta fishing banks. When near Heceta light house about three o’clock Tuesday afternoon, the tail shaft broke putting the engine out of commission and rendering the boat helpless.
A signal of distress was given which was seen from the light house and the keeper called up the Siuslaw coast guard station and informed them of the situation.
Captain Roberge and his men soon had their boat out and were on their way to render assistance making a quick trip to the Pilgrim which was drifting northward. The vessel was taken in tow of the life boat and brought to the mouth of the Siuslaw, arriving there about six o’clock Tuesday evening. The bar was too rough to cross in at that time so the boats dropped anchor and remained at sea until about 11 o’clock Wednesday when, the ocean having calmed down, both entered the harbor and came up to Florence.