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What's In a Name?
Published: 12/21/2010

The history behind how Cannon Beach got its name.

Why Cannon Beach? When Captain William Clark and members from the Lewis and Clark expedition visited the area south of Tillamook Head in 1806 to find a whale that had washed ashore, he named the local creek Ecola, the Native American term for whale. Early settlers referred to the area as Elk Creek, but in 1846, a cannon from the shipwrecked USS Shark washed ashore near present day Arch Cape and many began to refer to the area as Cannon Beach. In 1922, the name Cannon Beach was officially adopted as the city's name. The original cannon sat for years outside one of the area's first lodging establishments near present day Arch Cape and is now on display at the Cannon Beach History Center. Replicas are located at the north entrance to Cannon Beach on Highway 101 and four miles south in Arch Cape where the original sat until 1989. Two more cannons believed to have been from the shipwreck were discovered on the beach at Arch Cape in 2008. The cannons are currently at Texas A&M University, where conservation work is underway and may take years to complete and confirm the origin of the artifacts.

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