Claudia Elliot

In January 1957 the Pilot reported that Curry County once again was the leader among Oregon counties for population growth during 1956.

With an estimated population of 12,270 as of Jan. 1, 1957, the county was said to have grown by 102.2 percent since the federal census of April 1, 1950, when the population was only 6,048.

The Baby Boom was underway, and ads for station wagons filled the pages of the Pilot.

In July, it was reported that at the end of 1956, a total of 516 Brookings residents received Social Security payments totaling $27,091. This was an increase of 81 people in 1955 and $5,089 over the previous year. The increase was in part because self-employed farmers were brought into the Social Security program in 1955.

Those over retirement at that time, or who reached retirement age before the end of 1956, became insured if they reported self-employment income of at least $400 for 1955 and again in 1956.

Post Office

The post office was in the news a lot in 1957. A big headline on the top of the front page read: “Home Mail Delivery Soon.” According to the story, residents were advised to put up mailboxes and sign up for delivery to begin Feb. 9. Carrier Ferdie Steinmetz would also honk his horn to let people know if he had a package to deliver and wait for them to pick it up. And on Feb. 7, the Pilot carried a large ad from Palmer’s Department Store in Brookings with only one word: Mailboxes.

In March, Postmaster Bill Thompson announced that due to budget cuts windows would only be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. By mid-April Saturday hours at the post office had been cut.

Thompson resigned in early April to accept a position with a school supply company in Portland. He came to Brookings in 1951 as a partner in a private surveying firm, then taught at Brookings High School in 1953 and became postmaster in 1954. His wife, Jean, was a fourth-grade teacher at Brookings-Harbor Elementary School and was to join him in Portland after the end of the school year.

In August, recruitment was underway for a new postmaster at an annual salary of $4,890.

Port development

There was plenty of news from the fledgling Port of Brookings (as it was known at the time), too. In January, the Pilot reported that plans were in the works to build two jetties from local rock.

On Jan. 17, the newspaper reported receiving a telegram from new Congressman Charles Porter with news that the “Army Engineers” budget for fiscal 1958 would include $200,000 for construction on the Chetco River Navigation Project and $21,000 for Rogue River harbor in Gold Beach. Funds were for advance engineering and design, bringing the total money appropriated for the Chetco project to $425,000. This was expected to be enough to build the proposed two jetties.

In June, the first load of rock to form the jetties at the mouth of the Chetco River was to be dropped on the south bank.

The Port of Brookings published its first budget, in June, for the 1957-58 fiscal year. Expenses were projected to be $5,045 for overhead, $13,000 for the purchase of land, $5,000 for the construction of a dock, public boat launching and recreation and commercial facilities, and $7,000 for emergencies. Following a public hearing, a tax would be set to raise funds to cover the budget.

Following a public hearing, port commissioners cut $4,200 from the budget, eliminating plans to pay $1,200 to an assistant secretary (the only salary in the budget) and cut $3,000 from the budget to purchase land.


•S&H Green Stamps were offered by 11 businesses in Brookings. Stamps could be redeemed for merchandise by mail or at stores in Coos Bay or Eureka.

•On July 28, Mrs. William Clement used a .22 rifle to kill a rattlesnake with 14 buttons on it on the south side of Boulder Creek while returning to Brookings from Red Mountain.