Claudia Elliot

You can tell a lot about the relative lack of crime in Curry County in 1957 by noting what was reported in the newspaper.

In January, two youths were out on bail following a New Year’s Eve arrest for drinking beer in their car. Another youth was arrested for purchasing the beer and a fourth for breaking into the storeroom of The Cliff House on New Year’s Eve after he was refused admission to the restaurant.

In February the FBI was in town to investigate the dynamiting of a culvert on Forest Service land 9.25 miles above Harbor. Three local men were arrested. Their purpose in dynamiting the culvert was not reported.

In March police found no evidence of arson after a fire at the Flynn-Salisbury Mill caused $3,000 in damages, but Brookings Police Chief Bud Cross was questioning two 10-year-old and one 12-year-old boy in connection with the vandalism. Cross learned that they had piled up papers and boxes and poured a can of oil over them to start the fire. They also confessed to other crimes. The report did not indicate the punishment for the boys.

In May, a front-page story reported that Dimmick’s Market had been burglarized. Several pre-teen boys took about $100 in cash as well as candy, gum and cigarettes that they shared with their friends, although the father of one of the boys returned some of the merchandise.

In November an editorial blamed the rise in juvenile delinquency to less supervision of youngsters with more mothers working or fathers working two jobs, as well as increased mobility with more teenagers having access to automobiles.

And in early December, a band of teenagers from Myrtle Point was arrested in Eureka after looting a home in Brookings and taking 15 fifths of whiskey, several guns, ammunition and three watches.

Long bridge

Construction of a bridge across the Chetco River on Forest Service land about 10 miles up from Harbor was underway, and it was reported to be an engineering feat — the longest pre-stressed span in the country at 160 feet. Today it is known as Second Bridge.

By late October the bridge, and another one over Mill Creek, was complete. The 30-foot bridge crosses the Chetco about 8 miles from Brookings, and the road was extended from Loeb Park to the bridge, with South Coast Lumber at work on the road on the other side of the bridge. The purpose of the projects was to allow access to millions of feet of timber that previously was not accessible. It was the biggest bridge in the Siskiyou National Forest and the second to span across the Chetco River. The bridge cost $221,000.

Local history

The July 4, 1957 edition of the Pilot reported the visit of Ann Cross Estes, daughter of Vern Cross, who was in town to visit her father. She had been the first baby born in Brookings in 1914, just after the old Brookings mill got underway. At the time there was a company hospital in town. Her father, Vern, was the engineer of the train in Brookings at the time, and she recalled taking the train to Smith River, over the old trestle across the Chetco. She lived in Brookings for about 25 years and was living in Washington at the time of her visit.


Queen Jackie I of Azalealand (Jackie Smith) was named queen of the Azalea Festival.

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.

In mid-August, Cy Meadows trapped a big black bear, then shot it with a .22 rifle. The 7-foot-tall bear was about two miles up the Winchuck River.

The Brookings branch of U.S. National Bank of Portland offered 2.5 percent interest on Christmas Club savings accounts.

Fred Gardner and his son Howard trapped 14 bears and a cougar in the vicinity of Red Mountain prairies and the head of Long Ridge in early November.

The city of Brookings set a $148, 000 bond election Jan. 7, 1958, to raise funds to build a sewage treatment plant needed due to a state board of health order that the city stop dumping raw sewage into the ocean.


Claudia Elliott is a freelance writer. She lives in Brookings.