North Cove, WA - Lost River Photos

The area now known as North Cove, WA is about a 15-minute drive from our house and I'll be honest it was a place I'd never heard of prior to moving out here. A neighbor of ours told me about it because at that time there was a home being devoured by the ocean and with me being a photographer he thought I'd want to go take some photos, which of course I did. That was a year and a half ago and we now make the trip down to walk around the beach on a fairly regular basis, however, leaving the beach and climbing up onto what  left of a crumbling neighborhood street always brings me an eerie feeling, like a ghost town yet a few hearty souls still call this place home. 

One of the first things you'll notice if you head into the area is that your GPS is going to show streets that are no longer there or suddenly just fall off onto the beach. I've looked into as much history or old photos as I can find on what this place looked like before the ocean began its assault but I tend to come up empty more often than not.

What I have learned is that the area was once known as Cape Shoalwater but now goes by North Cove or as many people refer to it as Washaway Beach. It's one of the fastest eroding places in our hemisphere losing an average of 150ft a year and potentially more if it is a bad storm year. The area it's was once supposed to be a luxury beach destination along with Tokeland, WA just a couple miles down the coast. It would have been a welcome stop for train travelers going from Seattle to Portland. There were brick buildings, a clam cannery, school, lighthouse and Coast Guard station. All of which have long since been washed into the sea.  

Below is a photo of the Willapa Bay Lighthouse that once stood to guard the entrance to Cape Shoalwater. It was one of the earliest lighthouses in WA being first lit in 1858. By the late 1930's the building foundations had become affected by the erosion and in 1938 the lighthouse was abandoned due to safety concerns. In 1940 with the lighthouse now hanging off the edge of the coastline so the Coast Guard dynamited it for public safety. Also below you can see some maps of the area showing how much as truly been washed away.  

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