Hidden Ocean City
Traveling the Hidden Coast Scenic Byway, you experience the North Coast of Grays Harbor County. Ocean City is known for rolling sand beaches, pounding winter storms and oil fields. Oil fields? Yes, 85 wells were sunk between 1901-1957.
In the early 1880s, mud and water bubbled to the surface. Exploration and development of the wells began. This precipitated the first coastal drilling. Between 1947-1957 wells were drilled near the first well. Showing the major challenge was low permeability of the gas and oil zones toward production. Testing resulted in 14 barrels of oil.
Several oil and gas companies drilled including the Ocean City Oil Company. J. W. Tanner, Sunshine Mining company achieved the best results, sustaining an average of 7.54 barrels per hour during testing.
Union Oil Company looked to Ocean City for serious business in the Ocean City oil field located 1 1/2 miles south of community. A well drilled in Ocean City in 1957 by the Sunshine Mining Co. produced 12,500 barrels before it was shut down in 1961.
Ocean City was platted in 1925 visualized as a resort town complete with a country club. Then, the depression depressed those plans.
This is a town known for three of its female residents:
- DOROTHY ANDERSON- Arriving in the United States at 19, Anderson found herself in Spokane and Seattle before settling in Ocean City in 1926. Dorothy Andrson’s Tourist Harbor included several cabins. Her cabin, built in the year she arrived is now renovated and available for tours in its new home in Seabrook.
- NORA BERG-Lady on the Beach is the well-known book written in 1952. She arrived in Ocean City with her husband, Sarge, in 1942. The book details her life with Sarge on the beach. She shared her love of reading handing out free magazine to those in the forested area.
- NINA RUTHERFORD-Moving from Everett to work in the canneries, she became the postmaster in 1938 of Ocean City. The next year, she opened a grocery store and gas station, housing the post office in the rear. You’ll still identify the building south of Sunrise Market. It is now a private home.
Be sure to check out a variety of events at the Marketplace. There’s holiday events including the Labor Day Weekend. Burning Bears Festival is in February. Each of these include auctions and a charity is chosen to benefit. Burning Bears attracts woodcarvers from the Pacific Northwest along with attendees who watch carving, bid in the auction and gather for the bonfire. At dusk Saturday of the festival weekend, a wooden bear, collectively carved, lights the night’s sky after the torch is lit.
Take a piece of Ocean City with you. Whether it’s a chainsaw carving, razor clams on a seasonal dig or photos and videos from your trip, enjoy this first stop past Hogan’s Corner on your way north on the Hidden Coast Scenic Byway.