Reflections: Stalwarts of Cannon Beach

The Ecola Inn was built in 1913 by August and Roy Becker.

Cannon Beach, once known as Elk Creek or Ecola Creek, has had its name shift like sand along the shore. Though the name has changed, the reason people visit here has not. The sandy shore, the summer sun, and even the famous winter storms.

Visitors also love the unique locations and cuisine. How many remember restaurants like the Round Table Restaurant, or the Whaler, or even the Log Cabin? Many of us lament the loss of our favorite places, but have watched as new businesses have arisen from the ashes. It is said that change is the only constant and that surely is the case in Cannon Beach.

However, there are places. Places that remain despite storms, the 1964 tsunami, and the change of owners. Places like the Wavecrest, the Cannon Beach Hotel, Bill’s Tavern, and the Ecola Inn. Each is unique in their staying power.

The Ecola Inn was built in 1913 by August and Roy Becker. The Beckers were assisted by the likes of Frank Madden, Paul Bartels, John Brallier and Mr. Prosser. In an interview conducted by the Cannon Beach Historical Society in 1976, Bartels said that the Beckers paid him $2 a day and carpenters $4. Bartels was commissioned to construct a beach stone fireplace that he became so famous for. The property stayed in the family until 1931.

Old hotel brochures indicate that The Ecola Inn was open year round and that rooms contained two twin beds with a private bath. Rooms cost $2.50 to $3.50 per night, or $15 a week to rent a two-room apartment.

Over the years The Ecola Inn became a social gathering spot and was known for its ping-pong tourneys. The inn was also known for Loleta, the famous and rather rude pet parrot from South America. Not much has been written about Loleta, but it has been presumed that by 1948 she was long gone from the Inn. The hotel also offered a bike service where visitors could rent bicycles and ride them along the beach. Even though everyone used the beach as a highway at that time, it was only accessible when there was a creek nearby with a constant flow of water, which kept the sand hard enough for cars to drive on. Ecola Inn was one of the few spots that had a connecting ramp for cars or bicycles to use.

The hotel also featured a drug store that was connected to the south side of the building called Roth Drug Store. A man named Mr. Arnold was in charge of the pharmacy. A graduate in Pharmacy, he had more than 42 of experience in the drug store business in Chicago, Nebraska, Montana, Washington — with 25 of those years in Portland.

By the late 1930s, an extension was added onto the south side of the inn next to the drug store where were meals served. The restaurant was owned and operated by the Stevens family. Although they didn’t arrive to Cannon Beach until the late 1930s, they began serving the public with seafood in 1903. The restaurant went through several names (Ecola Sea Food Inn and Ecola Tavern) until it ended up being named the Ecola Restaurant. Breakfast was 20 cents, lunch was between 35 and 50 cents, dinner was 75 cents, an entire pie was 75 cents, and a seven-course meal was a $1! The restaurant was expanded and remodeled in the beginning of 1951, but was closed down in the fall of 1976 to make way for a new and updated Ecola Inn.

The conversion of the motel that you see today began in 1976, and was officially back open for business in the summer of 1981 with just 13 oceanfront rooms. Several generations have grown up at the Ecola Inn and continue to bring their families. The hotel continues to remain unique with a balance of nostalgia and modern needs, and the history of this place remains the same.

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