History of Brookings, OR
Brookings-Harbor remained under control of a Native American tribe called the Cheti up until 1853, when a small group of white settlers arrived in the the Chetco River Valley. Shortly after their arrival, the natives were driven onto the Siletz Indian Reservation near Newport and were renamed the Chetco by the settlers who drove them out. The new name for the Cheti natives was given to the river that has sustained them, calling it the Chetco River. Settlers soon turned the Chetco Harbor into a major port along the Pacific Ocean.
Up until 1891, the area around Chetco Harbor was made up of an array of stores, hotels, farms, and ranches and was not an actual town. In 1891, the Chetco Land and Townsite Company stepped in and created the town of Harbor. In 1904 the County established a ferry across the Chetco at a point about one fourth of a mile above the E. L. Miller home at the mouth of Ferry Creek. The ferry was discontinued in 1915 when a bridge spanning the river was built.
Timber soon became the region’s economic backbone and the Brookings Timber and Lumber Company went to work and eventually turned the area known as “Brookings” into a major lumber-producing town. In 1921, the Company began the construction of a railroad bridge across the mouth of the Chetco River so that redwood logs could be hauled from the logging camps in California to the mill in Brookings. In 1925, the C&O company quit the operation and the bridge burned in the 1930s.
In September of 1942, a small Japanese plane piloted by Nobuo Fujita dropped a bomb just north of the Brookings Harbor area. Launched from an offshore submarine, Nobuo Fujita believed that dropping the bomb would create a panic similar to what the Americans had experienced with the Oregon coastal fires in the 1930’s. The fires were quickly extinguished, but Nobuo Fujita remains notorious for representing the only foreign power to have dropped a bomb on the continental United States during World War II.
Since dropping the bomb, Fujita has several times returned to the area as a mission of peace and friendship, even donating his cherished samurai sword to the city in 1962. In 1992, on the 50th anniversary of the bombing Fujita planted a symbolic redwood on the exact spot where the bomb landed. The bombing was further commemorated in 1994 with an on-site historical marker. To discover this and more about Brookings rich history, please visit their official website at: www.BrookingsOr.com.