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Maritime Museum Sails Toward Next Phase, After Years Of Delay

Lori Tobias
Pacific Maritime and Heritage Center director Steve Wyatt says the people of Newport dug deep and rallied to propel the museum into its next phase of development.

A Lincoln County, Ore. nonprofit is ready to launch the next phase of a museum project that seemed almost impossible not so long ago.

Efforts to transform a rotting chateau into the Pacific Maritime & Heritage Center have dragged on for nearly nine years. Now, organizers are moving quickly on a second renovation project at the museum.

The Lincoln County Historical Society bought the 30,000 square-foot gabled mansion in 2004 at a bargain basement price. Then volunteers went to work patching its crumbling walls and leaky roof. The idea was a museum to showcase the coast’s maritime history.

But when the recession hit in 2008, that vision began to look like so much pie-in-the-sky dreaming. Then, the county came through with a grant for a coat of paint on the 88-year-old French Chateau.

Center director Steve Wyatt says suddenly people took notice. They dug deep and pitched in.

“It’s been a real, a real grassroots effort pulling this rabbit out of the hat and people are really excited about it,” says Wyatt.

The museum opened its doors in June. The reception has been so positive, the nonprofit is now getting ready to renovate the lower level floor which will serve as an events center.

Wyatt hopes to be done as early as 2015.

On the Web:

Pacific Maritime & Heritage Center - Lincoln County Historical Society