Oysterville Historic District

Status: Watch List

Year Listed: 2014

Founded in 1854, Oysterville is located in southwest Washington on the western shore of Willapa Bay, where an abundant source of oysters supported a booming shellfish industry. Oysterville’s population peaked at about 900 residents in the 1870s. Today, a fine collection of mostly painted-wood, clapboard and shiplap sided structures with distinctive period architectural details remains, including two excellent examples of carpenter gothic farmhouses. Collectively, the historic structures dating from as early as the 1850s comprise a National Register Historic District. The success of the historic district has created challenges, however, as the idyllic setting and small town feel has drawn a comparatively high volume of new construction within the district. Though a local Design Review Board is in place to ensure new buildings are compatible with the surrounding historic character, some integrity has been lost. Complicating matters, Pacific County, which has jurisdiction over the district, has been unwilling to intervene in instances where property owners have bypassed the required review process. Those concerned with the long term integrity of the district hope to see the county
play a larger role in helping to support historic preservation in Oysterville.