Myrtle Point takes its name from the myrtle (California Myrtle or Bay Laurel) trees that grow profusely along the Coquille River.
Long before the arrival of Euro-American settlers, the area served as a seasonal hunting and fishing village for the Coquille tribe of Native Americans. The site is situated between the two points of confluence of the three forks of the Coquille River. The Middle and South Forks come together just upstream from Myrtle Point and the North Fork enters the main stem of the river just downstream from Myrtle Point. The town site marks the extent of the navigable river.
Originally settled in the early 1860s, Myrtle Point was known as Ott and Myersville, before early residents settled on Myrtle Point. The inception of the City of Myrlte Point occurred on February 4, 1887.
The story of Myrtle Point is inextricably linked to the lush valleys and forests of the southern coastal mountain range. Timber has been central to the city’s economy since it was founded in 1879, when it was homesteaded by speculative timber interests, among others.
Early settlers also took advantage of the fertile Coquille Valley and long growing season to build a booming agriculture industry in the area, with dairy farming and production of dairy products such as butter and cheese being supplied to communities as far away as San Francisco. Other agricultural products include sheep, beef cattle and specialty agricultural products.
With the completion of the railroad connecting Myrtle Point and the Coos Bay area in 1893, Myrtle Point experienced a pronounced period of growth. The town was the hub of 5 postal routes and the terminus of the railroad. Plans to connect with the Southern Pacific Railroad in Roseburg never came to fruition.
With the prosperity brought by timber and the railroad, older settlers who had started donation land claims built new, modest homes in the growing town. Often these same people tried their hand at business ventures and had success.
Many descendants of the original Myrtle Point families remain in the area today. They see their homes as family heirlooms. As a result, many historic homes and buildings still remain in Myrtle Point.
Visit www.coquillevalley.org to explore an extensive history of Myrtle Point and the Coquille Valley.