Strolling the Promenade and famous Turnaround is a tradition synonymous with Seaside, Oregon, thanks to the 1.5- mile seawall and walkway that stretches the length of town.
“It’s always been a part of Seaside, and I think the most important part is because so few towns have that beautiful walk along the ocean,” longtime Seaside resident and local historian Gloria Stiger Linkey says.
Marking its 100th anniversary during a turbulent time in history, The Prom has already stood tranquil witness to a world war, previous pandemics and the eruption of Mt. St. Helens just 85 miles to the east. The path began as a boardwalk built in 1904 that connected to Pacific Pier, a wooden pier that jutted into the ocean. In 1920 the boardwalk, which was in constant need of repair from ocean damage, began to be replaced with the concrete walkway that exists today. The Turnaround marks the former spot of the pier, which was destroyed for good in 1914.
From 1937 to 1947, Stiger Linkey lived in a house along the Prom. Without a television, her entertainment was her window. She sat transfixed as men walked by in suits and ties, arm in arm with women in shirtdresses and legs painted to look like nylons. Everyone wore a hat and gloves. “It was kind of a social event,” she says. “Everybody walked the Prom on a Saturday night. They’d walk downtown to the Turnaround, down Broadway, look at everything and come back.”
She remembers visiting the natatorium, an indoor saltwater pool for winter swimming, and covering up her home’s windows during World War II for fear of attack. She stood on the Prom and watched from afar as the Japanese bombarded Fort Stevens, 14 miles north near Astoria.
With its panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean and vibrant mix of classic and newer businesses, experiencing The Prom is one of the Oregon Coast’s most enduring traditions. Today The Prom remains a great path for a morning jog, an ideal spot to post up for a sunset and the perfect place for a stroll with those you love—and looks to remain so for generations to come.
Visit Seaside in 2021 and be part of the never-before, never-to-happen-again Great Prom Centennial Sweepstakes.