Hug  [hʌg]

verb

1. a universal form of human intimacy expressed by holding someone tightly to your body with your arms; an embrace

2. to cling onto a particular idea or concept

3. to stay physically close to an object

noun

4. the act of hugging

5. Hug Point: a 42-acre Oregon State Recreation Site located approximately five miles south of Cannon Beach to the west of U.S. 101 just north of Arch Cape. This stretch of sandy cove beach and its forested headlands include a waterfall, caves and tide pools to explore during low tide. Hug Point becomes impassable during high tide.

Origin:

Enters English in the mid-16th century most likely from a Scandinavian source. Compare to the Old Norwegian and Old Icelandic hugga, which means “to comfort.” It is first noted as a noun in 1617 as a hold in wrestling. It wasn’t until the 1650s that its common association with an affectionate embrace is recorded.

Hug Point is said to have gotten its name from late-19th century travelers, who used the beach as a stagecoach route — the only way to gain access to Arch Cape in the south. The rustic beach road was carved into the head, which the coaches had to “hug” to get by. When the road was blasted out of the rock face and by whom continues to be a source of debate.

“In the 1910s, a roadway was blasted out at Hug Point, which made the road accessible to automobiles as well as coaches, though it was only usable at low tide. Several sources claim it dates to 1920, when a man from Arch Cape bought a brand-new Maxwell motorcar and tried to drive it home. It reportedly got stuck in the surf while driving around the point, and the incoming tide submerged it. The man was so angry he raised subscriptions from his neighbors, bought dynamite and blasted out the roadbed — so the story goes. Stagecoaches, wagons and now automobiles could finally cross Hug Point at low tide without getting pickled in corrosive saltwater. And cross it they did, regularly; after all, there was no alternative. To this day, you can still see the wheel ruts from the original stagecoach road dug into the rocks.”

—​ Elaine Murdy-Trucke, “How Hug Point got its name,” The Daily Astorian, Friday Extra, Feb. 13, 2015

“For a long time Hug Point was considered quite a drawback to that part of the beach south of it, as it was passable to vehicles only at extreme low tide, but the perseverance and energy of the people soon found a remedy for the drawback, and with the aid of drill and powder they carved a perfect roadway around the solid rock point, making a passable highway at nearly any stage of the tide.”

—Herman Rose, “Most Picturesque Stretch of the Pacific Shore,” The Sunday Oregonian, August 14, 1904, P. 31

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