Word Nerd: Stringtown

The Wallacut River runs toward Ilwaco, Wash., from the Stringtown area.

Stringtown [striŋ•taʊn]


1. a rural, unincorporated residential community of homes and farms overlooking Baker Bay in Pacific County on the Long Beach Peninsula. Located west of U.S. Highway 101, the community unfurls along Stringtown Road about three miles south of Ilwaco, Wash., between the Chinook and Wallacut rivers

The area was original settled by William P. Edwards as a Donation Land Claim around 1850. Edwards was murdered by his wife and her boyfriend in 1863. In 1892, Samuel and Harriet Sweeney filed their homestead as “Sweeneton,” giving the region its first official name. Some six years later in 1898, the town failed and was vacated by Pacific County.

Subsequently, the area became known as “Pleasantville” for several decades following this disbandment, due to the stunning views of Baker Bay and the Columbia River offered by the locale. In 1913, Andrew and Josephine Johnson subdivided their land, creating long, slim plats with bay frontage trailing up into pasture. These skinny lots of land led to the area’s current name, “Stringtown,” which is also the name of the road that loops through it.

“From the outside, it doesn’t appear a lot has changed for an aging 6,000-square-foot building along Stringtown Road in Ilwaco. Inside however, owner Marty Junge has been on a one-man mission over the past two years retrofitting the old barn into a modern marijuana farm. Junge, 62, is among 20 licensed marijuana growers who have taken root in Pacific County since legalization in 2014.”

—Luke Whittaker, “High expectations: Former mason turns stagnant Ilwaco structure into modern marijuana farm,” Chinook Observer, May 9, 2018

“Ron’s Recycling manages to find treasure among the clunkers that end up at the wrecking yard on Stringtown Road.

Ron Shivers and his daughter, Kristy, part out the cars that come into the yard. That’s the most profitable part of the business, she said.”

—Mike Williams, “Junk in the trunk means money in the bank for Ron’s Recycling,” The Daily Astorian, Feb. 4, 2015

Note: Regarding a recent column on “Walluski,” a reader further illuminated the fate of the Walluski School. While the article quoted The Sunday Oregonian about a fire that burned down the school in 1921, Jim Jarvis of Astoria informed us that the school was reconstructed. Jarvis attended the one-room schoolhouse between 1936-1944 and says the building was also used as a community center for a number of years before once again succumbing to flames. Thanks to Mr. Jarvis for filling in this bit of local history!

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