The most northerly settlement on the peninsula, was founded in 1854, and became the seat of Pacific County in 1861. For a while oystering prospered, but the town declined when parasites and pollution of the waters caused severe losses. The rival town of South Bend, pointing to promised railroad connections, won the county seat in 1892. In the long dispute that followed, Oysterville protested that railroad workers had been illegally allowed ballots in order to swing the vote. The Oysterville courthouse, from which determined South Bend citizens carried off the records, was later used for a two year period as the Peninsula College.
Points of Interest
Oysterville Historic District
The district has one of the earliest periods of significance in the state. Numerous well-cared for structures, many dating from the 1870s, and the community’s orientation to the water provide a narrative landscape that speaks not only to the early days of settlement but also to the important role ocean-borne resources played in Washington’s development. The Oysterville historic district consists of fifteen buildings with historic and architectural significance including ten residences, a church, a courthouse and a cannery. This is all that remains of a once thriving community that was the seat of Pacific County from 1855 to 1892. When Oysterville was platted in 1854 a fairly regular grid of square blocks was established adjacent to the beach. Of the original townsite, Front Street is now under water at high tide, and First Street and Main Street, which are the next rights-of-way inland, are abandoned over half their length. All but a few of the surviving buildings are located on Fourth Street some distance from the tidelands.