Coos County was created on December 22, 1853 from portions of Jackson County and Umpqua County (which later merged into Douglas County) and is 1,629 square miles. Its name was derived from the Coos Indian tribe. Coos County is bordered on the south by Curry County, the east and north by Douglas County and the west by the Pacific Ocean.Although trapping and exploration was happening in Coos County as early as 1828, the first settlement of Coos County did not occur until 1853 by The Coos Bay Company from Jacksonville, OR and was called Empire City. In 1854 the Territorial Legislature gave permission for the development of wagon roads from Coos Bay to Jacksonville and in 1857 from Coos Bay to Roseburg. In 1895 the legislature allowed the citizens of Coos County to choose a new county seat. It was decided to move the County seat from its original location in Empire City to Coquille. The original county seat of Empire City was renamed to Empire in 1894 and later consolidated with the city of Coos Bay in 1965.
The ‘Captain Lincoln’ ship wrecked on the north spit of Coos Bay in January of 1852. There were 52 soldiers on the ship who established a camp, met the local Indians and explored the bay. After their rescue, the stories of the soldiers grabbed the attention of miners, settlers and merchants. In 1853 settlers began to arrive and mine gold on the beaches.
Coos County has three major port districts for the Oregon Coast. The port of Coos Bay founded in 1909, Port of Coquille River founded in 1912 and the Port of Bandon founded in 1913. The Port of Coos Bay is the largest and best natural bay and harbor between San Francisco and Seattle. Huge amounts of timber and other products have been shipped from this port during its history. The Port of Coos Bay was the largest forest products shipper in the world until late 2005 when raw log exports via transport ship were suspended.
Although gold was the original attractant to the area, between 1890 and 1910 large amounts of coal were mined from Coos County and shipped to California. Production decreased after oil was discovered in California, but the coal mines continued operation through World War II and into 1950. Coos County now bases their economy on forest products, tourism, fishing and agriculture. However, the service industry is beginning to replace the former lumber driven economy.
There is a large variety of activities available in Coos County including but definitely not limited to the following:
Beachcombing ** Whale Watching **Crabbing ** Windsurfing ** Camping ** Fishing ** Salt Water Fishing ** Lighthouse Tours ** Bicycling ** Golfing ** Four Wheeling **