The Cavender Collection

The Cavender Collection consists of articles and photos regarding the promotion of land development in Manzanita. The earliest recollections are that people began picking Manzanita as a destination from the 1890s to 1920. The collection is filled with photos showing the dress and customs at that time.

Wheeler and Nehalem were already established as Lumber Mill towns, but Manzanita was still undeveloped. The Edwards family promoted the sale of land they called Classic Ridge. It was plotted out and advertised in Portland.

This collection was complied by Don and Louella Cavender. The pictures, letters, and papers were passed to them from Don’s father and mother, Clyde and Geneva Cavender. They were good friends of the sisters, Alice Weister and Louise Edwards. The girls’ parents lived among the Indians, but the girls lived in Portland with relatives. After their parents died the girls lived in Europe for three years.

Louise spent time in Germany, where at that time some of the great master musicians lived. Alice lived among the artists of France. Both were well-prepared for professions when they returned to their homeland.

Louise traveled to Canada to head the music department of a college, and met J.H. Edwards, whom she married. They returned to Portland where she founded The Oregon Conservatory of Music.

Alice was a strong advocate of art in schools, and put on the first art exhibit at the Oregon State Fair. Professionally she hand-colored slides for the Botany Department of the University of Oregon, for use in teaching. She also had knowledge of how to restore and protect old oil paintings. Her husband was the official photographer for the Great Northern Railroad and they traveled the lines where he took pictures, which she later painted for advertising. The work hung in offices and railroad depots in the early twentieth century to show people what they could see on a train journey.

Alice and Louise learned of the area through friends, and came by boat down the Columbia River then south by boat to Nehalem Bay, then up the river to the Indian Village of Nehalem, then two miles over the hill to the quiet vacation spot in “Manzanita by the sea.” Their luggage and steamer trunks were carted to the house from Nehalem by a local farmer. Another settler rented horses to them during their stay.

Others began hiking from Cannon Beach and Seaside; they followed the beach, then made their way through the forest following the Indian and animal trails around the face of Neahkahnie, high up on the mountain side. About a dozen or so friends of the Edwards and Weisters came each year.

They lived in a large two-story house located where Laneda Ave and Hwy 101 now intersect. (Manzanita Lumber, Big Wave Restaurant, total of about 200 acres.)

The Edwards’ hobby was the study of psychology. Louise Edwards and her friends met at this big house yearly to pursue this hobby. Louise arranged for a cook, and there was plenty of music. They made a trail down to the nearby lake and enjoyed boating and fishing in its clear water. The lake was named King Edwards Lake, later the name was changed to Lily Lake, and now it is Neahkahnie Lake.

In about 1912, The Weisters decided to have a cabin built where they could paint and get away. It was built on the old Indian trail, just off Laneda Ave., that led from the ocean to the lake where the Indians got their fresh water. The Weisters put in a well. Later, they built a larger house and used the water system for the new home.