SHORE ACRES STATE PARK
Perched on rugged sandstone cliffs high above the ocean, Shore Acres State Park is an exciting and unexpected combination of beautiful natural and constructed features. Once the grand estate of pioneer timber baron Louis Simpson, Shore Acres features lushly planted gardens with plants and flowers from all over the world. Something is in bloom almost every day of the year.
In the landscaped area you'll discover a formal garden, an oriental-style pond and two rose gardens which include an All American Rose Selection display. From Thanksgiving through New Years, the gardens are ablaze with thousands of colored lights and holiday decorations put up by community volunteers and The Friends of Shore Acres in cooperation with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.
After seeing the garden, you can stroll down a trail to a secluded ocean cove at Simpson Beach or skirt the cliff?s edge to see spectacular ocean vistas which often include towering waves crashing against the shoreline after a storm and migrating grey whales. On the site of Simpson's vanished mansion, a fully enclosed observation building will allow you to view the ocean and protect you from the weather. The observation building has interpretive panels describing the history of the Simpson estate.
The Friends of Shore Acres operate a gift and information center at the entrance to the formal gardens where visitors can purchase items that relate to the historical and natural features of Shore Acres. The Friends also sponsor a variety of horticultural and cultural events at the garden throughout the year.
A large Monterey pine (pinus radiata) dates back to the historic Louis J. Simpson estate. A member of the national Big Tree Register, the pine is 95 feet tall with a 208-inch truck circumference and a 74-foot crown spread. It shares co-champion honors with a Monterey pine in Carmel, California, which has a smaller trunk, but a wider crown. It was probably planted around 1910.
Located on the southern coast of Oregon, this 745-acre park was initially a private estate owned by Louis J. Simpson, an influential shipbuilder and lumberman in Coos County during the early 20th century. The property originally featured a luxurious mansion with formal gardens that were open to public viewing.
In 1906, after his first house burned down due to unknown reasons, Simpson built another extravagant home featuring imported marble from Italy for its columns and walls along with exotic plants for his garden which included Japanese lilies and Dutch tulips among others.
However, financial difficulties led him to sell most of his assets including the grand residence in late-1920s. In subsequent years it served as a summer retreat center until it too succumbed to fire damage in mid-1940s leaving only gardener's cottage intact today serving as interpretive center showcasing history about former owners' lifestyle.
The State Highway Commission purchased land surrounding these ruins around same time intending development into recreational area leading towards creation of present-day state park known widely for botanical garden filled with rare flowers blooming throughout year attracting visitors worldwide.
Over decades since establishment various improvements have been made such as addition picnic facilities or restoration efforts preserving original character like English-style formal gardens designed by landscape architect George Hume while also incorporating new features enhancing visitor experience notably holiday light display held annually between Thanksgiving Day through New Year's Eve illuminating entire place beautifully at night making one feel they've stepped inside fairy tale world!