Updated: Sep. 07, 2021, 9:32 a.m. | Published: Aug. 29, 2021, 7:47 a.m.
By Cheri Brubaker | Yachats News
Louis Southworth, who traveled the Oregon Trail to Oregon in the 1850s as a young Black slave, bought his freedom for $1,000 in 1858. As a free man, he homesteaded near Alsea Bay just east of Waldport and eventually donated land for the area’s first school.
So when the city of Waldport was searching for a name for a new 12-acre park, Jesse Dolin, a destination coordinator for the Oregon Coast Visitors Association who grew up near Southworth’s one-time homestead, suggested naming it after the prominent early Black resident.
In May, the Waldport City Council officially agreed on the name Louis Southworth Park. In August, the visitors association contracted with a bronze artist to create a statue of the Black homesteader for a signature entrance to the park. It drew on its public arts budget funded by Travel Oregon’s rural cooperative tourism program.