Upon creation of Curry County, the Territorial Legislature fixed the county seat temporarily at Port Orford until the citizens of the county could determine a permanent site. In 1859, following an informal vote of county citizens during the general election, Ellensburg was designated the county seat. In 1891 Ellensburg was renamed Gold Beach because of the gold and other minerals found in the sands in this area and to eliminate confusion with the city of Ellensburg located in the state of Washington.
In 1852, explorers discovered gold and other precious metals in the rivers and along the beaches of this area. Initially, settlement in the county was concentrated along the coast and depended primarily on water transport. The slow development of inland transportation routes kept the county relatively isolated well into the twentieth century. While there is still some mining of cobalt, nickel, and chromium in the southern part of the county, most of the county's economy has reoriented to agriculture, recreation, tourism and forest products. Port Orford cedar (Lawson Cypress) and myrtlewood are important export commodities.
The county has excellent grazing areas for raising cattle and sheep as well as favorable environmental conditions for the production of blueberries, cranberries, and horticultural nursery stock. The Harbor Bench area of southern Curry and northern Del Norte counties produces ninety percent of all Easter lilies raised in the United States. Vacation and recreational possibilities in the county draw tourists to the area and provide additional economic diversity.
To find out more about relocating into the area, we encourage you to use the following resources: