The name of this town originally was “Newton” a name drawn from Albitha Newton who established the settlement along Yaquina River where Elk Creek joins the Yaquina and this was in 1860. The first post office in the town was established in 1888 after which the postmaster at the time changed the town’s name to Elk City, which was also the name given to the post office.
Going by its location, this town became the terminus for steamboat traffic coming from the towns on the bay below and logging activities were common here too. It is believed that the first structure to be established here could have been a warehouse for road crew since Elk City had become the western terminus of a toll road. The Yaquina Bay Wagon Road Company operated the toll road at the time.
Common along this route were fishermen, mail and hunters that accessed Elk City over the toll road originating from Corvallis on stagecoaches. Two hotels were also operating in the area and this is where travelers would come in to spend a day crossing the Coast Range on the toll road as well.
For those spending a night here while on transit, they would later travel to other destinations within the vicinity of the area aboard ferries. These included Toledo, Yaquina City, Newport and Oysterville. An increase in demand for oysters in San Francisco fuelled the setting up of the toll road and the establishment of the settlement around here too.
Yaquina Bay was located on the Coast Reservation and though shellfish and fish were in plenty here, the area was inaccessible, since it had been set aside in the 1850s for Indians. This meant that settlement in this area was also limited and un-official for that matter. This lasted until 1866 when James W. Nesmith, the Oregon Senator at the time dissolved the reservation and opened it up for settlement.
After a period of acting as a road stop and an outdoorsmen’s resort, Elk City became a camp for railroad constructers in the 1880s. This was after there was found need to extend the railroad from the coast to Willamette Valley and Chinese labor is said to have been engaged in the task at the time.
Construction works on the railroad reached completion in 1885 and Elk City went back to its former lifestyle of being a haven for anglers and hunters. Other establishments in the town included a Wells Fargo express agent, a store, train depot, hotel and a livery. Later on, saw mills were put up in the town boosting the economy further. This was during the start of the Great War.
The same was experienced during the Second World War that saw demand for lumber rise once more but this period did not last. A covered bridge had been built in the area in 1922 but in 1981, it was blown by a windstorm into the river and efforts to restore it never bore fruit. Elk City finally bowed out after the Second World War and today it lies in an unknown state, though satellite maps indicate that there are numerous structures still standing here.