Hamlet, Oregon

Hamlet is an unincorporated community in Clatsop County, Oregon. Located approximately 6 miles southeast of the Necanicum Junction of US-26 and OR-53, in the northern Oregon Coast Range near the confluence of the North Fork Nehalem River and the Little North Fork Nehalem River. It is surrounded by units of the Clatsop State Forest.

The community was founded by Finns, and at times has operated a post office, a school, and a cemetery. The post office closed in 1953, with mail going to Seaside, and the Hamlet Schoolhouse currently serves as the community center. The cemetery is located approximately 1/2 mile up Hill Road, on top of the hill on the east side.

“Hamlet never had a store or a church or anything like that – just a post office, which was in our house, and the school, and the cemetery – and they’re all part of the past now. But it was a nice place to grow up in – and still a good place to live in. I mean, it’s a good place to get away to.”

Vernon Hill, speaking with author Ralph Friedman (Tracking Down Oregon, 1978)

Original Founding and Post Office

The small community of Hamlet can trace its origins back to 1891, when on hunting trip in the area, three brothers – Albert, Henry, and Andrew Hill – spotted the beautiful valley while atop a ridge and decided to homestead there. The brothers were Finnish fishermen out of Astoria, and their original last name was Mäkelä, meaning Hill in Finnish, which they changed their name to. The area of the community was settled by Finns.

The Hamlet post office was established in approximately 1905 in the home of the first postmaster, Albert Hill.4,5 The post office was established after a petition was brought by a resident living in the valley of the North Fork Nehalem River, Hutinen, to the nearby postmaster of Necanicum, Herman Ahlers, asking for a post office to be called Hamlet.5 When asked by Ahlers if the place was named after Shakespeare’s play, or if it was just a small community, Hutinen told him that it was the latter.5 After Albert Hill’s death in 1923, August Tokola took over as postmaster, with the Post Office moving to his homestead.9 In 1953, the Hamlet Post Office closed down, and mail began being delivered to Seaside.5

(In a story posted in the Seaside Signal on January 10, 1929, another resident from the area, A.W. Utzinger, stated that Hamlet was once called Push in honor of the Astoria Push Club, and that the name was changed to Hamlet to compliment a member of the club, Harry Hamlet, who was interested in the development of the locality. Herman Ahlers refuted those claims, instead stating that it was the Necanicum post office that was called Push, not the Hamlet post office. Ahlers also stated that the Astoria Push Club did not have any interest in locality. Government records back up Ahlers’s statement, and Utzinger was mistaken.)5

Hamlet Rural Fire Protection District

The Hamlet Rural Fire Protection District (Hamlet RFPD), also known as the Hamlet Volunteer Fire Department (Hamlet VFD), extends along US-26 from milepost 4 to 14 in the north, along OR-53 from the Necanicum Junction to milepost 3, and about 7 miles up Hamlet Road. In total, the Hamlet RFPD covers an area of about 180 square miles, including the Saddle Mountain State Park, which has a campground and is the highest point in Clatsop County with an elevation of 3,287 feet.6

The Hamlet RFPD is made up entirely of volunteers and includes two fire stations. The Hamlet Main Station, which was built in 19307, is located on US-26 at milepost 8. The 2nd station, which was built in 19887, is located along Hamlet Road, next door to the Historic Hamlet Schoolhouse.

Hamlet Station located next to the historic schoolhouse

To learn more about the current Hamlet RFPD, visit their website (https://hamletfire.specialdistrict.org) or follow the Hamlet Fire Department Facebook.

Hamlet Historical Schoolhouse

The first school in Hamlet was located in the old Asvik House, was taught by Katie Osgood in about 18994, and was the site of learning for both children and adults alike in the small community. In about 19154 or 19117, a new school was built and operated until 19364 when students were then bussed to attend school in Seaside.

The Hamlet Historical Schoolhouse, located approximately 4 miles down Hamlet road from OR-53, operates as a center for the community and hosts events such as potlucks and celebrations.

Hamlet Schoolhouse April 2024

Hamlet Cemetery

The Hamlet Cemetery, located within the wooded hilltop about 1/2 mile up Hill Road from Hamlet Road, remains the final resting place for several of the original Hamlet homesteaders.

Hamlet Cemetery: Burial of Andrew Mäkelä (Hill) in 1927(left); Similar perspective in 2024(right)


Hamlet, Oregon is situated in the south-central part of Clatsop County. Located approximately 6 miles southeast of the Necanicum Junction of US-26 and OR-53, in the northern Oregon Coast Range near the confluence of the North Fork Nehalem River and the Little North Fork Nehalem River. While most of Hamlet is located within Township 4 North, Range 8 West, from the Willamette Principal Meridian – portions of T4NR9W, T5NR9W, and T5NR8W are also significant to the area.

Marie Holst Pottsmith

Marie Holst Pottsmith (1882-1980), from the Dakotas, made her way to Oregon in 1905 to teach at Keizer to earn tuition for the University of Oregon’s teaching training program. In 1908, she was advised to teach in a mountain school, where the school year ran from spring through early fall, to make the most of her time before college started. In March of 1908, Marie arrived by railroad at Seaside – from there, she traveled by horseback eight miles to the village of Hamlet.10

Marie spent eight months in Hamlet, boarding with the Albert Hill family. When not teaching the Hamlet children in the schoolhouse, she spent time amongst the various Hamlet families, and capturing daily life with her Eastman folding Kodak camera. Below are several images that Marie captured.


  1. “Hamlet, Oregon,” Wikipedia, June 14, 2023, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamlet,_Oregon.
  2. Ralph Friedman, In Search of Western Oregon (Caldwell: The Caxton Printers, Ltd., 1990), 26, 145.
  3. Ralph Friedman, Oregon for the Curious, 3rd ed. (Caldwell: The Caxton Printers, Ltd., 1993 [1972]), 37.
  4. Ralph Friedman, “The Small Drama of Hamlet,” in Tracking Down Oregon (Caldwell: The Caxton Printers, Ltd., 1990 [1978]), 35-42.
  5. Lewis A. McArthur and Lewis L. McArthur, “Hamlet,” in Oregon Geographic Names, 7th ed. (Portland: Oregon Historical Society Press, 2003), 439-430
  6. “Hamlet Rural Fire Protection District,” 2023, https://hamletfire.specialdistrict.org/.
  7. Clatsop County GIS Webmaps, https://delta.co.clatsop.or.us/apps/ClatsopCounty/.
  8. “Hamlet, Oregon,” 2005, www.vannattabros.com/geo29.html.
  9. “U.S., Appointments of U. S. Postmasters, 1832-1971, ” Ancestry.com, 2010.
  10. Marie Holst Pottsmith photographs, Org. Lot 460, Oregon Historical Society Research Library, https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/org-lot-460-marie-holst-pottsmith-photographs
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