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Gardiner is the only actual town between Reedsport and Florence on Highway 101. It is on the north shore of the Umpqua River, a few miles downstream from Reedsport. Built as a lumber and shipping town in 1850, it is known for its historic white houses and pioneer cemetery. The major employer for many years was International Paper, but IP has left town and the last of the former plants are being dismantled.
Douglas County maintains a boat ramp on the river; there is limited adjacent parking. It offers excellent clamming opportunities at low tide and good fishing. A walking tour encompasses historic houses, a pioneer cemetery, and the little Episcopal Church overlooking the city. Early signs of an artistic community have been seen there.
The old Gardiner General Store has been converted into the Tsunami Gallery and now shows the works of bronze sculpture. Paintings and other works of art made by Oregon artists may also be found there.
Visitors to this historic community will find a mix of cultural heritage and outdoor activities available. Known as "the White City by the Sea," historic homes and cemetary are toured during Gardiner Founder's Days in September and there's an old-fashioned Fourth of July celebration with a community-wide potluck, children's games, and fireworks displayed over the Umpqua River. Outdoor activities include fishing and clamming off the Gardiner dock and hiking the historic Jedediah Smith Trail nearby.