Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Bayocean's Dinky Railroad

The popular belief that the fencing around the modern Bayocean Spit parking lot is made with rails from the resort town's railroad is unfortunately false. In "Chapter 8" of  Bayocean: The Oregon Town that Fell Into the SeaBert and Margie Webber point out that the rails used for the parking lot fence are standard size, while Bayocean's was what the Potter's referred to in their promotional material as a "dinky" railroad. This was recently confirmed by Harold Bennett, who grew up on Bayocean in the late 1940s. The engine was gone by then, but many of the rails remained. 


Photo of "dinky" railroad picking up construction material
from a barge,  from Tillamook County Pioneer Museum
Tourists riding "dinky" railroad shows how small it was,
from  from Tillamook County Pioneer Museum


Section of rail from "dinky" railroad
 contributed by Dale Webber for
a 2014 exhibit on Bayocean at the
Tillamook County Pioneer Museum
The small rails and engine made it possible for workers to change the route as one building was completed and another begun. The route always began on the dock where they construction materials could be unloaded from barges directly. On occasion it would be used to give guests of the resort a fun ride. 

The Webbers led a 1972 search party that found remnants of "dinky" rails, which they promptly hid on the spit and later shared among those involved. Thankfully, the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum received a piece one for its archives.

A "dinky" rail system was also used by the Whitney Lumber Company, over at Kilchis Point, starting in 1919. This was after Bayocean Park was completed, so this may be where their engine ended up. According to Gary Albright, the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum Director, and driving force behind the Kilchis Point Reserve, the rounded point at the end of the Reserve trail was deposited after the ocean created a 3/4 mile wide gap in the Bayocean in November 1952. Kilchis Point proper is south of the Reserve on private land. The end of the trail would have been a little bay where Whitney dumped its logs, to be taken to its mill in Garibaldi.  

Plaque along the Kilchis Point Reserve trail 


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