Monday, May 18, 2015

Pagoda House(s)

After the Bayocean School (and now Cape Meares Community Center; see Cape Meares and Bayocean) the Pagoda house may be the most famous of the buildings moved from Bayocean to Cape Meares before a 1952 winter storm inflicted final destruction on the once thriving resort town.

A recent photo by the author of the Pagoda House in Cape Meares (address withheld to protect privacy of residents) 
There were actually two separate houses - a main house and a smaller guest cottage -which sat on a high dune at the corner of Seal Avenue and Clarke Street in Bayocean (according to a sketch by Bert and Margie Webber's sketch on page 42 of Bayocean: The Oregon Town That Fell Into the Sea). In the photo below, the door is facing Tillamook Bay, with a view out to the Pacific Ocean. MerryAnn Bennett, a Cape Meares resident, explained that  this was to enable easier ingress and egress during stormy weather. 
Photo from Oregon Historical Society photo collection 93-B.
MerryAnn and her husband Harold still live in the house that his father Lewis remodeled using lumber salvaged from their house on Bayocean (see Cape Meares and Bayocean). Harold remembers his mother cleaning house for the Miss Cake and Miss Brownell, the ladies who lived there. Harold's brother James did yard work and split wood for them, according to his widow Barbara, who recalls that they were retired teachers. On page 10 of Bert Webber's first book on Bayocean, What Happened At Bayocean: Is Salishan Next? Expanded Editionhe said the house was jointly owned by Drs. L.E. Cake and G.L. Gates. 

Photo by Howard "Buck" Sherwood
of Pagoda Houses being prepared for move
 from Cape Meares Community Center scrapbo

Photo by Buck Sherwood, courtesy of Mike Watkins,
 who lived in the Pagoda house(s) on Cape Meares














Woodrow Chase, an entrepreneurial logger from Willamina, bought the Pagoda Houses, and others, for next to nothing as sea waves approached. With the help of Milton and  Jerry Schlegel (Barbara's father and brother) he got them down a steep sand bank with a tractor. At the bottom they loaded them onto a flatbed truck. At times they used the tractor to push or pull the truck through bad spots. The Tillamook Headlight Herald of April 7, 1949 announced the start of the process. 

During that summer, Milton and Jerry excavated property purchased by Bob and Barbara Watkins, built a basement, and fit the two houses together on top. On August 11 the Tillamook Headlight Herald described a larger housewarming that celebrated its completion.  Mike Watkins  was a young boy then, but he recalls a dumbwaiter that came with the house which his father wouldn't let them use to lift wood from the basement. His father had them remove the fancy rafter end trim because it was too fancified. The porch was moved from the back to the front door to reduce drafts. As can be seen in the photos, the house originally had clapboard siding. Shingles were added before being moved and maintained for decades. More recent owners removed the shingles and went back to the original siding. Mike still owns a beach house next door.