Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Farley Reset


In Stand Under Bayocean Hotel Annex's Chimney I used datasheets for two survey control stations on Bayocean that no longer exist in order to pinpoint where the Bayocean Hotel and the Bayside Inn had been located on today’s landscape. Three other stations have also disappeared. Only one station, maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, remains. The Farley Reset datasheet says it was first established in 1935. Like Bayocean's initial point, the original monument has been replaced with a  bronze disc. But it still has historical significance, so I wanted to find it. On October 30, 2016 my bushwhacking buddy Eleanor Culhane joined me in the search.

Following datasheet directions we hiked 2.5 miles north from the gate at the Bayocean parking lot, and then west on a game trail to the top of a high dune just a few hundred feet away. In 1975 the dune was still described as being covered with short vegetation. Now the trees and brush are so thick that I’d hiked past it many times without knowing it was there. When Eleanor found Reference Mark No. 3 (another bronze disc) near the end of the trail at the top, we knew we were close. We had to do a little bushwhacking, but nothing like that required to reach Bayocean’s highest point. An orange, plastic witness post stood out from the greenery, but that was different than described in the last datasheet update, and the station disc was not two feet east of it, so that threw us off for a bit. But after clearing a circle all the way around the the post we found the disc two feet north of it.

Why was it there? David Moore, a surveyor from Albany, Oregon, said stations like this were set up all along the coast, and for miles inland, after average sea levels were determined in 1927. They were used by land surveyors to calibrate their equipment for elevation, after checking for updates. Though latitude and longitude were added to the datasheets, surveyors used other monuments to calibrate for that. This dune was an obvious choice for a station because it was high and stable. A hydro signal originally placed next to it must have have been visible from Tillamook Bay before trees obstructed its view. 

"Farley house in Barview before the Jetty" Tillamook County Pioneer Museum, 82.254.R. 
Why the name Farley? It must have been to honor Captain Robert Farley, who was in charge of the first Coast Guard Lifesaving Station at Tillamook Bay from its beginning in 1908 until his retirement in 1935, when the station was named. Ironically, Captain Farley’s own home at Barview was a casualty of coastal erosion prior to the first jetty being constructed.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Four Currin Cabins

The photos below were taken by Carl Schonbrod (Dorian Studies, Tillamook, OR) during the week prior to January 24, 1953, when a photo similar to the one on the right appeared in the Oregonian, with just a caption saying the cabin and its furnishings had since slid into the ocean. I wanted to know where the cabin started its journey and who owned it. 

Contact photos provided by John Chaix, friend of the Schonbrods. 
After chasing leads nowhere for months, I sent the photo to Perry Reeder. He recognized the house as one of two little cabins sitting next to each other uphill and to the northwest from the Strowgers on Bay Street, who Bayocean alumni will likely remember. Perry didn’t know the owners of the house. He and his buddies just called it the “fish pond house” because it had a manmade pond with some gold fish in it.

Perry’s description best fit block 48 on the Bayocean plat map. I noticed that property taxes on the 1958 Tillamook Circuit Court foreclosure proceedings were much higher for lots 23 and 24 than others in the area. These lots were owned by H. W. and Laura E. Currin. I found a 1919 photo of Harvy William and Laura Estella Currin’s family at Find-A-Grave provided by their niece, Anna Dunlap, and a biography written by one of their daughters, Ruth Currin Spaniol. After Dunlap confirmed that the Currins had lost a cabin on Bayocean, I read Spaniol's biography Over the die-or-do: a story of a marriage at the Oregon Historical Society.

1919 Currin family photo, from niece/cousin Anna Dunlap.
Harvy Currin’s ancestors arrived in Oregon as pioneers in 1845 and settled at Currinsville, just north of Estacada. By the 1940s Harvy and Laura had a thriving real estate business in Hillsboro. They knew houses had been washing away for decades on Bayocean, but in 1945 decided to take a chance on “two little houses sitting side by side…they and all their family could have at least $600 worth of fun there before those houses, too, were washed away.” Even grandchildren helped fix up the cabins, including painting Dutch designs on shutters, which they recognized eight years later in the Oregonian photo. In 1949, seeing the ocean approaching their hilltop cabins, the Currins bought another house further south.

Next I searched Tillamook County deed book indexes and discovered that the Currins bought a lot more property on Bayocean than mentioned in their biography. In addition to cabin lots 23 and 24 in block 48, they purchased most of block 47, which was between them and Bay Street, just north of the Strowgers. The Oregonian caption said the Hance brother had built the cabin, so Ella May Hutchinson, first owner of the lots in 1911, likely had them built soon after that, while the Hance brothers were active on Bayocean. W.B. and Esther Combs were later co-owners. Together they sold the cabins to Will and Mary Stacey in 1932, who then sold them to Currins.

The house Currins purchased in 1949 was on lot 33 of block 44. In his papers, Buck Sherwood said Judge Richardson owned the house, so I’m guessing that's the name that living Bayocean alumni will know it by as well. However, John and Carrie Fosdick sold it to the Currins, and James McDrea and A. M. Crawford also owned it after Richardson. The Currins actually lost this cabin first, when the ocean ripped out the southern section of Bayocean on November 13, 1952. “Fish pond house” and its partner were at the southern end of the island that remained. They fell within a couple months.

What most surprised me is that on June 25, 1952, the Currins bought lots 29-31 of block 57. The house on lot 29 may be remembered as Mueller’s by Bayocean alumni, but Frank and Rose Dordan, John and Ethel Scott, and Edwin and Jean Jenkins owned it after them. This Currin house was half filled with sand when the US Army Corps of Engineers built the dike that sealed the gap in 1956, one of just three houses left standing. The last of these, belonging to the Notdurfts, fell in 1960. 

In 1957 the Currins bought a lot in Garibaldi but sold it just four years later, not long before Harvy's death. Tillamook County deed books show the property passing through many hands over the decades since then. The current tax lot number eluded me but Wendy Schink, Tillamook County Cartographer, quickly determined it was 21BD02200. This .86 acre lot climbs the hill behind Garibaldi and the home there has a great view of Bayocean. The Currins would have loved it. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

T. B. Potter's Success Before Bayocean


Photo of Thomas Benton Potter, from 
Dobbins-Duff  family Tree at Ancestry.com.
The 1900 U.S. Census shows T. B. (Thomas Benton) Potter working as an advertising agent, and his family living as boarders in a household of ten, at 232 S. Hill Street in Los Angles, California. A year later they were living at 418 Eugene in Portland, Oregon, and Potter had formed a real estate partnership with H.L. Chapin, with offices at 246 Stark (1901 and 1903 R. L. Polk Portland City Directories via Ancestry.com). Burt and Margie Webber say Potter amassed a fortune from 1902-1906 developing subdivisions in Kansas City, Missouri, Portland, Oregon, and Half Moon Bay, California (Bayocean: The Oregon Town that Fell Into the Sea, Appendix D). He lost most of his fortune chasing a dream at Bayocean, but neighborhoods and buildings give tribute to his earlier success to this day, several of them named after his daughter, Arleta Natalia Potter. 
I was surprised to discover that Sail (Multnomah County’s GIS system) lists not just one, but four Alberta Parks. The first was platted in NE Portland in 1902. Alberta Parks No. 2, 3, and 4 were platted in 1903 and 1904 in SE Portland. Neither Potter or Chapin are listed as original owners, but Potter & Chapin are shown as sales agents in newspaper ads. City directories show that they were in the same office as William Grindstaff, a realtor who owned and platted the first Arleta Park. Multnomah County deed records show an Arleta Land Company purchasing and selling all four of the Arleta Parks, plus three additional subdivisions: Lester Park, Ina Park, and Elberta in NE Portland. Incorporation papers at the Oregon State Archives list the stockholders of the Arleta Land Company as Potter, Chapin, and their wives. 

Arleta Park No. 3 is the only subdivision located within the Mt. Scott –Arleta Neighborhood, and it makes up just a very small part of it. The reason its name was attached to the larger neighborhood is that Arleta quickly became a community of its own, with its own Arleta School, post office,  and library, all named after it. Grocery stores and other retail stores made it a retail hub. Potter and Chapin likely chose the location because it was midway between downtown Portland and Lents on the Mt. Scott Trolley. The lots were cheap relative to downtown, so working families could afford to buy them, build a home, and catch the trolley to work each day. 

A. Natalia (Potter) Dobbins,
from Dobbins-Duff Family
Tree at Ancestry.com
In 1906 T. B. Potter developed another Arleta Park at Half Moon Bay on his own (as well as another subdivision called Reis, per California newspaper ads). He likely saw the potential of this area becoming a suburb of San Francisco by way of the Ocean Shore Railroad, which reached there in October, 1908. Local history buffs indicate (via Wikipedia) that there was an Arleta Station at Railroad Avenue and Poplar Street that is now used as a residence. 

Webbers suggest that Arleta started going by Natalie as an adult because she didn’t appreciate her father naming subdivisions after her. One can just imagine schoolmates kidding her about having an entire community in Portland named after her. She must have got her point across, because nothing in Bayocean Park bore her name. However, Arleta was the last Potter to own any property on Bayocean. She stopped paying taxes on lot 81 in block 39 only after an ocean storm destroyed it in 1952.

Between the Arleta Parks in Oregon and California, T. B. Potter developed Marlborough Heights Addition in Kansas City. Francis and Ida Mitchell, who always claimed to have bought the first Bayocean lot, were from Kansas City (1900 US Census). Dr. G. W. Rice, who bought the Mitchell's store in 1914, but lost it to Tillamook County Bank just a year later, was from Jackson County, where Kansas City is located (Torrens Registry Certificate # 386, Tillamook County Pioneer Museum). So were many others listed in Bayocean Park deed records at the Tillamook County Clerk's office. As late as 1911, the Kansas City directory (via Ancestry.com) shows an office for T. B. Potter Realty Co. at 416 R A Long Bldg. They may have had a Bayocean sales office there as they did elsewhere across the U.S.   

Potter and Chapin had no problem selling Bayocean lots. They went fast. But building and running a resort requires a completely different skill set, and the railroad to Tillamook took three years longer than projected to finally get there. The hectic schedule and stress may have been what caused Potter's health to fail. In 1910 he retreated to his home in California, where he died in 1916. By then, his son Thomas Irving, and wife had lost control of Bayocean to a court receivership. Two succeeding ownership groups couldn't make a financial go of it either. The Bayocean dream failed financially long before the ocean washed it away. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

William George Owned Mitchell's General Store

The store operated by Francis and Ida Mitchell was the heart of Bayocean for most of its existence. It stood on the southwest corner 12th Avenue and Bay Street, which was the central intersection. The Bayside Hotel stood on the southeast corner of that intersection. To get to the natatorium on the ocean beach, you'd travel west on 12th. And to get up to the Bayocean Hotel you'd veer off 12th onto Laurel Street. In the 1940s, the children of Bayocean would hang out at the store and catch the bus across the street. Everyone assumed the Mitchells owned the store. But they didn't. From 1917 on it belonged to William George. 


Photo of the Mitchells in front of their store; Tillamook County Pioneer Museum. 
Tillamook County Deed Book (DB) 21, pages 219-220, show the Mitchells purchasing lot 44 in block 54 of Bayocean Park (the store's legal description) on June 23, 1911 from the T.B. Potter Realty Company for $450. Tillamook County Mortgage Book (MB) U, page 114, shows the Mitchells taking out a loan for $500 from the Tillamook County Bank just a couple weeks later - on July 5th, 1911. On February 3, 1913 (MB U:413) the Mitchells took out a another loan for $1200 which paid off the first loan. They agreed to keep $1000 insurance on the store they'd built.

On August 6, 1914 the Mitchells sold their property to G.W. Rice of Jackson County, Missouri, for $2000 cash. Rice also agreed to pay off their loan (DB 28:268) but did not. The Tillamook County Bank foreclosed on Rice and the Mitchells June 21, 1915, and bought the property back at auction two months later for $1461.85 (including accrued interest at 8% and fees; Circuit Court case 1633; DB 35:187). The bank then sold the property to William George on June 6, 1917 for $1374.30 (DB 36:2). George maintained ownership until Tillamook County foreclosed on the property for non-payment of taxes June 19, 1958 (DB 166:579). Two years earlier the store ruins had been burned and buried by contractors who built the dike that sealed the gap created by a 1952 storm

The 1915 foreclosure and auction notices were published in the Tillamook Headlight, but if anyone noticed that the Mitchells no longer owned their store, they must have kept it to themselves. 

So who was William George? Neither the deed book nor tax foreclosure show a middle name or home town for George. The Tillamook County Pioneer Museum has file folders for families with the last name George, but none mention a William. A mystery that will continue for now.  

Friday, June 10, 2016

Sandbags Couldn't Save E.H. Roberts' House


This iconic photo is attributed to Ben Maxwell at the Salem Library. 
Their date of 1947 cannot be correct. The copy in Ed Culp's 
album in Lorraine  Eckhardt's collection gives the date as 1938, 
would have been before it was moved back. 
When Tom Olsen of  Anchor Pictures shared his video on the history of the Port of Garibaldi last year, he told me of a video on Bayocean he'd produced twenty years ago. He recently found it, digitized it (the original was shot on Hi-8) and uploaded it to Vimeo for all to view. What a treasure. It tells the story of one of the houses that were lost to the sea, using an interview with Nancy Lee Goldberg and photos provided by Betty Lou Roberts. Tom had not been told who owned the house, or the women's relationship; but I had to know. 

Betty's last name was the key clue. I had previously identified E.H. Roberts as the owner of the house shown on the right, by way of captions on photos of the same house in an Oregonian story February 19, 1939 and a 1940 Army Corps of Engineers report. Ancestry.com records show Betty having been the daughter of Evan Harry and Sylvana Huddleston Roberts, anhd that she died in 2002. Nancy was her cousin, daughter of Winbert Huddleston, Sylvana's brother. Nancy refers to "Harry" in the video, and the woman she describes gathering items while the house hangs precariously on the edge must have been Sylvana. Pat Patterson told me he helped the Robertsons remove items from the house before it fell. Unfortunately, Nancy died May 10, 2016 - before I could interview her. 

Tillamook County deed records show E.H. Roberts bought the house in 1919, from the estate of W.J. Clemens, a Portland insurance man. He had bought the house 1912 from the Potters. They owned most of the surrounding lots at this early stage. This was in Block 39, just north of Jackson Gap in Block 38. 

"Westview" (as the Roberts called their summer home) was moved back from the edge in 1940, after storms first breached Bayocean; but the sand kept giving way, and by early 1945 the house was again in danger. Near the end of February that year, the Roberts finally gave up and sold it for salvage to the Strube and Barry familiesIt was so large that each family planned to build a house for themselves from the materials salvaged (with eleven rooms it must have rivaled the three Poulsen houses). After just a couple weeks of deconstruction - on March 13 - the house crashed into the sea. Beachcombers got what they could before continuing storms washed the rest away. (Oregonian 3.19; Tillamook Headlight Herald 3.15 and 3.22). 

E.H. Roberts was the President of the Roberts Brothers department store, located at SW Morrison and 3rd in Portland. His father Thomas had founded it fifty years earlier, and his sons Richard and William (Betty's brothers) carried on the family tradition. (Oregonian 10.18.1952). In Tom's video, Nancy identifies the boy in the photo to the left as Dick. He's lifting driftwood up from the beach below, for use as firewood, using a winch they rigged up for that purpose. 

Nancy makes an interesting point: that summers at Bayocean were wonderful for kids but hard on their mothers. These women left behind all the conveniences, social life, and cultural activities of city life, for the relative isolation of a spit that could only be reached by boat for three months each year. Their husbands could bring a few thing with them when they took the train to visit on long weekends, but mostly they were stuck with whatever provisions the Mitchells offered in their little store. They must have been dedicated mothers!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Southern Pacific Railroad Brochures

Sue Bagley Barr recently sent me three brochures, produced by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1913, 1914, and 1915, that promote travel by rail to visit the beaches of Tillamook County. Interior pages are full of wonderful historic photos. Front covers show bathing beauties in period fashion and Sue's skill at digital restoration. She was kind enough to let me share the brochures with readers. You can download them here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The First House To Go


After figuring out the last house on Bayocean Spit to fall into the ocean, I began to wonder which was the first to succumb. The first clues arrived last month when I acquired a copy of the "Report on Beach Erosion Studies, Tillamook Bay, Oregon, With Reference To Bay Ocean [sic]", published by the US Army Corps of Engineers on August 26, 1940. On page 49 it says, "A total of 11 houses, 3 during the last winter, have either been wrecked or had to be moved since 1927..." The appendix included photos, including the on the right. The caption read, "About 1928 - Looking north from the top of dune midpoint of spit. House in lower left destroyed by a storm the following winter." The Corps doesn't attribute the photo, but the perspective is very similar to one in the Donald Burkhart Collection at the Oregon Historical Society (Org Lot 371) dated August 19, 1928.


The Corps photo reminded me of one I'd been trying to identify for a long time.  It's labeled "Ackley 53" in Lorraine Eckhart's collection. A note on it says "home of M. Burns lots 6-7-8 block 61." This location matches the description in the Corps photo caption. The Burns house was built right on the beach, like the natatorium: one just north, the other just south, of the Bayocean Hotel. Both were early casualties of the north jetty being constructed without a south jetty to match. Though similar in style, there are differences between the photos. The house in the Corps photo has a chimney, roof dormer, and side room not in Ackley's (this would have been Mig, who took many of the earliest ones). But the latter was obviously taken during construction, so could have been modified before completion or remodeled later. The other possibility is that the Burns house was close to the house in the Corps photo but swept to sea before the photo was taken.  


Next I looked at the Tillamook County deed books. They show that Mrs. Alberta M. Burns purchased lots 6-8 in block 61 on December 15, 1917, but lost them to foreclosure in 1936, having stopped paying taxes in 1928. The timing suggests the house was destroyed before tax bills were sent out in the fall of 1928, but it could be that the house was a lost cause by 1927 but didn't actually disappear until 1929. In any case, if they are not the same house, Burns' went first. 

Census records from Ancestry.com show that Alberta lived with her husband Elmer G. Burns and son Elbert in Portland. Elmer was a machinist, and did well enough to have his own shop in 1920; but they were likely not as wealthy as the Poulsens and others who built more extravagant summer homes on Bayocean. This may be why there was no media coverage of their home's demise. Or maybe no one knew it happened until much later. The Webbers said (Bayocean: The Oregon Town That Fell Into The Sea, p.78), "in at least one instance, a distant owner arrived on the spit to spend the summer but he couldn't find his house." In any case, I'm sure Alberta, Elmer, and Elbert loved their little cabin on the beach, and hated to loose it as much as anyone, perhaps more.  By 1930 they had moved to California and Elmer was working in a steel plant in Los Angeles County. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The House at Jackson Gap

Whenever I show Perry Reeder a photograph and ask "who's house was that?" his first reply is always, "well, what year?" After many hours of looking through Tillamook County deed books (the source of most information in this post), I know what he means: the houses on Bayocean changed hands regularly. A great example is the house at Jackson Gap.
Photo and caption from November 1911 Surf newsletter in University of Oregon microfilm collection 
E. Mortimer Fouch built the house in the summer of 1911. Like Johan Poulsen, and many other early adopters of Bayocean, Fouch was a successful Portland businessman, President of Western Electric Works. The photo, looking north, is from the the Surf , a monthly newsletter published by the Potters for a short time as part of their marketing plan. The caption provides a detailed description.

Fouch sold the house in March 1912 to Elizabeth Kerns Potter, the wife of Thomas Irving Potter, who was the principal manager of Bayocean Park. Fouch and Potter must have been close, because in 1915 Fouch was named as a Potter representative on a committee set up to guide Bayocean Park development through receivership by the Multnomah County Circuit Court (Judgement #35700A). 


This photo was presented as evidence in a lawsuit the Potters filed against George Breitling for non-payment of his Bayocean contract (because it eventually became Oregon Supreme Court Case #8739 wonderful archival records like this photo have been preserved). Taken in 1914, the view is uphill and southwest from Bay Street, which had been cleared of top soil. It never would be paved with concrete like other roads on Bayocean, and no road of any kind reached Tillamook until 1926. The Potter family would have arrived at the Bayocean dock by boat and then traveled south a mile and a half to their cottage.  



Map from Potter vs. Breitling. The house at Jackson Gap was on lots 14 and 15
 of block 38, northwest of Bayocean School, on the main route to Bayocean center
In 1918, Elizabeth Potter sold the house to Carl and Maude Jackson. The Jacksons owned it for a combined total of 14 years, the longest of any owner, explaining why the eventual gap was named for them. For a few months in 1928, the Jacksons lost ownership to Henry and Ava Shofner, Carl's nephew and his wife, who paid delinquent taxes and then returned it.  According to records on Ancestry.com, Carl Jackson died in 1933. He was likely failing in health when Maude alone signed the deed transferring the property to Bertha and George Joseph in October 1932. The Josephs only kept ownership a month, selling it in November 1932 to Swan and Othelia Hawkinson. The Hawkinsons had long been full time residents of Bayocean and had a house on the higher ridge a mile north. The Hawkinsons sold it to Mignon (Mig) and Maud Ackley in May 1936. They would be the last of the seven owners of this home during its short lifetime. 

Every archival institution I've visited has photos contributed by the Ackley family. For obvious reasons, their photos of this house are all labeled "Ackley House." (Luckily one adds "at Jackson Gap"; I have no photos labeled "Jackson House"; for months I thought several photos I had of it were different houses; lot numbers from deeds, photos comparisons, captions, newspaper articles, and other stories eventually brought it all together). As an auto dealer in Tillamook, Mig had been interested in Bayocean Park since it's inception, fortunately taking photos throughout the years. He was among the group of Tillamook businessmen who formed the Tillamook-Bayocean Company in 1926 that took over from the Bayocean receivers. 


Buck Sherwood photo, from his niece Bonnie Reddekopp Lawrence
Jackson Gap on January 5, 1939. Photo looking out to the ocean, from
"Report on Beach Erosion Studies Tillamook Bay, Oregon With Reference
to Bay Ocean [sic]".  August 26, 1940. Army Corps of Engineers 




The Ackleys were only to enjoy their beach cabin for three years. It was destroyed by a storm that hit the Tillamook Coast January 3,4, and 5th of 1939. Based on a photo taken by Buck Sherwood, some time after his family moved there in 1938, beach erosion had been a problem earlier; but this storm was so bad that the Tillamook Headlight Herald reported ten railroad workers at Barview being swept out to sea (all survived) and tracks being thrown 60' to the other side of Highway 101. By the end of January, three more Bayocean homes were destroyed. Mig and Maude Ackley's son Walter was a teenager at the time. He would later become mayor of Tillamook. In the Oregonian  of August 27, 1984, he spoke fondly of the few childhood summers spent there. Losing the cottage was so devastating he never returned to the spit. The Tillamook County tax foreclosure deed is dated September 13, 1944. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Fat Tire History Tours of Bayocean

Sarah MacDonald waiting to give you a tour of Bayocean's history
If you'd like a personal tour of Bayocean's history on a fat tire bicycle, check out Shore Riders. Though nothing is left of the Bayocean townsite, Tony MacDonald will guide riders to locations where buildings once stood and his wife Sarah will pass on stories about them learned over the years from her father Perry Reeder. Sarah and Perry gave two presentations on Bayocean history at the Tillamook County Library and facilitated Grant McOmie's tour of Bayocean last year. Tony and Sarah offer tours of other beaches in Tillamook County as well. Pricing and contact information is at http://www.shoreridersllc.com/about.html

Sorry to report that Shore Riders no longer is doing business as of summer 2018

Friday, February 12, 2016

The War Dog Beach Patrol of Bayocean

Photo of unidentified dog and handler from US Coast Guard Historian's Office. I'm still hunting for photos of Bayocean's patrol.
From April 1943 to September 1944, the U.S. Coast Guard maintained a war dog beach patrol station on Bayocean. They rented three large homes for the twenty-two enlisted men stationed there, and the wife and infant son of station commander 1st Class Petty Officer Ed Russ These houses were among the nicest on Bayocean, built by wealthy Portland lumberman Johann Poulsen at the inception of Bayocean Park in 1908. When he died in 1929, the houses were inherited by his daughters, who leased them to the Coast Guard. The dogs were kept in a fenced enclosure south of the ruins of the Bayocean Hotel, right across the street from the houses. 
The first 22 Coast Guard patrolmen 
listed in Bayocean logbooks. If you 
recognize any please contact me.

BM1 Edwin (Ed) Russ. Photo courtesy
of his daughter-in-law Lady Russ
In the early stages of American involvement in World War II there were fears of land invasion and sabotage by Germany along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, and by the Japan on the Pacific Coast. So, in the latter half of 1942 the Coast Guard established a  Beach Patrol Division with integrated network of lookouts and patrols by foot (with and without dogs), horse, and boat that left no stretch of beach vulnerable. They worked closely with the Army, whose soldiers would be called in to take over if an invasion was discovered. The Coast Guard would hold off the enemy off as best they could with rifles, machine guns, and dogs. 

Based on interviews with those who were children at the time, the dogs of Bayocean did their job quite well. Vance Mason said they were large German Shepherds that sometimes got loose and terrorized the neighborhood. To him, they looked like deer loping through the brush. He'd scurry to climb the nearest tree in terror. Joann (Dolan) Steffey, whose father A.T. Dolan bought one of the houses after the war dog patrol left, came very close to being mauled by one of the dogs. Donny Meyers fondly recalls watching movies at the main house (later owned by the Hicks) on Sunday afternoons with his buddies. He was befriended by one of the guardsmen, who would take him along when he fed his dog. It was friendly then, but he knew better than to approach it - or any other dog - at any other time. These dogs had all been someone's pet before the war. They were recruited and trained by Dogs For Defense. Men at the station, who were not their handles, would regularly "agitate" them to make sure they continued being ferocious to anyone who was not their handler.

Typically, two men and a war dog went out for six-hour shifts, and covered the entire coastline of Bayocean - around the clock at the beginning, just at night in the end. In August 1943, Oregon Governor Earl Snell established rules and gave the patrolmen authority to enforce them. They confiscated cameras, put out bonfires, and kept cars off the beach. They weren’t very popular with teenagers. 

Pat Patterson. Photo courtesy of his daughter Dee Cherry
The station's log books (National Archives, Washington DC) show comings and goings of officers from the Naval Air Station Tillamook. Lieutenants (JG) Lynn Clapp and E.S. Klock handled events requiring a commissioned officer. Chaplain Townsend provided religious services. Harry Levin looked after their medical needs. Army Captain Burg was the veterinarian. 

After D-Day the threat of invasion by Germany and Japan was no longer feared, so beach patrols were fazed out, with the Pacific Coast being last. Some of the men, who were mostly reservists recruited from farms in mid-America because of their experience with animals, went home. Most of the dogs were retrained for civilian life. But some of both went on to serve in remaining oversees battles. One group helped train Chinese Nationalists in the use of war dogs and horses (information in this paragraphs is from Prints in the Sand). Pat Patterson of the Garibaldi horse patrol stayed to marry a local girl and become a port commissioner. Now in his 90s, he fondly recalls stories from the time he served his country in this special way.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Reedies Run Bayocean in 1921

During the summer of 1921 Bayocean resort facilities were leased and operated by Reed College students John Van Etten, James Hamilton, and James Gantenbein. They employed more than twenty fellow Reedies to help out. It took them six weeks to get everything ready for the July 2 opening. 

Unidentified Reedies operate the light plant (left) and cut wood (right).  3.5 chords of
 wood was required daily to fire the natatorium boiler.
Oregon Journal 9.4.1921
Bayocean Park had been taken over by court-appointed receivers in 1915. Six years into it, they were finding out that running a resort profitably was difficult. Deferred maintenance was the result. The natatorium boiler was especially hard to keep running, but Reedies Craig Eliot and Harold Robinson got it going. Regular vacationers complimented the Reedies for providing the best experience in years, and it appears to have been the busiest as well. (Oregon Journal articles of July 2,3, 9, and 24). 

Some of this success may be attributed to a letter dated June 22 (in my collection) that James Hamilton mailed "To the Teachers of Oregon" in which he makes assurances that the students' "youthful energy, efficiency and ingenuity" would be accompanied by "every effort...to quell any distrust of college ability that may exist." In case the prospect of being catered to by Reedies wasn't enough to entice teachers, he offered them a 10% discount. 


Reed graduate George Henny returned from his first year of electrical engineering studies at Thorpe College in California to set up a radio station. He planned to send daily reports to a receiving station in Portland. Unfortunately, on July 25, a telephone pole he had climbed to run lines fell over, and a piece of it fractured Henny's skull . When Bay City physician Dr. Boals saw Henny's condition he telegraphed Dr. A.E. Rockey in Portland, who reportedly drove 112 miles in just four hours (remarkable given the condition of the roads and automobiles of that era) to operate successfully on Henny the next day. (Tillamook Herald articles of June 30 and July 28). The experience must have made quite an impression on Henny, because he changed his career path and became a physician. (Reed College Bulletin, April 1936)

Mark Kuestner and others at Reed College's Special Collections were kind enough to provide documents that list other Reedies who participated in the management of Bayocean during 1921. They were Carl Larson, Grace (Linklater, maiden) Stone, Alvin Pearson, Ruth Linklater, Herman Kehrli, Helen (Pippy) Kehrli, and Jean (Pugsley) Eliot. Given the apparent success of the event, its interesting that it was never repeated.   

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Healing After Sealing The Gap

Recently I spent some time perusing Bayocean photos that Lorraine Eckhardt had collected over the last few decades from fellow Tillamook County residents. Lorraine honors each source, most of whom are deceased (being a lively octogenarian herself), by noting their name on the front of each print. She also transferred inscriptions that were on the back to the front of her copies. Though I'd seen many of the photos previously, I learned more about many of them because of Eckhardt's process. Some of them I'd not seen, like a group taken by Virgil Magarell.

The photo on the right was taken by Magarell after the US Army Corps of Engineers sealed the 1952 breach with a dike in 1956. He was standing at the top of a remnant dune. The trees in the foreground were killed by saltwater soaking their roots. He was looking northeast, across the part of Bayocean that was raised by 10' -15' with sand dredged from Tillamook Bay and then planted with rows of vegetation to prevent erosion when the ocean breached again. In the far distance is Garibaldi. 

I was struck by the eerie quality of the photo. I imagine Magarell felt something similar to what I did while hiking across the blowdown area on the north side of Mount St. Helens in 1992. The land was clearly healing, but there was still much to remind me of the great cataclysm that had occurred a few years earlier - and to suggest it could happen again.