Thursday, March 30, 2017

Crabapple Park

All the Bayocean streets and buildings that survived the breaching of November 1952, and subsequent erosion, were buried by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1956. Along with the construction of the breakwater that reconnected Bayocean Island to Cape Meares, this was designed to prevent future gaps from occurring. 

Thanks to excavation by Perry Reeder and his family, fans of Bayocean can now view a small section of sidewalk on the west side of High Street just north of where it joined 12th Avenue. In my photo to the left, the sidewalk is the horizontal strip, aligned north/south. High Terrace (which Bayocean alumni will remember as High Street) is the semicircle just below it, which is east. This spot straddles lots A and 2 (vacated to connect High Terrace directly with 12th) in block 55 of Bayocean Park (see plat map below). Walter and Betty Locke lived right across the street in lot 4. They managed the cottages distributed along the west side of High Terrace. 

When I asked Perry how he found the spot to dig, he said he used a couple (70-year-old) crabapple trees for guidance. I was surprised and pleased to learn of fauna that had survived the wrath of the sea in this southern section of Bayocean. I'd not noticed them before but found them on my next trip. They're nestled in the lee of the high point, south of the trail to the beach from the town site sign. Using Coast Atlas and adjusting for known discrepancies in tax lot overlays, my best estimate is that the trees are in lot 39 of block 54, perhaps extending into lot 38.  Perry said he never met the owners. No houses were ever built along the south side of 12th Avenue, so it remained park like. 

Deed records show lot 39 was owned by Gerald and Nellie Reeher during Perry's era, and lot 38 was owned by Martin and Jeanette Nelson. The Reehers eventually lost their lot to the county, but the Nelsons' son Donald is still on record owning theirs. Gerald and Nellie Reeher moved to Tillamook in 1922 and started Reeher Furniture. They moved to Salem in 1935 according to the September 24, 1935, Statesman Journal. They must have become close friends with Francis and Ida Mitchell while in Tillamook because the Tillamook Headlight-Herald reported them giving Francis a ride (from the Oregon State Hospital in Salem) to Ida's funeral in 1953. And when Francis died in 1965, Nellie purchased a joint cemetery lot for them. It's nice to know Francis had friends who visited him during his 12 years at the hospital. 

All of this is just west of the Bayocean town site sign put up by the Reeders. Follow the trail to the ocean from and watch for a trail to the right (north) and a driftwood fence enclosure. If you don't know how to get to the town site sign, it's a little trickier because trails to it twist and turn and guide posts tend to disappear. As you walk north on Dike Road from the parking lot, look for the highest point on the dune ridge to the west. Then watch for the next well-worn trail to the beach north of that point. Take the next well-worn trail south and it will take you to the town site sign, just northeast of that high point. GPS coordinates recorded by my smartphone when I took the photo are 45.527324  -123.952463. If you find the hole, be very careful as you approach it. The barrier is flimsy and sand is - of course - unstable. Certainly, do not go down into it.

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