Thursday, March 30, 2017

Crabapple Park

All the low lying Bayocean streets and buildings that survived the November 1952 breach and subsequent erosion were buried by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1956. Three houses at higher elevation survived initially. The last one fell in 1960. A few streets above the fill line were far enough back to not fall into the sea but were eventually buried by sand carried by the wind. 
Photo from Phyllis Locke Anderson of neighbors
hanging out at the site of the 2015 excavation 

In October 2015, Perry Reeder and his family excavated a small section of curb and pavement on the west side of High Terrace (see plat map below; Bayocean alumni knew it as High Street), a little north of 12th Avenue, just before it turned northwest and uphill. In my photo to the left, taken soon after the excavation, the curb is the horizontal strip, aligned approximately north/south. The semicircle just below and east of it is the pavement. The spot straddles lots A and 2 which was vacated to connect High Terrace directly with 12th in block 55 of Bayocean Park. Walter and Betty Locke's family lived right across the street in lot 4. During WW II, Walter (Shorty) managed the cottages distributed along the west side of High Terrace going up the hill for Portland attorney Lyman Latourette. 

When I asked Perry how he found the spot, he said he used two crabapple trees to get his bearings. I was impressed with his memory and surprised 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 photographed them on my next trip. They're nestled in the lee of the highest point south of the hills, lone sentinel to the Bayocean that once was. 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 and that 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 it and watch for a trail to the right (north) and a small driftwood fence. GPS coordinates are 45.527324  -123.952463. To get to the townsite sign, walk north from the parking lot on Dike Road and look for a post engraved "Bayocean Town Site." Follow the trail west. Look for another post on the left and take the trail south from there to the townsite sign. When I visited the excavation in September 2018, I found that sand had already filled the bottom of the hole by more than a foot - the deepest I cared to dig with my hands.

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