|Bayocean Natatorium soon after construction. Image BOB95, Tillamook County Pioneer Museum.|
|Bayocean Natatorium interior. Culp 9, |
Lorraine Eckhardt collection.
As news of Ashland Mineral Springs Natatorium construction reached Portland in 1909, Bayocean Park ads began promising one, but by the time it got built, three others were already operating on the Oregon Coast. Gearhart Park advertised theirs in the Oregonian for the first time on May 22, 1910. The one at Nye Beach began operating in 1912. The first of three built at Seaside was introduced by the Oregon Journal just a month before Bayocean's natatorium opened, on June 3, 1914.
|BOB 68, Tillamook County Pioneer Museum.|
When the Rockaway Natorium was finished in 1926, most Tillamook County folks went there instead of Bayocean because it was much easier to get to. As a result, the Tillamook-Bayocean Company (a group of local businessmen) could find no one to lease Bayocean's natatorium, so it stayed closed in 1927 and never reopened to the public. In 1932, erosion caused by a winter storm collapsed its west wall, after which the wooden superstruction was deconstructed and used to build the Sherwood House on Cape Meares. Bayocean Natatorium's competitors all lasted longer, but the only one still operating is the second one built at Seaside. It now hosts the Seaside Aquarium.
An earlier version of this article was posted on May 11, 2015.