Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Cape Meares and Bayocean

Much  of Cape Meares was platted with the Bayocean resort as part of the same Bayocean Park subdivision. Their fates have been intertwined ever since.
                          Cape Meares section of the original Bayoean Park plat map.

Mears [sicStreet and 2nd Street shown on the original plat map above were both lost to the sea the same way, and over the same time period, as the townsite of Bayocean.  This is why modern-day Bayocean Road ends at 3rd Street. You can see more clearly what fell into the sea at Bayocean Lots In Pacific Ocean.  

Though concrete roads were constructed on Bayocean early on, there was no way to drive cars to them from the outside. That was first made possible by the county road department in 1926. In 1928 Bayocean Road was improved to gravel from Tillamook to the eastern border of Baycoean Park. Eventually, the county took on the maintenance of the streets that led to the center of Bayocean, at which time the street names were officially dropped, as they all became part of Bayocean Road.  

Addresses 5800 and higher (northward) along all north/south streets in Cape Meares, and those along Bayocean Road from the beach to Cape Meares Loop, are part of the original Bayocean Park subdivision. Most of the buildings there now were constructed long after Bayocean was gone. The first homes in the adjacent Oceanview subdivision were built in the early 1920s. Some buildings were moved there from Bayocean before the sea destroyed it in 1952.

The most prominent of the Bayocean immigrants was its schoolhouse, which now resides at 5690 4th Street NW, and serves as a community center. The schoolhouse and Pagoda houses were the earliest to be moved off Bayocean - in 1949. The Cape Meares Community Association later added to the building and maintains it. 

Barbara Bennett lived in Cape Meares then, and did until her death in 2019. She recalled attending Bayocean School in 7th grade and graduating from 8th grade there in 1945. Among her fourteen classmates were her brothers Jerry and Jim Schlegel, Perry Reeder, Ernest Knutson, and the Bennett siblings: Harold, Rosemarie, and James. Barbara later married James Bennett. He was interviewed by Rick Dancer for a video called "Oregon Ghost Towns: Bay Ocean, the saddest story of all" before passing away in 2014. 

The Webbers said that six homes were also moved to Cape Meares before the sea could take them (see "Buildings Moved" in the right column). They included the house of Lewis Bennett (James' father) even though his approach was a bit different: "He took it apart board at a time and moved it to his lot in the Cape Meares Community. All he lost was his garage and his wife's daffodils." According to Lewis' son Harold, the boards were barged over to Bay City by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and stored there until they were used to build an addition to the house the family moved into on Cape Meares. Harold still lives there with his wife MerryAnn. He remembers the house on Bayocean having colorful walls, a carryover from its previous owner, the Rainbow Girls. The Webbers said they found a small board from Bennett's garage in March 1972 (the rest had fallen into the sea; What Happened at Bayocean: Is Salishan Next?24) that was "Rainbow Girls blue."