Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Bayocean Park, Oceanview, and Cape Meares

The modern community of Cape Meares did not exist when Bayocean Park was platted in 1907. Nor did Bayocean Road and  4th Street, its main arteries (highlighted in yellow in the plat map below). All of the resort facilities were on the spit, a couple of miles north of the corner at  Mears [sic] Street and 1st Avenue. The latter would become Bayocean Road. The first summer cottages were also on the spit, taking advantage of the views of bay and ocean for which the resort was named.  The southern strip of Bayocean Park, on the hillside north of Cape Meares was part of the subdivision in order to enable automobile access to the resort. Because of erosion, Mears and 2nd Street are now part of the sea and shoreline depending on the tide, so Bayocean Road ends at 3rd Street. The damage inflicted by erosion can be seen at Bayocean Lots In Pacific Ocean.  
Miles of concrete roads were laid middle of Bayocean Park by 1915, but there was no way to reach them driving a car for more than a decade. And it wasn't until 1929 that the road from Tillamook to Bayocean was improved sufficiently to qualify as a "market road," which brought state funding for maintenance. Eventually, Tillamook County took over maintenance of the streets inside the Bayocean Park subdivision as well as the road from Tillamook to it's boundary. 1st Avenue, Mears Street, and Bay Street then became part of Bayocean Road.  
House addresses 5800 and higher (northward) along all north/south streets in Cape Meares are part of the Bayocean Park subdivision. Houses addressed less than 5800 are in Oceanview, the subdivision at Bayocean Park's southern boundary, platted in 1909. A resort town with a similar name, Oceanside, located on the south side of Cape Meares, appeared much later. 

During the 1930s - after Bayocean Road was finished - Tillamook commuters started building homes in Oceanview and the mainland section of Bayocean Park. Lots were cheaper there than in the city, and erosion made Bayocean unattractive. The construction of Naval Air Station Tillamook brought even more commuters. Eventually, residents of the two mainland subdivisions started referring to their community as "Cape Meares."  

A few buildings were moved from Bayocean to Cape Meares before the spit became an island in November 1952The most famous of them was its schoolhouse, which now resides at 5690 4th Street NW, and serves as a community center (the Pagoda houses, nearly as famous, were the first to be moved off Bayocean). The Cape Meares Community Association later added to the building and maintains it. 

Barbara Bennett lived in Cape Meares during her childhood and most of her adult years until she died 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. 
Photo by author.