Monday, July 27, 2015

Tillamook Bay Run

The 14th annual Tillamook Bay Run starts 10 AM, Saturday, August 15. Both the 10k and 5k routes begin on the ocean side of Bayocean Spit and cross over to return on the bay side. With both gravel and sand to contend with, rugged shoes are a must. For more information and/or to register go to http://bayrun.org. If you were looking for a nice, quiet day on the spit, you might want to choose a different one.

Update: unfortunately I've not been able to find results or an event report anywhere online. What's posted at the organization's web site is for the previous year, so take a look in 11 months. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Oregon Beach Bill and Bayocean

In addition to videos specific to Bayocean history, Tom Olsen of Anchor Pictures also produced Politics of Sand, a documentary about the Oregon Beach Bill. The film is based on Oregon Beaches, A Birthright Preserved by Kathy Straton. It can be seen in segments on Vimeo or purchased (with some extras included) as a DVD from the Cannon Beach History Center.  

The right to access all coastal beaches is taken for granted by Oregonians today, but that was not assured until the Oregon Beach Bill passed in 1967. Forces were in play then that would have restricted beach access to adjacent property owners, as was the case - and still is - in most other coastal states. The video shows how close the Oregon Beach Bill came to failing, and lays out all the pieces that had to fall in place for it to pass and survive legal challenges. 


Wagon using the beach at Barview for travel route in the 1890s; photo attributed to
the Oregon State Library in Oregon's Beaches: A Birthright Preserved
Until Highway 101 was finished in 1932, beaches provided key transportation routes for travelers along the Oregon Coast. No one seemed to realize that the Oregon Legislature had put this in jeopardy when they started selling tidelands to settlers, until Governor Oswald West came along in 1911. He pushed through legislation in 1913 that declared the wet sand area between low and high tide as a public highway.

Governor West's bill did not address the dry sands between high tide and the vegetation line because vehicles wouldn't travel there. This meant that only private landowners had the legal right to hike on the beach at high tide. No landowners enforced their right to exclude the public from dry sands until 1967. The actions by just a couple resort owners led to passage of the Oregon Beach Bill.

The landowners that sold to the Potters had tideland rights, so Governor West's 1913 bill did not matter as far as Bayocean was concerned: wagons and cars could drive the entire length of the beach if they wanted to. So, the Potters could have saved money by building concrete roads only on the inland sections of the spit, and let people drive to the Natatorium from Cape Meares on the beach. Evidently, they were willing to spent a lot of money to make sure resort customers weren't impeded by high tide or winter storms. Their dreams were more powerful than their accounting, because they lost their development to foreclosure before a road from Tillamook to Bayocean was built.  

If you look closely at the drawing in Bayocean Then and Nowyou can see a "zone line" shown separate from the "vegetation line" in some places. Paul Levesque explained that this was a result of the Oregon Beach Bill. Politics of Sand  explains why. Following passage of the bill, and as mandated by it, Oregon State University engineers established the zone line to be a permanent boundary between public/private use, that would endure regardless of changes in the vegetation line. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Grant McOmie Cockle Clamming at Bayocean

Jeff Kastner shows how it's done
A couple of weeks ago Grant McComie featured Bayocean's history. In this episode, he covers cockle clamming in Tillamook Bay, along the spit's eastern shore. Grant also learns how to cook and feast on the cockles, and it appears he's a good student.  See the video, read the story, and enjoy some great photos by Jeff Kastner at Grants Getaways: Cockle Clamming

Photo by Jeff Kastner of cockle raking in Tillamook Bay, just off the east shore of Bayocean, with Garibaldi in the background

Friday, July 3, 2015

South Jetty Commemorative Plaque

Near Kincheloe Point, at the north end of Bayocean Spitis a huge boulder on the left side of Dike Road. It was placed there to commemorate the completion of the south jetty in September 1979. Thousands of similar boulders were used in its construction.

Given their size, it's amazing that the ocean can so easily bust up these stones; but it's doing at a current pace that's removing an average of 100' per year according to an Army Corps of Engineers report quoted in the Tillamook Headlight Herald of March 24, 2015. The jetty has lost a 900' since 1979, and "meets the completely degraded condition criteria." Tillamook County and the Port of Garibaldi hope to get federal funding to rebuild it soon. 

The north jetty was repaired in 2010. As the story of Bayocean Park's demise makes clear, it's critical to keep the two jetties in balance. Building just the north jetty in 1914 prevented the summer replenishment of Bayocean sand that had been scoured away during winter storms. We understand this now, but at the time many reasoned the slow loss of sand could have been just part of a generational ebb and flow. By the time the north jetty had been lengthened to its current length of 5700' in 1931, beach erosion had accelerated dramatically. In 1932 the Bayocean Natatorium, which sat right on the beach, was undercut and partially collapsed. One house after another fell into the sea until a 1952 storm created a breach a mile wide at the southern end, and left Bayocean an island until the Corps build a dike to close in 1957. The beach began to grow as construction of the south jetty began in 1969. It took three phases of funding to get it to 8000'. See Oregon Coastal Atlas and Bayocean Then and Now to get an idea of how dramatic the changes have been over the last century.

Getting back to the boulder at Kincheloe Point, you can see there is a square carved out of the upper right side of it. This once held a commemorative plaque. It was stolen 10 years ago. Until it can be replaced we can see what it looked like thanks to Walter Van Camp, who provided a photo of it. You can watch a video about the building of the South Jetty produced by Anchor Pictures for the Port of Garibaldi. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Paul Levesque

Photo from Statesman Journal 
Residents of Tillamook County know the name Paul Levesque. When he was Chief of Staff for the Board of County Commissioners, he was in the news on a regular basis. He also was honored as one of the “Local Heroes in Action” for coming to the aid of a woman being assaulted at a gas station. 

What folks may not know is that Paul is a historian with a personal interest in Bayocean; which is why he agreed to an interview despite being a busy fellow. 

Paul has been a resident of Tillamook County since 1971. He lived on Cape Meares in 1973 and 1974, while working oyster beds for Cecil Harris. During that time he was on Bayocean regularly, for work and play.  

Since 1976, Paul has worked for Tillamook County, in several different capacities. In 1985 he wrote the two-volume A Chronicle of the Tillamook County Forest Trust Lands that is available at libraries. Paul has written three other unpublished papers that he has allowed me to provide access to:  

Each of the works is well documented and gives information specific to Bayocean and/or provides historical context. I was surprised to read there was a Port of Bayocean that played a part in early jetty discussions with the US Corps of Engineers. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Grant McOmie Captures The Bayocean Story

Wednesday, June 17th, I had the pleasure of introducing Grant McOmie and his photographer/editor Jeff Kastner to Bayocean alumni, tagging along while the alumni showed them around the spit's "townsite", and giving Grant and Jeff a tour of the few buildings moved off Bayocean before the sea took them. The resulting Grant's Getaways: Bayocean was shown during KGW newscasts on June 26, but can be viewed online at KGW and Travel Oregon. The show will be one of four segments in a dedicated half-hour Grant's Getaways program in the fall. 

A week earlier Grant had asked me to set this up, after hearing about Bayocean from mutual friend Don Best. With the help of Sarah MacDonald (daughter of Bayocean alumni Perry Reeder) and Charles Ansorge (President of the Cape Meares Community Association), I managed to pull it off. Don couldn't join us because he was taking advantage of a sunny day with a minus 1.4 tide to take aerial photographs of Tillamook Bay - including a particularly dramatic one of Bayocean. Don provided some of the photographs Jeff and Grant put into the show. Tom Olsen provided them a copy of the DVD he produced for the Port of Garibaldi (see Videos of Bayocean History) which they used to powerful effect. 

Left to right: Barbara Bennett, David Bennett, Grant McOmie, Kevin Bennett, 
Harold Bennett, Perry Reeder, and Sarah MacDonald 


Perry Reeder's maps of  Bayocean 














Our day started at the schoolhouse, which Charles was kind enough to open ahead of time. Each Bayocean school alumnus arrived with an interested son or daughter: Perry and his daughter Sarah; Barbara Bennett and her son David; and Harold Bennett and his son Kevin (wife/mother MerryAnn bolted before the cameras came out). Perry and Sarah laid out some maps on a table. Barbara spread out some photos on another. The stories soon began. Everyone had warmed to the occasion by the time Grant and Jeff arrived. Charles greeted them on behalf of the CMCA and left to teach an (online) university class. 
Grant McOmie interviewing Barbara Bennett
with Jeff Kastner recording it all

Perry Reeder describes  the Bayocean that once was,
while standing where kids waited for the school bus:
across from Mitchell's store on the south side of 12th.


Watching Grant, it's easy to see how he gets people to feel comfortable and open up: he's an engaging fellow who is genuinely interested in what folks have to say. Barbara, Harold, and Perry seemed to enjoy telling their stories, and the telling helped us all imagine the Bayocean they once knew. Visiting the "townsite" that Perry and Sarah set up on the spit really got Harold and Perry going. 

The last part of the day was spent visiting the Pagoda house(s) and two others moved to Bayocean that are still standing. I showed them the house that was built using wood salvaged from the Natatorium that I'll post on in the future. I had tried to stay off-camera all day but got tagged at the end because all the more interesting folks had left. Grant's Getaway: Bayocean is a pleasure to watch despite that. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Three Other Houses Moved From Bayocean

Previous posts discussed moving the Bayocean schoolhouse, Hicks house, and  Pagoda house(s) to the mainland before the November 1952 breakthrough could destroy them. Three other houses were moved, though only two remain. 


Photo of A.G. Beals house on Bayocean, which Sherwoods rented. Courtesy of Mike Watkins.
Jerry Schlegel says that when A.G. Beals (a prominent Tillamook businessman) heard Woodrow Chase was moving some houses off the spit, he paid him $2,000 to move a house from just south of the Bayocean schoolhouse to a knoll about the meadow at the mouth of Coleman Creek. Barbara Bennett said Beals never lived in the house but rented it out. The people who owned the house in 1976 replaced it with another that looks very similar.

Photo by the author
This house was owned by O.P. Brigham. Pop and Bob Watkins bought it and moved it to a lot along Bayocean Road in November 1952. It was the last house moved. 

The house below was given to Jerry Schlegel in return for the work he did moving houses from Bayocean to Cape Meares for Chase. Jerry lived in Forest Grove at the time but his family used it as a beach house for several years. It still stands in Cape Meares.  It was originally built for Corinth Crook and sat near the Pagodas along the ridgeline. Woody Chase bought it from George and Merle Selfridge and moved it in the summer of 1949. 

Photo of Schlegel house while still on Bayocean, from Bayocean
school scrapbook in the Cape Meares Community Center 


Recent photo by the author of the house that was first owned by Jerry 
Schlegel after being moved to Cape Meares from Bayocean




Sunday, June 14, 2015

Videos of Bayocean History

When Grant McOmie mentioned having once seen an aerial video of Bayocean, taken soon after the 1952 breach that made it an island, I got excited. But before I could even start looking for it, the video's creator, Tom Olsen, sent it to me. Tom is a fellow member of Garibaldi Oregon Memories. He'd seen my posts about Bayocean there, and thought the video might help my reseach.  Serendipity at its best. 

These extra scenes are on the DVD; not online
In 2010 the Port of Garibaldi hired Tom's company Anchor Pictures to produce The Port of Garibaldi: The Centennial History (1910-2010)The Garibaldi Maritime Museum has it for sale as a DVD. The Port of Garibaldi also had their employee Jesse Coon upload the story in nineteen clips to YouTube so that anyone can watch it. It's easier to find all the clips all in one place by going directly to Tom's Vimeo account. Extra clips on the DVD include World War II footage and stories about blimps. 

Clip no.10 is the flyover of Bayocean after the 1952 breach that Grant recalled seeing.  Additional clips that focus on Bayocean are nos. 3, 4, and 7; but the entire series will be fascinating to watch for anyone interested in Garibaldi and Tillamook Bay history. All of the historic aerial videos Tom used in his documentary were taken by Doc Adams, who contributed them to the museum.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Barbara Bennett

Since I've used Barbara Bennett as a source in past posts, and likely will in the future, I thought it would be good to let readers get to know her better.

Barbara moved to the village of Cape Meares in 1943 with her parents, Milton and Edith Schlegel, and brothers Jerry and Jim. The original Bayocean Park plat included Cape Meares (see Cape Meares and Bayocean) so the children all went to Bayocean School together. The schoolhouse was actually closer to Cape Meares than central Bayocean. 

Barbara had fifteen classmates during her seventh and eighth grade years at Bayocean School. They included her older brother Jerry, Perry Reeder, Ernest Knutson, and the Bennett siblings Harold, Rosemarie, and James, and the Sherwood siblings. She graduated eight grade with Ernest Knutson in 1945, attended ninth through twelfth grades at Tillamook Junior High School, and graduated in 1949. 

Soon after graduation, Barbara married her classmate James Bennett, which is why she stayed in Cape Meares when her family moved to Forest Grove. Jim and Barbara moved to Fort Ord where he served as a military policeman until they returned to Cape Meares in 1954. Since then Barbara has never left. She worked in the Tillamook Cheese Factory for many years and raised her family. 


Jim was interviewed in a video by Rick Dancer called "Oregon Ghost Towns: Bay Ocean, the saddest story of all" in 2005. Jim died nine years later. His father Lewis Bennett was the primary source of information for the Webbers (who spelled his name incorrectly as "Louis" ) in  Bayocean: The Oregon Town that Fell Into the Sea. Jim's brother Harold still lives in the Cape Meares home their father remodeled after moving there from Bayocean. 

I am sorry to report that Barbara died on April 7, 2019. A nice obituary ran in the Tillamook Headlight-Herald


Friday, June 5, 2015

The Hicks House


One building moved from Bayocean is referred to as the "Hicks house" because it was last owned by C.G. Hicks. Located on the highest point of the town, at the apex of High Street, Bay Terrace, and 14th Avenue, it sat catty-corner to the Bayocean Hotel Annex. It's the one on the right, south of the other two, in the photo below.
 
This photo, from Tillamook County Pioneer Museum, must have been taken
from a hotel room on the northeast corner, looking northeast.
In What Happened At Bayocean: Is Salishan Next? Expanded Edition (12-13) Bert Webber reported that all three homes were built by Johan Poulsen, a prominent Portland lumberman, and continually owned by family members. In 1944, after having rented it to the US Coast Guard during World War II for a war dog beach patrol, they sold one to A.T. Dolan and one to C.J. Hicks. The third went through several owners until Hicks bought it near the end. Webber said these were the most extravagant homes on Bayocean. Perry Reeder said that a butler answered the door at the Hick's house. 

Barbara Bennett said that it was known as the "House of Hicks" because they operated a catering service there. Joann Steffey, the daughter of A.T. Dolan, said Hicks also owned a restaurant by that name in Portland. This is confirmed by the January 1947 newsletter of the Geological Society of the Oregon Country, which held a meeting there.

Early in 1952, Hicks accepted the inevitable and sold both houses at a salvage price to Lebeck and Sons Construction of Portland (Deed Record 134, pages 503-503), who then sold it to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Ross for $7,000, including the move (February 7, and March 27, 1952 articles in the Tillamook Headlight Herald ). They subcontracted Leonard Bales Construction and Morgan Burckard Plumbing to help them get the house ready to move. Leslie Bales was with her father the entire time, and later married Morgan's son Gus. She was only nine years old, but remembers being frightened by the cliff moving closer to the house each day. One of the photos depicts this clearly, in that the Hotel Bayocean Annex, which was to the right of the Hicks house, had already fallen 100' to the beach below. 
Looking north, from the south down route taken.
Dorian Studio photo provided by John Chaix
Photo taken from the north, looking south, ocean to the right, hotel 
ruins gone. The Dolan house is  not obstructing the view because 
it had burned down.  Dorian Studio photo provided by John Chaix

In order to get it onto a barge and ship it across the bay, the house had to be cut in half. Dr. Rex Parsons, who lived in the house on the Netarts Highway from 1983 to 2002 was told that Mrs. Ross (just 5' tall) ignored state policemen's orders to stop because of concerns that the house was too close to the power lines, and just "kept on trucking". He added a two-story addition that's not shown in the photo below, but he preserved the original walls and ceilings of two bedrooms, the bath between them, and the hallway leading to them because they were old-growth, tongue-and-groove, clear fir.

Photo of the Hicks House taken in 2016 by the author.
The Tillamook Headlight Herald  reported on February 21, 1952, that the first Hick's house was moved a week earlier and that the crews intended to come back for the second house the following week, but they never did. In their March 27 issue, Lewis Bennett explained that by the time they could return the foundation of the second house was crumbling, so they packed up their equipment and headed back to Portland. Another likely factor was that (as reported in the paper) a breach made the road impassable from March 20 to April 3. On December 10, 1953 the paper shows the second Hicks house sitting alone with the garage of the first one. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Bayocean Park Plumbing

Mike Watkins with wood coupler from old water system
In Bayocean: The Oregon Town That Fell Into the Sea  Bert and Margie Webber give extensive coverage of how wooden pipes took water from a creek high up on Cape Meares in order to build sufficient pressure to serve Bayocean residents several miles away. After Bayocean was abandoned the same wooden pipes continued to serve Cape Meares. As a child, Mike Watkins was paid $1.50 by his grandfather Robert W. (Pops) for any pipes (typically 6 to 8 feet in length) and couplers he could find on the beach, close to the gaps, for use in maintaining the system. Mike keeps a coupler in his beach home in Cape Meares. 

The Webbers don't say much about internal plumbing; just one paragraph that straddles page 47 and 48. They report that most residents simply heated water on their stoves when needed, like for baths. A few industrious folks ran water pipes through their fireplaces - but to where? They found "no mention of bathtubs, other than the hotel, in the earlier years."

Perhaps the Webbers hadn't ever taken a bath in a galvanized tub filled with buckets of water heated on a stove, as we did living in the backwoods of Minnesota. I can imagine a pipe running to the location where they'd set the tub saving a lot of time and effort. Maybe the pipes ran to an outdoor location that served as a hot tub.

A more serious problem would be how to deal with sewage. The Webbers reported that most folks had outdoor privies. However, a few tied into a system running from the hotel, across the spit, and down to businesses on the bay side, then out under the dock to empty into Tillamook Bay. Did it have a valve that was only opened during high tide? 

Photo titled "The end of discharge under dock" from the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum, contributed by the Ackley family


Webbers' research also led them to believe the natatorium was "the only building equipped with a septic tank. Its drain field was the beach!" A 1940 photo on page 84 shows a couple girls standing on it. One has to wonder if they or the photographer knew what it was. The Webbers said that chunks of it could still be seen on the beach in the 1980s. Other locals report seeing it in years since then. It's more likely during a minus tide in the winter when both sand and sea levels are at their lowest. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Earliest Days of Bayocean School

A family like Bertha Pearl Morgan's
living in Bayocean's tent city.
Tillamook County Pioneer Museum
The Tillamook County Pioneer Museum has a paper titled "Memories Of Bayocean School" written by Bertha Pearl Morgan. In 1907, when she was just 9 years old, Bertha's family traveled to Oregon from Minnesota to find work. The men signed on as laborers to construct Potter's resort at Bayocean. The family lived in the tent city set up for workers.

Bertha said the school she attended "was about a quarter of a mile toward the worker's camp from the cape. a oneroom school house on the ocean side. one teacher, there was a tribe of Indians on the cape, and nine Indian kids went to school, and two white kids swedes from the lighthouse, Bob and Ruth Ford. and me from the spit." Later, "one Indian girl was bout 16, Ruth Ford was 9 or 10, and Bob was about 14, and the rest in between, just a nice bunch of country kid. and Happy I think." 
Photo of the last Bayocean Schoolhouse, in the 1940s, with Russell Parker on the left and Harold Bennett on the right.
From Tillamook County Pioneer Museum collection.
She described a tree in front of the school with a large limb that hung out over the ocean, where Bertha said the kids would "sit with our shoes and stockings off, and let the waves from the ocean wash our feet at high tide." But someone told on them, and Bayocean Park Superintendent Jim O'Donnell had workers cut the branch off. The kids were angry at the time, but looking back she knew it was for the best, because if they'd fallen they'd have drowned. "...but kids will be kids, and we loved everyminute of it, lessons were nil. just play, School days." Two schools would later be built out on the spit itself. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Cape Meares Landslides

The closure of one mile of the Cape Meares Loop Road in 2013, between the communities of Cape Meares and Oceanside, was caused by a landscape that has been moving for centuries. The historical record begins in 1899, based on information discovered by a Tillamook County engineering consultant and forwarded to me by Cape Meares resident Mike Neal.

In "A Phenomenal Land Slide, Paper No. 984" in Volume 53 (1904) of the Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers,  D.D. Clarke describes venturing "partly by rail and boat, but chiefly by stage or mudwagon, crossing the Coast Range, and occupying 36 hours or more," to spend three and half days measuring and sketching the slide. He'd been inspired to do so by a May 21, 1899 Sunday Oregonian article describing a slide that was 1/4 mile wide, four miles long, traveling two inches per hour, that "tears great trees and boulders from their places and hurls them into the bay."



Clarke estimated that 30 acres had slid 400 feet from May 10 to June 13, starting up at the 300 foot level, 1/2 mile in total length, and averaging 500' in width. Not quite as dramatic as the newspaper report, but still impressive. He reported that the ocean had already begun to scour away the end of the slide. Mike Neal says that what still juts out a bit in that location is very hard clay. Zoom in on the Google map and you'll see Neal's best estimate of the 1899 slide boundaries. It's very close to what's still sliding today. 


These landslides are just one way in which Cape Meares has been falling into the ocean for a millenia. Cliffs also crumble. Mike Watkins pointed out a cave out near the edge of Cape Meares that had collapsed since his childhood. Debris from similar collapses in the past formed Bayocean Spit and continues contributing to it today. 

Clarke's sketch provides some early historical information as well. The wagon road sketched was built to haul materials for the construction of the lighthouse from 1888 to 1890 (Cape Meares And It's Sentinel, 44). It wound its way down to the beach, between the two streams, at which point travel would proceed on wet sand during low tide - a good example of what's discussed in The Oregon Beach Bill and Bayocean. The break in the road must have been repaired because the children of lighthouse tenders and their teacher road it down to a school that operated even before Bayocean was built (ibid, 68-70). Tenders originally used the road to get to Hauxhurst landing on Tillamook Bay, from which they'd row over to Tillamook to get supplies, but in 1893 Hodgdon Road (now the Netarts Road) had been extended to the lighthouse (Ibid., 44,66). The buildings depicted belonged to Henry M. Sampson, who was granted patent #1339 in 1882. On page 234 of Tillamook: Land of Many Waters, Ada M. Orcutt said one correspondent described the slide "being on the Hauxhurst beach in a valley of Foley Creek." Another called it the "Barnegat Slide."

To find more stories about the geological history of Bayocean, or any other category, see the Index

Monday, May 18, 2015

Pagoda House(s)

After the Bayocean School (now the Cape Meares Community Center), the Pagoda house is the most famous of the buildings moved from Bayocean to Cape Meares before a 1952 winter storm inflicted final destruction on the once-thriving resort town.

A recent photo by the author of the Pagoda House in Cape Meares (address withheld to protect the privacy of residents) 
There were actually two separate houses on Bayocean, on the east side of Clarke Street, one of them moved from a previous location on the west side as the dune approached. The photo below was taken at the original location, with the front door facing east, away from the force of winter storms. 
Photo from Oregon Historical Society photo collection 93-B.
Harold Bennett recalls his mother cleaning house for the Miss Cake and Miss Brownell, ladies who lived there full time in the mid-1940s. Harold's brother James did yard work and split wood for them, according to his widow Barbara

Photo by Howard "Buck" Sherwood
of Pagoda Houses being prepared for the move
 from Cape Meares Community Center scrapbo

Photo by Buck Sherwood, courtesy of Mike Watkins,
 who lived in the Pagoda house(s) on Cape Meares














Milton and Jerry Schlegel (Barbara's father and brother), and Woodrow (Woody) Chase, a logger from Willamina, moved the Pagoda houses, and others, to the mainland as erosion threatened them at the new location. They used a tractor to push and pull the truck through bad spots like the gaps. The Tillamook Headlight Herald of April 7, 1949, announced the start of the process. 

During that summer, Milton and Jerry excavated property purchased on Pacific Avenue in Oceanside, built a basement, and fit the two houses together on top of it. On August 11 the Tillamook Headlight Herald described a larger housewarming by Bob and Barbara Watkins that celebrated its completion.  Mike Watkins was a young boy then, but he recalls a dumbwaiter that came with the house which his father wouldn't let them use to lift wood from the basement. His father had them remove the fancy rafter end trim because it was too fancy. As can be seen in the photos, the house originally had clapboard siding. Shingles were added before being moved and maintained for decades. More recent owners removed the shingles and went back to the original siding. Mike still owns a beach house next door. 
  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Walking Past The Pier

Letter from Potter to Beebe  at
Tillamook County Pioneer Museum
Looking at photographs of the Bayocean pier, where boats docked in Tillamook Bay, you can see that it was quite long. I wanted to know exactly how long, to see if I crossed the spot where it would have been hiking on Dike Road now. Luckily, the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum provided the answer, by way of a letter in their collection that T.B. Potter wrote to Charles Bebee in 1911, reporting that the pier was 1400 feet long. 

The pier was an extension of 12th Avenue, which stopped at Bay Street. The Bayside Inn was on the east side of that intersection. If you were arriving by boat, you could just walk off the pier and check-in. 

We know the coordinates of the northeast corner of the inn because the National Geodetic Service placed a Continuously Operating Reference Station there (see Stand Under Bayocean Hotel Annex's Chimney). Its description says the CORS was 260' west of the shore of the Tillamook Bay. By using online measuring tools and a Tillamook County tax map that shows both the Dike Road and original Bayocean plat map, I determined that end of the pier would have been at least 1/8 mile west of Dike Road.

Photo from Tillamook County Pioneer Museum
This point is about 1/2 mile north of the parking lot gate. It's close to a sandy spot on the west side of Dike Road.  If you have a GPS reader it will be at latitude 45.527 (since the dock was pretty wide we don't need to go beyond three decimal points). When you get there, stop for a moment and imagine hiking out to watch the "dinky" railroad engine unload construction materials from a barge.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Competition for Bayocean's Natatorium

I recently learned from Cape Meares resident Deborah Thomas Neal that Bayocean's natatorium had competition in its day. I'll admit to having thought the term was just something the Potter's made up. Not so. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition defines "natatorium" as "an indoor swimming pool" and says the use of the term began somewhere between 1885 and 1890. Today, indoor swimming pools are commonplace. Perhaps at the end of the 19th Century promoters thought it would increase business by giving them a fancier name. Several were constructed in the Pacific Northwest soon after the start of the 20th Century.

Nye Beach Natatorium photo from Salem Public Library
The Ashland Mineral Springs Natatorium was the first of its kind in Oregon, opening Saturday, October 30, 1909. Nye Beach Natatorium in Newport was much closer to Bayocean, and thus would have been tougher competition. Descriptions of photos in the Salem Public Library collections say that it was built in 1911. Since it was rebuilt after burning down in 1922 it must have been a profitable business. But by 1966 it was in disrepair, and eventually was replaced by the Nye Beach turnaround and beach access. This was a use much better suited to the location, as made evident by a 1939 photo by Roger Hart showing ocean waves crashing onto the natatorium's porch.
Photo of Bayocean Natatorium in its final days,
from the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum


The Potters knew their natatorium couldn't be the first in Oregon or on the beach, so added a wave generator that simulated ocean waves so bathers could enjoy the experience year-round. This wave generator appears to be the first of its kind, though Wikipedia's coverage of "wave pools" erroneously gives that honor to the Gellert Baths of Budapest, Hungary, which were built in 1927. Perhaps Wikipedia authors don't count Bayocean because it no longer exists. Being closest to the ocean, it was the first of the resort buildings lost. The west was partially collapsed after being undercut during a winter storm in 1932. It was later deconstructed.
Photo of Bayocean Natatorium at its best
from the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum


Rockaway and Seaside built natatoriums in the 1920s. It was evidently quite the rage, according to More Beneath Sands of Oregon Coast Town Than Meets the Eye, a story told with the help of local historian Don Best. Unfortunately, their fates were all the same - though the Rockaway Natatorium's nemesis was a river, not the ocean. Using ORMAP with a Tillamook County tax map overlay, the GPS coordinates of the southwest corner of the lot where the Bayocean Natatorium was built are 45.527644, -123.955606. You can reach it on low tide. Concrete chunks were last seen during an extremely low tide several years ago by Harold Bennett and his son Kevin. 


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Bayocean's Dinky Railroad

A popular belief that the fencing around the modern Bayocean Spit parking lot is made with rails from the resort town's railroad is false. In "Chapter 8" of  Bayocean: The Oregon Town that Fell Into the SeaBert and Margie Webber point out that the rails used for the parking lot fence are standard size, while Bayocean's railroad was what the Potter's referred to in their promotional material as a "dinky." This was recently confirmed by Harold Bennett, who grew up on Bayocean in the late 1940s. The engine was gone by then, but many of the rails remained. 


Photo of "dinky" railroad picking up construction material
from a barge,  from Tillamook County Pioneer Museum
Tourists riding "dinky" railroad shows how small it was.
Tillamook County Pioneer Museum


Section of rail from "dinky" railroad
 contributed by Dale Webber for
a 2014 exhibit on Bayocean at the
Tillamook County Pioneer Museum
The small rails and engine made it possible for workers to change the route as one building was completed and another began. The route always went back to the pier where construction materials were unloaded. On occasion, it would be used to give guests of the resort a fun ride. 

The Webbers led a 1972 search party that found remnants of "dinky" rails, which they hid and later shared among those involved. Thankfully, the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum received a piece one for its archives.

A "dinky" rail system was also used by the Whitney Lumber Company, over at Kilchis Point, starting in 1919. This was after Bayocean Park was completed, so this may be where their engine ended up. According to Gary Albright, the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum Director, and driving force behind the Kilchis Point Reserve, the rounded point at the end of the Reserve trail was deposited after the ocean created a 3/4 mile wide gap in the Bayocean in November 1952. Kilchis Point proper is south of the Reserve on private land. The end of the trail would have been a little bay where Whitney dumped its logs, to be taken to its mill in Garibaldi.  

Plaque along the Kilchis Point Reserve trail 


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Cassin’s Auklets Wreck Hits Bayocean

This winter tens of thousands of dead Cassin's Auklets have appeared on beaches all along the Pacific Coast, 10 to 100 times normal rates, according to the University of Washington report "Cassin's Auklet North Pacific Winter Wreck 2014-2015". Volunteers with COASST and CoastWatch have been collecting and counting specimens, many of which were autopsied to determine cause of death. Audubon Magazine's "Lost at Sea: Starving Birds in a Warming World" agrees with UW and others that the dead birds are juveniles who starved for reasons associated with global warming.


Photo by D. Derickson of COASST





















Unfortunately, Bayocean participated in this "wreck". In a CoastWatch report on December 26, 2014, Cape Meares resident Olli Olikainen counted 126 dead auklets along Mile 289, which is at the northern end of the ocean side of the spit, and 121 dead auklets along Mile 286.  The Cape Meares Community Association web site lists others who helped out: Keith and Anita Johanson, BJ Byron, Kevin and Kathy Burke, Carolyn Olikainen, Wendy Kunkel, Dave Audet, John Harland, Ciel Downing, Rod Pelson, and Pete Steen. Thanks to all of you for doing this unpleasant but important work.

The good new is that Olli saw no dead birds on March 30, 2015 , just a few remaining bones and feathers. Hopefully all  seen on Bayocean in the future will be flying by like little tennis balls against the backdrop of a coastal sunset.


Photo by Jamie Chavez via Flickr Creative Commons
Photo by Julio Mulero via Flickr Creative Commons

 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bayocean Shoreline Changes Over Time

In Oregon Coastal Atlas I mentioned a web viewer set up by Tanya Haddad to view changes in Bayocean's shorelines from 1939 to 1964, using aerial photographs from the Army Corps of Engineers. The four diagrams below show the changes in a different way. Figures 19 and 20 are the last two pages of the Final Impact Statement for the Extension of Tillamook South Jetty, again provided by the Corps.