Sunday, November 26, 2006

Bay Ocean

S WIND 25 TO 30 KT.

I was reading the Sunday paper today in which an article was detailing the damage to the jetties at Barview. The jetties have lost hundreds of feet, have been breached and repaired in many areas and the channel itself is silted up and dangerously shallow, as evidenced by numerous fatal boating accident over the past few years suffered by vessels trying to cross the bar during heavy swells.

Another concern is that if the north jetty is permitted to deteriorate further it could potentially threaten the community of Barview, which owes its existence to the build up of sand on the north side of the jetty. This brought to mind the fate of another Oregon community that disappeared over a half century ago...Bay Ocean. Curiously, some contend that it was the construction of the north jetty that contributed to Bay Ocean's demise and the subsequent increase of land mass at Barview. Although there is no hard proof that the construction was the jetty was the determining factor in the devastating erosion that doomed Bay Ocean to be reclaimed by the Pacific.

The paragraphs below are from the website "PDX"...the site also has numerous vintage images that detail life in Bay Ocean.

Bayocean was to become the Atlantic City of the West in the dreams of the town’s founder and first promoter, T.B. Potter in 1906. Bad health forced Potter, a real estate promoter from Kansas City, to leave Oregon before the town officially opened and the task of promoting and building the Resort Community was passed on to Potter’s son, Thomas Irving Potter. The first lot was sold in 1907 to Francis Mitchell, a 37-year old druggist who opened a grocery store. By 1914, 600 lots had been sold to house 2000 inhabitants.

There were grand plans for the new coastal resort, it was heralded as “The Playground of the Pacific Northwest”, but most of the plans never came to fruition. Bayocean was built on a sand dune on a spit between the Pacific Ocean and the fresh water of Tillamook Bay.

There were three Hotels and boarding houses, a School, a General Store, a Bakery and several other businesses. The Amusements consisted of a Trap Shoot Range, a Bowling Alley and Tennis Courts. Bayocean had a Cannery, a Tin Shop, Machine Shop and a Texaco gas station. The Town had a sophisticated water system, a telephone system and a power plant with a diesel engine that provided electricity. A Grand Opening for the Beach Resort was held on June 20, 1912 complete with a parade and marching band.

Additionally, the Natatorium at Bayocean housed a 1000 seat movie theater and a 50 X 160 foot pool, which varied from one foot to 11 and 1/2 feet in depth, it was heated and was known for its wave machine. The building housed dressing rooms, tub and shower baths, boilers, pumping and heating machinery, a laundry and an electric light plant.

A road from Tillamook was finally completed in 1928 and a school opened in 1932. The school doubled as a house of worship. Eventually, more than 2,000 sandy lots were sold and about 60 homes were built. The town boasted four miles of paved streets.

By the time the road opened, erosion had begun to take a toll as several buildings washed into the sea, and the Dance Hall had burned down. The town had about 50 year-round residents, but in the summer, the crowds would swell to several thousand inhabitants.

By 1932, the ocean had taken a tole on the Natatorium. It was no longer safe to swim there. As the ocean washed away the sand and under footings, the walls of the Natatorium began to sag and the roof collapsed in 1936. It had totally disappeared by 1939. The Post Office closed on March 31, 1953 as most of the resort town’s residents had moved away. Mr. Mitchell was the last resident to leave. By 1954, the spit washed out, making Bayocean an island. It became known as the town that fell into the sea.

Over the next few years, the town was closed and the remaining buildings were burned down, removed or torn down. The last house fell into the ocean in 1960. Several of the original buildings from Bayocean were moved to Cape Meares, including the School House, which is now a Community Center. Funds are being raised for restoration, and they are over half way to their goal of $40,000.

Unfortunately, very little else of Bayocean survives today, just a few pieces of concrete here and there, and just a few fading memories.


foul pete said...

Interesting history. The developers had visions of a "Coney Island of the West." I've been meaning to walk out there for sometime as nature's reclaimation from civilization is a fascination of mine. Plus I want to check SJ TB.

gaz said...

There is so little sand left it would be tough to build 25 houses along that spit without being worried that they would be erased within a few swells.

Less sand today than 100 years ago, maybe those jetties have depleted the dunes.

Anonymous said...

Love jetty surfs. There is one that is my home jetty for the Winter season. She's a bitch but stay with her long enough and she'll pay off.

Davis Miller said...

I like this place! I love the idea and wish there was a place like this in Astoria, Queens. I am a surfer and found a "real surfer bar" in Point Break NYC. I am kinda jealous ;0PIts filled with surfers, people who like surfers, people who like the beach and people who don't want to live close to town. I really like this place. You know what they have these real Proctor and Channel One surfboards on the wall. It's nice for coming any day of the week and eating a late brunch. The food was outstanding. The brunch and sides were prefect and tasty. It is a perfect "escape" from city living. It is probably one of the only places where you can get a nice frozen pina colada or margarita. The service was on hit. They came up and checked on us so many times and made sure everything was up to par. It gets very active and the bartenders keep everybody having a good time. The bartender was very accommodating. He was nice enough to make a drink, that wasn't on the menu, for me :0) Did I mention the bartenders are nice eye candy. It was amazing to see their “das boot” which is shaped like a boot filled with beer. Don’t get me wrong, I am not drunk…it’s an actual boot shaped beer container ready to be emptied. Try it ..You will love it!! Oh. How can I forget, they even have a wheel o' shots where you just have to spin it and have to drink whatever shot it lands on!! Now call that bar creativity at its best!!! And when I spill a tray full of shots on myself, the bartender so kindly remakes them for me? Good music, too, and the decor helped us weather an otherwise overcast and rainy day. You know that old song "Brandy"? It goes, "Brandy, you're a fine girl, what a good wife you would be. But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea." I believe Brandy works here. No reason, I just do. And that song happens to be a guilty pleasure of mine, so that's a plus in my book. You can simply waltz over to this colorful and warm establishment, enjoy some drinks with friends, and walk home. The bar is right at the center, so you can walk to either side for drinks, and the bartenders are friendly and at your service. There is a variety of seating, good music, and friendly neighborhood people to make your time more enjoyable. Not pretentious, very cozy, I think Point Break is a fabulous place to spend some time with friends.

Tina aka forrestina vintage said...

I live in Portland, OR, and am reading the book, "Bayocean, the town that fell into the sea" - published in 1989. We just visited that area this July 4th, and I highly doubt that anything could be found from the original development. There was very little to find when the research for the book was being conducted during the 1970s-1980s. It's still a lovely spot and nice that it's preserved as a natural habitat for the birds and critters of that spot on the coast.