Bay Ocean Spit and Ghost Town
Unlike many of my other Ghost Town posts, there will be no pictures of modern Bay Ocean. That is because the exact location of the town is deep under sand and water in Tillamook Bay. The town was platted in 1906, but the first plot was not sold until 1907. At it’s height of population it had about 2000 permanent residents and an unknown larger number of seasonal tourists. But by 1954, the town was totally empty. In 1956 the US Corp of Army Engineers bulldozed much of the town, but one lonely building survived until 1971.
The town was slowly washed away after a jetty was was built to protect the bay. Unfortunately only one of the two required jetties were built, causing the sand to be washed away.
Much more information about Bay Ocean can be found at these sites:
http://www.pdxhistory.com/html/bayocean.html (Great Pictures here!)
Two signs are at the entrance to the spit.
“Bay Ocean supports a rich variety of bird life. The shallow estuary, dunes, lake, marsh, and forest provide varied and attractive habitats. Over 200 species of birds are known to nest, feed and rest in the area. Some are permanent residents, while others visit seasonally. While enjoying the birds, try not to disturb them. Please observe State and Federal laws, which protect most birds. Only game species during open season may be hunted.”
“In 1906 T.B. Potter, real estate broker from Kansas City dreamed of this peninsula being a second Atlantic City. Francis B. Mitchell bought the first lot in 1907 and he was the last to leave in 1952. Business had a grand opening in June 22, 1912. It consisted of a general store, post office, a 2 story hotel, bowling alley, tin shop and bakery. The hotel had automatic fire sprinklers. There was a Natatorium with a pool 50x150ft. There were 4 miles of pavement, City lights & Water, telephone system and a narrow gauge railroad . By 1914, 600 building lots had been sold and 2000 people involved. In 1952 the sea cut a half mile swatch making Bay Ocean an island. Breakwater was built in 1956 and re-established the peninsula. Of 59 homes and summer cottages, only 5 were moved in time. On Feb 15, 1960 the last house washed into the sea, and the City of Bay Ocean was but a dream again.”
These days, the area is good camping, hunting, and most importantly, hiking and bird watching. Bay Ocean Spit can be reached by driving along Bay Ocean Road west of Tillamook and just north of Cape Meares.