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Cape Meares


Cape Meares is a small headland on the Pacific coast in Tillamook County, Oregon. The cape forms a high steep bluff on the south end of Tillamook Bay, approximately five miles northwest of the city of Tillamook. Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint has three miles of hiking trails, which includes the Cape Meares Lighthouse and the Octopus Tree. The cape is named after John Meares, a British explorer.

The Bayocean Spit is a popular site for tourists, bike riders and beach combers and is the former location of the town of Bayocean. The location was said to have been discovered by co-founder Thomas Irving Potter while sight-seeing and hunting along the Oregon Coast. It was purchased by both T. I. Potter and his father/business partner Thomas Benton Potter, who envisioned the venture as the "Atlantic City of the West".

Believing the site to have an exceptional view of the both Tillamook Bay and the Pacific Ocean, the new town's name was logically derived from both.

Bayocean had many features uncommon for a small town of its time, including a dance hall, a hotel with orchestra, a 1000-seat movie theater, a shooting range, a bowling alley, tennis courts, a rail system and four miles of paved streets.

One notable attraction was a heated natatorium, complete with a wave generator and a special section for a band to play music to entertain the swimmers.

While Bayocean's economy was based on tourism, there were other businesses in town, including a cannery, a tin shop, a machine shop, and a Texaco gas station.

In a time when many other towns did not have technological infrastructure like electricity or paved roads, Bayocean hosted a water system, a telephone system and a diesel-driven power plant.

Although a new single jetty made for a much smoother journey into the bay, the one-sided change to the coastline began a process of erosion to Bayocean's beaches, slowly narrowing them before overtaking them completely.

In 1932, waves from a massive storm finally crossed the beach and destroyed the huge natatorium. The spit itself was further damaged by winter storms in 1939, 1942, 1948, and by 1952 what was left of Bayocean had become an island.

Bayocean's post office closed in 1953. What little remained of the town was demolished during the reclamation and dike-building project of 1956.

5 homes were rescued and relocated to other locations, but in 1960, Bayocean's last house was washed away, and in 1971, the last remaining building, a garage, finally fell into the ocean.

With the addition of a second jetty built in the 1970s, sand began to re-accumulate on the spit. The site is now the location of Bayocean Peninsula County Park and virtually all traces of the town are gone. All that remains of Bayocean is a commemorative sign at the south end of the park.

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