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Seaside Event Digs Into Mysterious Bayocean, the Oregon Coast Ghost Town

Published 09/20/23 at 10:37 p.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Seaside Event Digs Into Mysterious Bayocean, the Oregon Coast Ghost Town

(Seaside, Oregon) – Fall rolls in around on the Oregon coast and a true sign of the season is History & Hops kicking back into gear in Seaside, where various historians and fascinating lectures take place at Seaside Brewing Co. They run from September through May, and they always provide some engaging experience or another.

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The first one up for the season is Jerry Sutherland, Portland historian and author of Bayocean: Atlantis of Oregon, which was published in February 2023. He talks at the History & Hops event September 28 at 6 p.m., giving a deep-dive into an engaging mystery about the Oregon coast: what was known as Bayocean Park.

It's probably the only ghost town on the Oregon coast that's considered a ghost in itself: nothing of it can be found anymore.

Bayocean Park became Seaside’s fiercest competitor after its construction started in 1907 by offering tourists simultaneous views of Tillamook Bay and the Pacific Ocean from a one-hundred-foot-high ridgeline, a choice of hotels, tents, and cottages to stay in, restaurants, dance and amusement halls, and a massive natatorium with a wave-generating machine. Fifty-nine homes were built during the half century it existed by people who loved the place so much they continued going up after erosion started taking those close to the shore. By 1960, all evidence that a resort town had existed was gone.

History & Hops is a series of local history discussions hosted by the Seaside Museum on the last Thursday of each month, September through May, at Seaside Brewing Co. The event is free to attend, and everyone is welcome to join in the fun.

Sutherland is now the number one source on the history of the curious former landmark. He first learned of Bayocean while writing Calvin Tibbets: Oregon’s First Pioneer. When not presenting slide shows on Tibbets’s adventures - including History and Hops appearances in 2017 and 2019 - he scoured archives across the United States, tracking down every detail, especially the personal stories of people impacted. When COVID descended on the world, Sutherland brought it all together in the newly-published book.

Bayocean is perhaps the most fascinating and even riveting of all the Oregon coast's long and winding history. There were six miles of roads slinking about the place – hard to imagine all that crammed within Bayocean Peninsula Park now. That and all the electricity strung throughout the resort, telephones, and major ferries for a time: they combined into a formidable tourism draw and attraction for those who wanted to live out here part time in luxury.

Bayocean now - Oregon Coast Beach Connection

A series of failed deals, World War I, and the Great Depression ended this grand dream. And by the '30s chunks of the place were washed out by winter storms. Even the spit itself was torn in half for a time, but eventually sand rebuilt it. In the meantime, all those buildings were eaten by the sea, and those that weren't lay in sad disrepair for decades until it was all bulldozed over by the government in the '70s.

Preserving Seaside’s History since 1974, the Seaside Museum & Historical Society is a non-profit educational institution with the mission to collect, preserve, and interpret materials illustrative of the history of Seaside and the surrounding area. The museum is open Wednesday - Saturday from 11 AM - 4 PM.

For further information, please contact Emily Halverson during museum hours at 503-738-7065, or send an email to MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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