Latitude / Longitude:
45° 31′ 39.37″ N, 123° 57′ 8.47″ W
Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
Bayocean was a community in Tillamook County, Oregon, United States. Sometimes known as “the town that fell into the sea”, it was a planned resort community founded in 1906 on Tillamook Spit, a small stretch of land that forms one wall of Tillamook Bay. Bayocean’s post office was established on February 4, 1909, and by 1914, the town’s population was 2,000. Only a few decades later however, Bayocean had become a ghost town, having had many of its attractions destroyed by “man-induced” coastal erosion. The town’s unforeseen destruction is believed by many to have been caused, ironically, by the residents themselves.
The location of Bayocean 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.
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.
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. In 1960, Bayocean’s last house was washed away, and in 1971, the last remaining building, a garage, finally fell into the ocean.