Bay City grapevine

History of Bay City Oregon

The Bay City United Methodist Church

Mill at Bay City Razed by Fire

The Rise and Fall of the "San Francisco of the North"

Law and Order and Public Services in Old Bay City

Dr. William C. Hawk and the Tillamook Bay Hospital

The Pioneering Spirit, or How The West was Won?

History of Bay City Oregon

The Bay City/Tillamook newspaper wars of 1891-‘93

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
By John R. Sollman

Though the Lewis and Clark expedition is highly touted in many history books as the first crossing of the North American continent by white men, they were certainly not the first. The Hudson's Bay Company was well-entrenched in Canada, and the Northwest was a favorite source of furs and pelts for the French trappers of that era.

It is even rumored that Sir Francis Drake might have visited the Pacific Northwest in the Golden Hind two centuries earlier, and that Tillamook Bay was actually the Drake's Bay of legend. The tall, straight firs of the Pacific Northwest were highly prized as masts for English men of war. All said, the Indians of western Oregon and Washington were well-acquainted with white men long before Lewis and Clark.

Joseph L. Meek had been raised in Virginia and was well educated. But the lust for adventure, to be part of something new, drove him to St. Louis, Missouri, in the fall of 1828, at the tender age of 18 years. He applied to trader William Sublette for a job as a trapper with his trading company. After some soul searching, Sublette took the lad on, and in March 1829 Joe Meek became one of 54 trappers en route to the Rocky Mountains.

But by 1839 the fur trade was no longer lucrative. It had lost its luster, and Joe Meek, his Nez Perce Indian wife Virginia and several other Mountain Men set out for Oregon and civilization. Emigrants from the East had begun arriving in Oregon in 1840. Joe Meek and his party of trappers and their Indian wives arrived at the Willamette River Dec. 15, 1840, to begin their new lives.

But their trek from the Wallowas over the Blue Mountains to the Willamette Valley was no picnic. At one point, completely out of food, they came upon a missionary settlement and asked for a few pieces of bread. Their entreaties were met with stony silence, for it was Sunday, and the Sabbath could not be violated --- not even to perform an act of kindness for a starving human being. As described by Harvey Tobie in his book, "No Man like Joe," the missionaries "were really caught up in religious zeal for soul-saving, to the exclusion of more immediate and pressing needs."

Meek set aside the Mountain Man of old and became one of the principal movers and shakers to seek territorial status for Oregon, which then extended north to 54º 40' --- or so everyone wished. The Oregon Territory was actually born in a place called Champoeg, today a state park on the Willamette River. Owing to Meek's spectacular and colorful performance in Washington as the "Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary from the Republic of Oregon to the Court of the United States," outrageously dressed and speaking the language of the Snake Indians, the Congress of the United States granted Oregon territorial status on August 13, 1848. Meek had made his way around to all of Washington's power brokers, and even had a personal audience with President James K. Polk. Today, Meek's descendents operate a pharmacy in Portland.

For many of the immigrants flooding into Oregon during the mid-19th Century, the end of the Oregon Trail was not Oregon City or Monmouth, but rather Tillamook County. These were men and women of hardy pioneer stock. They had to be, because the Oregon Trail was littered with graves of those who couldn't make it. Many came from the Southeast. These were people who had made their living in the pine forests of the South, lured to Oregon by stories of the tall fir and spruce forests of the Northwest.

The late 19th and early 20th Centuries were times when a deal could be consummated with handshake, a man's word was his bond, and neighbors always turned out in droves to help newcomers put up their houses and barns. It was a time of minimal government and maximum self-reliance. It was a time when men and women were rugged and accustomed to hoisting themselves up by their own bootstraps.

Oregon became the 33rd state of the Union on February 14, 1859, after only 11 years as a territory. Clackamas County once extended from the Willamette River to the Continental Divide. But that wouldn't last long. In those days, counties were established so that the county court house would never be more than a day's ride from anywhere in the county. But later, many county lines would be redrawn according to economic interest.

The early 20th Century was a time of unabashed promotion and profiteering. John O. Bozorth and his brother, Scott, published a promotional brochure about 1914 --- the railroad was operating, but work on the North Jetty would not be completed until 1915 --- which gave some pretty outlandish descriptions of the glories of Bay City and environs.

In promoting Bay City, Bozorth describes the water system, which he owned, as having "a capacity to supply 6,000 people. The water comes from Patterson Creek, one and one-half miles east of the city. The water is of excellent purity, and is equal to Bull Run water. The Bay City Land Company has acquired Sugar Loaf Mountain, just east of the city, on which it intends to have a stand pipe. This will give immense pressure in case of fire. Sugar Loaf Mountain is about 400 feet high and contains about forty acres. Its symmetrical beauty is enhanced by the more distant mountains as a background. The company owns water rights on the Wilson River. This capacity will be sufficient to supply 150,000 people. Thus BAY CITY is assured of absolutely pure water."

Most of downtown Bay City burned to the ground, chiefly because the fire department couldn't get enough water pressure to get water onto a fire.

 

 

In promoting Bay City as a metropolis, the brochure says: "Like Portland, Bay City has its heights; also its unlimited area for expansion. The level valley to the east, northeast and southeast provides for hundreds of thousands of people without congestion. That a big, beautiful city on Tillamook Bay --- conspicuous for its skyscrapers, tall towers and smoke stacks and palatial homes gracing the sloping hills to the north --- will be a reality before many years, is the consensus of opinion of those who have watched the movement of capital and labor on the Pacific Coast."

And the brochure goes on, from one outrageous claim to the next, without blinking an eye.

But there was an ugly side to early Oregon. The Oregon Constitution initially proclaimed that the state was for Whites only. Black people might venture into the state in connection with their jobs, often as railroad porters, but they couldn't stay. That law was repealed in the 1920s, but the anti-Black sentiment remained for many years. It was not until the start of WWII that many Blacks came to Portland to work in the shipyards.

In the early 20th Century, the Oregon Legislature enacted a Eugenics Statute, which provided that any person who was "feeble minded" or likely to sire an "abnormal" offspring be involuntarily sterilized. Many of these procedures were performed on residents of Fairview, a facility for children with special needs. Many had cerebral palsy; others were seriously developmentally disabled. To our eternal shame, this statute remained on the books until 1985.

There is yet another dark chapter in Oregon's history. Bigotry raised its ugly head with the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan about 1920. The Great War ended in 1918, and with it the European ruling houses of Hohenzollern, Habsburg and Romanoff. In the vacuum that was Europe, there arose Bolshevism in Russia, and Communism became the latest "in" thing at American universities.

Then there was the Industrial Workers of the World, or Wobblies, which advocated that all workers be united as a class, that the wage system be abolished, and that the workplace be a democracy where the workers elect recallable delegates.

Partially out of a sense of patriotism following the end of the Great War, and partially out of a sense of xenophobia and religious bigotry, the Klan became a force to reckon with. Both the Klan and the Wobblies reached the height of their power about 1923, after which both declined because of internal squabbling and disagreement over organization and policy.

The Klan in Tillamook County was particularly powerful, many of the County leaders being Klan members. The Klan viewed movements such as the Wobblies as being un-American and unpatriotic. The Klan's objectives were to assure that the country remained native, white and Protestant. America should be for the Americans, Klansmen would say, forgetting that we all came from Europe.

There was distrust and dislike for Roman Catholics, and the Klan campaigned heavily to keep Catholics from being elected to public office. The fear was that if Catholics ran the country, it would be at the dictates of their masters in Rome. The Jews were also disliked and distrusted. (For many years after the ratification of the United States Constitution, the City of New York forbade the construction of Synagogues.)

There was an incident, which remains in dispute, about the alleged branding of Mrs. A.M. Standish in January 1923. Mrs. Standish, a widow, was viewed by the good Christian ladies of Tillamook as a person of loose morals, whose kind should not be tolerated in polite society. Standish complained that a group of Klansmen hiding in her home had branded a cross on one of her breasts as a reminder that she should mend her ways or get out of town.

But the incident was never investigated, the Klan claiming that Mrs. Standish had inflicted the branding upon herself, using iodine or some other caustic substance, solely to discredit the Klan. Klan membership included county judges, police chiefs and prosecutors.

But ideological differences, and often disgust with some Klan programs, caused membership to decline drastically, and eventually the Klan could not collect enough through dues to sustain itself.

As a society we have come a long way from the days of feudalism, but we have a very long way to go. Let us hope that Bay City's second Centennial Celebration sees a return of the old values of trust and honor, and that people in that distant future are tolerant and respectful of others' beliefs and customs.

Sources for this article were "The Ku Klux Klan in Tillamook, Oregon," by Eckert V. Toy, Jr., for the "Pacific Northwest Quarterly, April 1962, reprinted in Tillamook History," published by the Tillamook Pioneer Association; promotional pamphlet "Bay City, the Deep Water Seaport and Railroad Terminus"; and "No Man Like Joe" by Harvey E. Tobie, for the Oregon Historical Society.

Dr. William C. Hawk and The Tillamook Bay Hospital
By John R. Sollman

Dr. William Calvin Hawk received his medical degree from Rush Medical College in Illinois and married Emma McLain about 1870. The couple traveled around the country, first in the South, and then westward. In each location, he would hang out his shingle, and she would open up a millinery shop. She also taught the local ladies how to make their own stunning bonnets. According to a piece in "Tillamook, Lest We Forget" by the Hawks' grandson, Herbert "Hub" Miller, Dr. Hawk was in Tombstone the day of the famed Gunfight at the OK Corral. Dr. Hawk and his family finally settled in Jefferson, near Salem, and opened a practice there.

But the Westward urge was strong in him, and in 1905 he traveled to Tillamook County to see whether there would be any prospect for him to establish his practice there. He soon acquired property in Bay City and returned to Jefferson to close out his practice and move his extended family to Bay City.

In June 1907, Dr. Hawk and Emma departed the Willamette Valley and traveled overland, by covered wagon, to the fledgling City by the Bay. His household goods had been shipped ahead aboard the Sue H. Elmore, which in those days had brought many early settlers to the Tillamook area. We know the trip took place in late June, because Hub Miller, in his book, "Adventures of an Oregon Country Boy," recalls celebrating his fourth birthday at the Grand Ronde Indian Reservation.

Hub Miller described the trek from Jefferson in his book: "It took us six days to travel that one hundred and twenty miles [from Jefferson to Bay City by covered wagon]. We saw deer, bear, and once a cougar crossed the road in front of us. We made about 20 miles a day. Both my grandfather, Dr. Hawk, and my grandmother drove the horses, spelling each other from time to time." Hub had yet another companion on his westward trek by covered wagon: his dog, Rowdy. The two were virtually inseparable until Rowdy died at the ripe old doggy age of 14 years.

Dr. Hawk, learning that a railroad was in the offing, obtained a contract to provide medical care for railroad workers and, in 1908, set about building a hospital. It was an imposing structure, three stories tall, with a fourth story, flanked by two turrets, in the center of the building. There were no power tools in those days. All that was required was a strong back, a pair of strong arms, and the will to get it done.

The hospital had 80 rooms, a large hospital at a time when most small town hospitals were located in the home of a physician-owner. At one time, during the great flu pandemic of 1918, the hospital cared for 1,500 patients, none of whom died, according to Miller.

 

 

Dr. Hawk didn't confine his activities to the Tillamook Bay Hospital. On June 18, 1910, he became a member of the first Board of Commissioners for the Port of Bay City. The City would not incorporate until September of that year.

The good doctor partnered with two of the Watt brothers and several others to purchase an old homestead about five miles north of Garibaldi. They surveyed the place, subdivided it into lots of about 25 feet by 70 feet and called the place Rockaway Beach.

But it was not to last. In 1922 Dr. Hawk and Emma were traveling by auto over the road through Hebo when they were stuck by a drunken driver. Dr. Hawk died immediately, and Emma died several months later. In those days, the doctor and his hospital were one. Without a doctor, there was no longer a hospital.

The building, located near Portland Avenue on a promontory overlooking the bay, became a sanitarium and a hotel, its customers coming to take in the fresh ocean air and enjoy the stunning views of the bay and the ocean beyond. Tuberculosis was very common in those days, and many believed the best cure was to get lots of fresh air and plenty of rest. And it seemed to work for many.

There are several stories about the ultimate demise of the Tillamook Bay Hospital building. Some have it that the building burned to the ground, and the remaining undamaged timbers were sold piece by piece. Other versions of the story say that the entire building was dismantled and sold board by board. All that remains today are three of the concrete walls which once housed the hospital's boiler plant. Those three walls today serve as three walls of the author's Bay City home.

Digging around the property to dispose of blackberries and other noxious plants has yielded countless pharmacy bottles, badly rusted surgical instruments and all sorts of other hospital artifacts. An intact, undamaged Edison light bulb was even recovered. There was even a fear that human body parts might be uncovered, but, thankfully, that never happened.

Sources for this article were "Adventures of an Oregon Country Boy" by Herbert "Hub" Miller, "Port of Garibaldi, the First 100 Years" by Jack Graves, and "Tillamook, Lest We Forget," published by the Tillamook Pioneer Association.

Law and Order and Public Services in Old Bay City
By John R. Sollman

Herbert "Hub" Miller, in his book, "Adventures of an Oregon Country Boy," describes a society where murders were rare, most thefts were petty, and domestic spats always got more coverage in the "Headlight-Herald." Most of the action was in white-collar crime --- people getting swindled out of their money through blue-sky investment scams.

Bay City once had a town marshal named Longcore, who threw people in the town jail for fighting, or being drunk and disorderly. After sobering up following a night in the city jail, the now-chastened inebriate would be released after paying a hefty fine of about $2 and promising to lay off the sauce. But rarely were those promises kept for long --- sometimes no longer than 10 or 12 hours. That hefty $2 fine may seem trivial today, but it was a day's wages then.

The town jail was a curious structure. Miller describes it as having "two small cells, probably seven foot square, no furniture other than a wooden bunk and a built-up box-like structure along the back wall of each cell with a hole open to the ground below." Miller describes this curious arrangement as a "straight shot gravity-assisted plumbing system." And, because the structure sat several feet above ground level, the City Fathers had not deemed it necessary to dig a pit.

This building had the added feature of portability, and every so often, when the human waste had accumulated to the point where the pile protruded up through the duty hole, the Common Council of Bay City, as it was then called, would have to pass a resolution to move the jail.

Much of the land in downtown Bay City is fill, probably old dredging spoils from the bay. There were several streams meandering through the area in those days. According to several of Bay City's old-timers, the jail was eventually placed astraddle one of these streams. Problem solved. No more need to clean up all the night soil after moving the jail. Mother Nature did the job.

J.O. Bozorth had his fingers in many enterprises in old Bay City. In addition to his interests in the Bay City Land Company, the Tillamook Bay Company of Bay City and the Tillamook County Mutual Telephone Company, he founded the Bay City Power and Light Company. With the arrival of the P.R. & N. Railroad and the vacation-bound passengers it carried, Bay City was booming.

So, according to a story told by Robert Watt in 1986, Bozorth thought a booming town like Bay City should have electric lights. A gent named Foster was brought in to build the generating plant. Watt and Dan Simmons, both kids in 1912, were curious about the generator plant and how generators worked. According to Watt, Mr. Foster took the kids under his wing and helped them make several hand-held generators.

The light company occupied land about a block west of the present city hall. That would put it about in the middle of the present-day Coast Highway. A rail spur was built so that oil tanker cars could be shunted to a siding by the generating plant to fill the buried tank.

A huge hole was dug to accommodate a large steel tank. All went well until a heavy rainstorm filled the hole and floated the tank, breaking all the newly-installed plumbing. Someone figured that, perhaps, they should have dug and rocked a drainage-way before installing the tank. Today we are still trying to figure ways to handle stormwater runoff.

A steam-fired boiler powered an engine which turned the generator. But the rate of oil consumption probably hadn't been figured all too accurately, because it was discovered that they couldn't store enough oil to run the generator 24 hours a day. So the plant generated power from about 5 a.m. until it was broad daylight. The power would come back on about 5 p.m. and stay on until bedtime. Owing to pressure from the ladies, there would be power Tuesday mornings, so they could use their new-fangled electric irons.

A lawyer named Geneste had recently come to town, and he had his office in his home, which was located at the intersection of C Street (Hayes Oyster Drive) and the present-day Coast Highway. Geneste liked to put a light bulb under the blankets to warm them. One day, when he took the train to Portland, he neglected to remove it before leaving town. When the power, and the light, came on, the bedding caught fire.

The electric plant boiler was also used to sound the fire whistle. Marshal Longcore arrived and used the "power of his office" to break out a large plate glass window so the bucket brigade could get in and douse the fire.

According to Watt, Don Simmons invited a group of kids to his house to see him demonstrate his hand-cranked generator. The demonstration took place in the chicken house at feeding time. Don wet things down pretty well and managed to electrocute the rooster when he tried to peck at his grain --- several times. The dumb bird must have been really hungry because he would get up and try again --- and again --- and again.

Ken Simmons, who was a volunteer firefighter for 40 years, much of it as Bay City's Fire Chief, grew up in Bay City. He took great pride pointing out what building stood where, and when it burned down. According to Ken, most of old Bay City burned down. For the residents in those days, watching fires was a lot like watching television today. A fire was like a sporting event; it provided Bay City with all the excitement of a football game. What didn't burn down, Ken said, was torn down for its lumber, clean, straight-grained kiln-dried stuff, unlike anything you can buy today.

 

There was a strong rivalry between Bozorth and W.S. Cone, which eventually led to a lawsuit over the location of the boundary of the Port of Bay City. When Bozorth won the lawsuit, he blew the fire whistle at his boiler plant. Whenever the fire whistle blew, everyone turned out, expecting to see a fire. Disappointed at finding none, the people returned to their homes. Then Bozorth blew the whistle again --- and again. It was a fireless night to remember, one that certainly didn't do much to endear Bozorth to Bay City's fire-hungry residents.

In addition to his other holdings, Bozorth was the president of the Port of Bay City, established May 18, 1910. The other port commissioners were Theo Jacoby, Dr. William C. Hawk, Gust Nelson and C.W. Pike. Apparently Cone felt that the Port was encroaching on his holdings, giving rise to the litigation.

Bozorth's fire whistle was a real improvement upon the earlier method of announcing that a fire had broken out. Bay City's fire engine, actually a cart with a pumper, was pulled to the fire by a team of men. Whoever first spotted a fire would run to the "firehouse," a barn where the cart was kept, and ring the bell. The first four men to arrive pulled the cart to the fire, where volunteers used whatever means at hand to put it out. Hub Miller described the "fire engine" as "a two-wheeled cart painted bright red. It had a drum to hold the hose, and two small chemical tanks to hold the fire retardant, and a tongue about six feet long with cross bar handles." This contraption served Bay City's fire-fighting needs until the city got its first fire engine in 1929.

But the cart remained in service for many more years. In fact, on Halloween night in 1937, some pranksters emptied the cart's fire retardant tanks. The Common Council held a special meeting, fined them $10, and agreed to drop the charges if there were no more fires before the tanks could be refilled. The chemical cart was finally sold in 1951.

Bozorth unloaded the electric company to the Tillamook Light Company, which was later bought out by Mountain States, which was gobbled up by Pacific Power and Light.

All of early Bay City got its water from wells or by dipping it from some convenient nearby creek. It was not uncommon for houses to be built straddling a creek, with a trap door over the creek, taking care to assure that the city jail was downstream. It was very convenient to be able to dip buckets of water from the stream without having to go outside, especially during foul weather.

Bozorth, the quintessential entrepreneur, seeing yet another opportunity to make a buck, got some backing and acquired land on a large creek where he could create a reservoir. With water mains and fire hydrants installed, he sold water service to many of the town's residents and businesses, and later sold the water company to the city.

Ken Simmons recalled an instance when Orin Hess's three-story rooming house across from the fire house caught fire. Ken's uncle, Allen Simmons, took him downtown to watch the building burn down, the city pastime du jour. Hess was up on the roof with a garden hose, Ken recalled. The hose produced scarcely a two-foot stream of water, as Hess desperately tried to get some water on the fire. "J.O. Bozorth was standing there with us," Ken recalled. Bozorth still owned the water company. An irate Hess, spotting Bozorth in the crowd of onlookers, hollered, "J.O., I could pee a better stream than this."

During the '30s and into the '40s, the Common Council made the police chief responsible for equipping and maintaining the fire apparatus, in addition to his duties as a peace officer, road repairman, and, after the city had acquired Bozorth's water company, running that as well.

With the end of WWII, the Council focused on upgrading the fire department, and named K.R. Knutson fire chief in 1946. Knutson acquired a used 1941 tanker-pumper truck, but the deal nearly fell through until the Common Council agreed to guarantee to the Commercial Bank of Tillamook that the debt would be paid. Knutson left in 1949, to be replaced by Howard Wheatley, who set about the task of transforming Bay City's bucket brigade to a modern firefighting force.

Sources for this article were "Adventures of an Oregon Country Boy" by Herbert "Hub" Miller, selected minutes of the Common Council of Bay City, 1986 Recollections of Robert Watt, "Port of Garibaldi, the First 100 Years" by Jack Graves, and "Tillamook, Lest We Forget," published by the Tillamook Pioneer Association, and 1999 interview with Ken Simmons, former fire chief.

The Rise and Fall of the "San Francisco of the North"
By John R. Sollman

When the City of Bay City was preparing to incorporate for the second time in 1910, the region was well along in its transition from the pioneer days to the modernity of the 20th century. Greed was truly alive in well in those days of blue-sky speculation on everything from dairy animals to logging to real estate development to railroad building.

The area which was to become Bay City had the advantage of a large, reasonably deep bay protected from ocean storms by a sand spit some four miles west across the bay. When Captain Gray first transited the bar in the sloop, Lady Washington, to enter the bay in the late 1700s, he had 36 feet beneath the ship's keel at low tide. (There continues to be speculation whether Tillamook Bay was actually the Drake's Bay described in the ship's logs of Sir Francis Drake some 200 years earlier.)

A mill and shipyard had been established south of Bay City's Goose Point area where the "Morning Star" and several other vessels were constructed. The channels, in those days, were sufficiently deep to permit ocean-going vessels to transit the bay without danger of grounding. The Bay City area provided good docking and moorage potential, and a pier was constructed to facilitate movement by sea of Tillamook products, such as cheese, butter and timber, to consumers in Portland and the Willamette Valley.

It was Bay City's location on deep water with access to the sea which gave rise to all the speculation which was soon to develop. W.S. Cone and C.E. Wilson purchased 52 acres from George and Martha Jacoby in 1888 and platted out what was to become Bay City. It was not long before the fledgling City of Bay City was incorporated for the first time.

When a city is incorporated, there develops an urgent need to create rules to govern it. Most of the early ordinances came about as reactions to this situation or that. It became illegal, for instance, to leave piles of manure for longer than 30 days between March and November. Also, it became illegal to dump dead animals or garbage on one's property. Probably in response to citizen complaints, it was decreed illegal to have more than three heifers running at large within the city limits. It was also illegal to "become drunk and unfit by intoxication" to attend to one's social duties as a citizen. (That may be a polite way of saying that elimination of human waste is best done in private.)

Bay City's location on deep water, plus abundant timber, a growing dairy industry and the proximity of ocean beaches all gave rise to wild speculation among developers and entrepreneurs of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. John O. Bozorth owned most of the north part of Bay City, while W.S. Cone owned properties to the south. Cone came here from Bay City, Michigan, and that probably accounts for the town's name.

There was fierce competition between the two land companies, and no shortage of dirty tricks and one-upmanship to gain competitive advantage. The Bozarth brothers, John of Bay City and Scott of Portland, along with R.J. Hendricks of Salem, Oregon, chartered the Bay City Land Company. John Bozorth had his fingers in many enterprises in Tillamook County, including the Bay City First Bank and Trust Company, the Tillamook Bay Company of Bay City, and Tillamook County Mutual Telephone Company. Hendricks and Scott Bozorth both held interests in the Statesman Publishing Company of Salem, Oregon. (There are inconsistencies in the spellings of names, which was not uncommon in those days. In some stories, the brothers are referred to as John O. and Scott Bozarth.)

Astoria's rail connection to Portland was completed in 1898, and in 1906 a Mr. A.B. Hammond proposed extending the line from Astoria, through Tillamook, to Yaquina Bay. He sold his rail line to James J. Hill, builder of the Northern Pacific and Great Northern Railroads, who had designs on gaining access to the rich timber resources of the Oregon Coast.

But the Southern Pacific, which also had designs on the Coast's abundant virgin timber, had no desire to loose all that timber revenue to Hill. Somehow, a gent named Elmer E. Lytle mysteriously came up with enough backing in 1906 for his Pacific Railway and Navigation Company, or P.R. & N., to build a railroad from Portland to Tillamook. (The locals irreverently referred to the P.R. & N. as the "Punk, Rotten and Nasty.")

Construction was started at both ends at about the same time, and the so-called "Golden Spike" was driven in 1911. In addition to hauling timber, Lytle saw in the railroad a way to make a fortune hauling vacation-bound passengers.

Bayocean, a resort town, had been built on the Bayocean Spit, once known as Barnegat, and vacationers had to travel by sea to get there. From Portland, they came down the Columbia River aboard the "Sue H. Elmore," and later on the "Bayocean," across the Columbia Bar and again across the Garibaldi bar. At Bay City, they transferred to a launch for the trip across the bay to the resort community. The North Jetty was also nearing completion. The place was booming.

 

Bay City was hyped early on as the "San Francisco of the North," a deep-water seaport and railroad terminus of several transcontinental railroads. It is all summed up in a promotional brochure, published by Bozorth's Bay City Land Company and printed by Scott Bozorth's Statesman Printing Company in Salem, which makes outlandish and outrageous claims promoting Bay City. (The pamphlet is available at the Marion Barr Library in Bay City.)

Bozorth, who saw the railroad as a means to bring potential real estate customers to Bay City sans mal de mer, devoted several pages to the glories rail travel.

In an article entitled "Real Scenic Route of the Pacific Coast," the brochure hypes the vistas a rail passenger would see from a train transiting Portland's West Hills and heading for the Coast Range:

"Barring none, the P.R. & N. Railroad route from Portland to BAY CITY on Tillamook Bay is the most picturesque trip to be found in the West, and this means possibly the best in America. From the time the train leaves Portland --- even before leaving the city --- the traveler is absorbed in the beautiful panorama embracing Portland Heights, Willamette River, East Portland to the Columbia River, Mt. Tabor, Mt. Scott and the snow-capped mountain monarchs, Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens. Leaving the city, the Tualatin Valley with its golden wheat fields and luxuriant verdure, Council Crest and the Willamette Valley accupy [sic] the eye and the mind until the approach of the foothills of the Coast Range."

And this goes on for another page and a half. Obviously grammatically, geographically veridically and topographically challenged, the author seemed blissfully unaware that that a westbound rail traveler's eye would not be transfixed by views of Mt. Tabor or Mt. Scott, and that Mt. Adams is not visible at all from the Portland area. These features all lie well to the east of the Willamette River. But apparently the hype worked, because tourists came in droves to spend time on beaches at Rockaway and Garibaldi, or to take the launch from the Bay City pier to vacation at Bayocean across the bay.

In Bay City, Portlanders and Valley dwellers snapped up 25-foot by 40-foot lots on which they put up their tents or erected rude vacation structures. It was not a pretty sight.

It is interesting to note that the P.R. & N. was acquired by the Southern Pacific Railroad several years after its completion. SP continued to operate the railroad until, as a cost-cutting measure, it divested itself of all branch line operations. The railroad, or what is left of it, belongs to the Port of Tillamook Bay and is home to the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, which operates a steam-powered excursion train between Garibaldi and Rockaway Beach.

Rumor has it that a site in Portland was purchased, sight unseen, for use as a passenger depot. Sadly, the purchaser, either the P.R. & N. or SP, learned too late that the passenger depot would be located at the top of Marquam Hill. The land was later donated to the State of Oregon for construction of a medical school and hospital. Today it is the site of the Oregon Health and Sciences University and the Veterans' Hospital.

But nothing is forever. The San Francisco of the North was about to be undone. The completion of a highway to Oceanside and the Bayocean Spit in 1927 or 1928 enabled well-to-do vacationers to travel in their own motorcars. And Mother Nature was taking a hand. The decision to build only the north jetty, in spite of the recommendation of the Army Corps of Engineers to build a south jetty as well, changed the ocean currents. Soon the beach at Bayocean began to disappear, and it was not long before the resort community began collapsing into the sea.

Intense logging also took its toll. Ever-increasing volumes of silt washed down the rivers and into the bay. Massive volumes of silt spilled into the bay following the Tillamook Burns of the late thirties. Two separate breaches of the spit because of the swirling currents and eddies of the Pacific Ocean added to the silt load until the bay could no longer flush itself on the outgoing tide. Eventually all maritime activity shifted from Bay City and Tillamook to Garibaldi.

Bay City businesses, which had been raking in small fortunes from vacation travelers, dried up, as did boatbuilding at the mill south of town. The tycoons of the early 20th century learned a hard lesson. It's not nice to fool Mother Nature.

Sources for this article are pieces by George Abdil for the Headlight-Herald and noted railroad historian John T. Labbe, both reprinted in "Tillamook History."

The Bay City United Methodist Church
by John R. Sollman

Bay City's defining feature is the Bay City United Methodist Church, situated at the corner of 5th and D Streets. The church's origins go all the way back to the 1860s.

Lucy E. Doughty writes in her history of the Bay, or Kilchis, Church that when her family "arrived in Idaville or Bay District" in September 1870, they found that there was already an established church. It was called the "Bay Preaching Place," and met in the Kilchis River School House near the bay shore. (The Idaville area was once known as Jawbone.)

In those days, the bay shore was not where it is now. In fact, the mill where the Morning Star and other boats were built is located on the present-day Pioneer Museum property south of Bay City's Goose Point area, nowhere near today's bay shore. But that is another story.

Doughty writes as follows in "Tillamook History":

"There were only eight white families on the whole bay shore: the Vaughns and Aldermans on the little 'prairie' or open land reaching back from Idaville, Mr. and Mrs. Coleman on the tideland nearby, the Davidsons at the mouth of the Wilson River, the Hiram Smith and Hiram Terwilliger homes at the present site of Bay City, the Elmers across the bay on what is now the Beals place, and the Bayleys at Garibaldi; besides these, Webley Hauxhurst lived on the Sandspit that is now Bay Ocean."

Only the Colemans and the Hauxhursts belonged to the Bay Preaching Place. Doughty's parents, who had joined the Methodist Church in Iowa, rented a house belonging to the Vaughns, where Vaughn made kegs for butter and meat to be salted down and shipped out by boat. The minister in 1870, the Rev. James McCain, rode circuit and came to the Bay Preaching Place only once a month. But he was not the first. The records go back to the 1860s, when A.J. Howard rode a circuit consisting of three places of worship in the Tillamook area.

Times were tough then, as hardy pioneer families made their way overland from the Willamette Valley to seek new lives on the bountiful North Oregon Coast. The four families attending the church in the 1870s grew significantly, and by 1891 there were several groups holding services in the area, some Methodist and some Presbyterian.

15 families decided to build a church in the recently-incorporated town of Bay City. (According to "Tillamook History," Bay City was founded in 1888 by W.S. Cone. The town incorporated soon thereafter, only to unincorporate a few years later. The town reincorporated in 1910.) J.C. Bewley, W.T. Doughty and W.S. Cone signed the Articles of Incorporation for the Bay City church on July 23, 1891.

According to Delores McKay's research paper, construction of the new church began in 1892, led by one A.E. Richardson. Church members donated the funds to purchase building materials, some mortgaging their homes to do so, and set to work building their new church. The church, which cost $1,566.75 to build, was completed and dedicated on June 25, 1893. Still in use today, it is the oldest building in Tillamook County in continuous service as a church.

 

 

There were times of boom or bust. Ellen Bewley Minich, writing to a friend, commented on her family's loss of their home while they were building the new church in Bay City. Her father, J.C. Bewley, who had mortgaged his home for $800 to help build the church, lost it in the depression of 1893. Of her father, she wrote:

"About the Bay City Church; I would not say that Papa built it, though I am sure he was one of, if not the hardest worker, and the largest donor, in building it. Though many others gave all they could, he gave more than he could by borrowing the money and mortgaging the home which, on account of the terrible depression which came on just then, we had to lose our home, which must have been a sacrifice for them. They never complained though, and the Lord saw them through and we have no regrets, and feel that the building stands there where people worship and feel that it is a good monument to his memory...." ("Tillamook History")

In spite of his great loss, Bewley bought the bell and had it installed in the steeple. The church originally had an open steeple, which was prone to dry rot and had to be replaced. But the replacement steeple, not adequately secured to the church building, was unable to withstand the gusts of up to 129 mph during the great storm of December 2007. The new steeple, much more solidly anchored, is crowned by a huge cross which can be seen for miles.

Improvements to the church were made through the years. In 1952 a new basement was built under the church, which serves as the Fellowship Room. In recent years, Don Rust has given many hours to the church, making numerous repairs and installing new equipment.

With its simple, classic design, the church has become the iconic symbol of Bay City. The church can be seen from Bay Ocean Spit across the bay. The church serves the Bay City community in many ways. During the summer it sponsors the local Grub Club, which provides nutritious lunches for Bay City kids. The church also puts on a Halloween party for kids, and hosts a Christmas Shoppe where needy families, some referred by Tillamook aid organizations, can obtain Christmas presents for their children at little or no cost.

The congregation, through Its men's and women's organizations, performs charitable work for the community throughout the year.

Mill at Bay City razed by fire
By Peter B. Smith

THE TILLAMOOK HEADLIGHT, May 21, 1924 — "The Oregon Silver Spruce Company's mills at Bay City were totally destroyed by fire Monday afternoon and evening, and the entire city threatened with flames by a stiff southwest wind.

"The fire started in a hot journal in the trim saw about 2:30 in the afternoon. The mill was said to have been connected to the city's low-pressure water system which was inadequate to reach the flames. The blaze quickly spread and in a short time the entire mill destroyed at an estimated loss of $75,000 to $100,000. The capacity of the entire mill was 60,000 feet daily and a large amount of the cut lumber was consumed by fire.

"The Tillamook Fire Department's ladder truck responded to a call, but found its equipment was handicapped by lack of water pressure. City Mayor Smith*, and Fire Chief Coats authorized the city's pumper to go to the scene and accomplished effective work after damming a creek from which water was pumped. The entire force of the Tillamook Department fought the fire for over four hours. The Whitney company's mills at Garbaldi shut down in order to release their men to aid Bay City.

"Sparks were carried to the northeast of the town and for a time serious damage seemed probable. Furniture was removed from practically every house in the north end of town and the dwelling of L.E. Thompson was destroyed and that of Homer D. Flagg caught fire several times.

"The mill furnished rough spruce for the Oregon Box Company of Portland, the stockholders of both companies being identical.

"A touring car belonging to Thomas Gilham was lost to the blaze.

"Miss Belle Bailey of Tillamook, a spectator at the scene was injured when a car driven by an unidentified man drove through the crowd at about 25 miles an hour. Miss Bailey was taken to Boals Hospital where injuries to her leg and back were dressed.

"F.C. Kipple, trouble shooter for the Pacific Telephone Company, who happened upon the scene in the regular course of his duties at the time of the fire, attached his instruments to the line to Tillamook that stood at the rear of the truck with receivers attached to his head, and with an open connection with the Tillamook exchange ready to receive a call for the Tillamook department, should a fire have occurred in this city.

"The Bay City Commercial Club adopted a resolution to the Tillamook City Council, Tillamook Fire Department and Whitley Fire Department for their assistance in preventing the destruction of Bay City by fire Monday afternoon."

 

September 2004 --- Bay City's oldest citizen, Hub Miller, now 101 years old, recently moved to Roseburg, Ore., in a 1994 interview remembered, "We went over to abandoned Hobsonville with a crew and dismantled the vacant mill there," returning on a barge with "beams, planks and machinery to rebuild the burned mill." The mill was back in operation a year later, in 1925. Eventually it closed after the Second World War.

Oysterman Jesse Hayes remembers the mill whistle blew in the morning when work started, at noon for lunch, and at quitting time "so you always knew what time it was in Bay City." The vacant mill (located on a small pond north of the city center) was used to house road workers putting Hwy 101 through in the early 1960s. The structure was dismantled soon after.

*Editor's note. The fire occurred on Monday, April 28, 1924. The mayor of Bay City was actually John A. Nelson, according to the minutes of the Common Council of the City of Bay City. At its meeting of May 8, 1924, the Council granted a petition from the Oregon Silver Spruce Company for a "lease on certain streets in the Cone and Co.'s and First Water Front additions to Bay City" and granted "permission to install (an) open burner for (the) proposed new mill."

At the same meeting, the Council rejected a bill from the Bay City Water Company (owned by City Treasurer J.O. Bozorth) for "rent on fire hydrants from Nov. 1st, 1923," advising that "the City recognizes no rent for hydrants and stand pipes." But the Council did authorize payment of $21.30 to Bozorth. The City's electric bill that month was $52.50.

But at the June 5 meeting, the Council laid "the matter of the lease to the Oregon Silver Spruce Co." on the table "until the next meeting of the Council" on July 3. But on July 3, after acknowledging the Public Service Commission of Oregon's permission for the Bay City Water Company to increase its rates, recognizing the Bay City Chronicle as the "official paper of Bay City" and paying the bills, the meeting was recessed to July 10 without further action on the Oregon Silver Spruce Company's petition.

The Council reconvened July 10 and promptly adjourned, because "there was no business of importance," to be conducted. jrs

The Bay City/Tillamook newspaper wars of 1891-‘93
By Peter B. Smith

BAY CITY Oct. 10, 2009 — On June 8, 1888, with word of a town being platted to the North at Obet Thomas’ Landing by timber cruiser Winfield Scott Cone, Tillamook businessmen started a staunchly Republican propaganda organ called the Tillamook Headlight.

Cone dubbed his town Bay City after his home town in Michigan. Backed by Salem businessmen, Bay City was deemed a threat to Tillamook politicians and real estate speculators, whose fortunes depended on Tillamook’s remaining the center of county commerce.

That year, Cone and C.E. Wilson purchased 52 acres of land from George W. and Martha Jacoby, which the Jacobys had purchased from Martha’s uncle, John Monroe. He, in turn, had inherited it from an earlier settler, Obet S. Thomas, in 1882.

Cone began platting the town in late 1888. When some lots turned out to be under water, backers of the Bay City Land Company got cold feet, and Cone’s town almost failed. But by mid-1889, with a few adjustments, the project was back on track. The first commercial buildings were going up in 1890.

Cone, realizing that he needed his own newspaper, wooed 23-year-old “veteran” newspaperman John S. Dellinger from Chamberlain, South Dakota, with promises of cutting-edge technology: a steam-powered “Prouty improved book and news press, Paragon paper cutter, mailing, stapling and number machine, one ton of type,” and stock in the new town.
Dellinger was known through exchanges at the larger Salem and Portland papers as a good writer and pressman. Of course, the fact he’d not succumbed to gunfire or rotgut booze while reporting for the Chamberlain Herald in the lawless Dakotas was quite a résumé stuffer in itself.
Missing the assassination of Sitting Bull and the slaughter of 200-plus Sioux at Wounded Knee by mere days, Cone’s new editor arrived in Tillamook on the steamer Augusta in December 1890. A week later, as his equipment was being unpacked on Thomas’ dock in Bay City, Dellinger named his paper the weekly Bay City Tribune.

On January 29, 1891, the eight-page Trib began churning out propaganda pieces for the new boom town, chronicling every lumber mill, hotel and livery stable being built, while the Headlight was doing the same for Tillamook.

Following a short stay in a drafty room at David Rhodes’ new hotel near the mud flats, and with Dellinger’s young Portland wife, Gertrude Stahley, complaining bitterly, Cone’s carpenters constructed a two-story building at Fourth and Trade Streets for the couple in a record thirty days. The newspaper plant was on the first floor, and the living quarters on the second. Anyone dredging the bottom of Patterson Creek, which flowed by the south side of the Trib office, would undoubtedly find worn lead type and broken whiskey bottles.
As with everything built in town that year, the wood for the newspaper plant came from the San Francisco-owned Truckee Mill at Hobsonville.
Dellinger was no tea totaler. He thanked those who helped him get the paper out when he was suffering one of his mysterious “illnesses,” which struck him about every third issue. In spite of this, Dellinger produced a good paper, never missing a deadline. He was well-liked, and townspeople brought baskets of strawberries, trout and bouquets of flowers to speed his recoveries. Their kindness always received warm thanks in his pages, except once, when a male admirer sent him a Valentine’s Day card and love letter, possibly a joke from the mead-soddened Tillamook editors.

As with the Headlight, Trib subscriptions were $1.50 per year. Gertrude supplemented the family income with piano and organ lessons while Dellinger sold marine insurance on the side.
In 1889, the Headlight was challenged by a new paper, the Western Watchtower. It was started by two Southern newspapermen, J.J. Johnson and Cato Sullivan, who were invited to Tillamook by a splinter faction of the local Republican Party to oppose the Headlight, which was controlled by rival Republican businessmen.


With slander and vicious personal attacks, both papers fought over statehouse patronage and control of road and bridge funds for the next two years, Cone and Dellinger cheering on the editorial pissing match while it lasted.

By 1892, tribal wars among Watchtower owners landed the sheet in bankruptcy court. John Stoddard and A.G. Reynolds took control and renamed it the Tillamook Advocate until it failed in 1895. It was then purchased by R.M. Watson (founder of the Nehalem Times), who changed its name to the Tillamook Herald.

Though considerably mellowed, the Herald continued exchanging editorial barbs with the Headlight into the early years of the next century. Few copies of the Watchtower or the Advocate remain. They were most likely burned by succeeding owners. Microfiche copies of the Bay City Tribune end in October 1891, though the paper continued until March or April 1892.

In February 1892 the State Legislative Assembly enacted House Bill 48, incorporating Tillamook City. The man carrying the incorporation papers for Bay City mysteriously disappeared, probably paid off by Tillamook businessmen. That, combined with the Bay City Land Company’s mounting legal problems and a brief national economic downturn, ended Bay City’s first boom.

Bay City would not incorporate until 1899, only to disincorporate a few years later. Bay City reincorporated in 1910, the vote count tabulated and verified by the County Clerk’s office on September 2 of that year.
In May 1892, as the first electric lights began illuminating Tillamook, the Headlight reported that, “J.S. Dellinger and family with part of the Bay City Tribune plant left for Astoria on the Augusta.” Dellinger had had a terrible fight with Cone before he left, but with the town’s mastermind convalescing from his own mysterious “illness,” Dellinger left with his wife and the thousand-pound Prouty safely on deck.

In 1893 Dellinger returned briefly to exact revenge for his lost fortunes. Starting the Nehalem Herald, he wrote slanderous articles about Tillamook politicians and the Headlight and Advocate editors. Tiring of the attacks, the folks maligned by Dellinger’s invective came up to reply in person with hot lead. Unable to locate Dellinger, whose office sat atop pilings on Deer Island next to the fish cannery, the Tillamook pistoleros shot up lower Nehalem’s main drag and returned home.

The only record of this event appeared in Dellinger’s sheet, which lasted less than a year. In 1896 Dellinger started the first newspaper in Warrenton, and in 1898 shipped a complete printing plant to Skagway, establishing the Morning Alaskan, the first daily in Alaska.
In Astoria, he opened a print shop and bindery, and in 1903, he purchased the Morning Astorian with its Merganthaler linotype, the only one in Washington or Oregon at that time, publishing it until his death in 1930.

Strangely, the Astorian’s new owners appear to have removed from the paper’s morgue, the issue containing the deceased publisher’s illustrious career and obituary.

Surviving reporting and editorial disagreements in the Dakota mining camps and the log-planked streets of Nehalem, Bay City’s first publisher died in bed from “heart failure” at the age of 63, at his cranberry farm on the Clatsop Plains.

The Pioneering Spirit, or How The West was Won?
by John Sollman

THE WILD WEST Oct. 4, 2009 — There was a chill in the air when Hiram and Sarah Yoder climbed down from their covered wagon. They were here at last, at their new home. The wagon train had broken up after last night’s camp, and the immigrants had all gone their separate ways. Sara and Hiram stood, looked around them at the glory of nature, the splendor of early fall, the golden aspens glowing in the late morning sun, the beads of dew on the bunch grass glistening like tiny diamonds in a bed of green.

Here they were, in God’s country, on the west slope of a mountain range, looking across a valley filled with lakes, and another jagged mountain range rising abruptly from the valley floor to the west. The hills and valleys all around were ablaze with the colors of fall — golden, red and brownish hues mixed together like the paintings Hiram and Sarah had seen in the art museum back in St. Louis.

An eagle soared overhead as they stood, silently, drinking in nature’s splendor, savoring the quiet, the solitude, broken only by the gentle lapping of the stream flowing just over the rise. Even the children, Ephram and Miriam, stood strangely quiet as they gazed about them, taking in the wonder of what would become their new home.
As Hiram surveyed his surroundings, he noticed a plume of trail dust rising far to the south. But there was much to do, and the season was late.

“First,” Hiram exclaimed, “we gotta stake out our homestead claim. They told us back in St. Louie to git that done straightaway. Don’t want no claim jumpers hornin’ in on our claim.” The trail dust was getting closer.

The mid-September sun rose higher in the sky as Hiram, Sarah and the children unhitched their wagon and turned their surviving animals out to pasture. They still had two cows and one heifer, two horses and Scraps, the dog which had adopted them along the trail. The trail west was littered with the graves of immigrants, the carcasses of farm animals and tons of gear the immigrants had abandoned to reduce the weight their teams had to pull.

Sarah reflected on two simple graves just out of Scott’s Bluff. Little Amy, just two months old, had taken sick and died. She rested under a simple cross where the train had camped one night. That was two nights after Grandma Yoder’s years caught up with her.
She wiped away a tear as she turned to Hiram. “What’s that a-comin’ up the trail out yonder?” she asked.

“Dunno,” said Hiram, unloading his tools from the wagon. “Mebee it’s a neighbor come to visit a spell.” Hiram opened the heavy chest he’d lugged from St. Louis. He was thankful he hadn’t had to leave it along the trail like Sara’s spinet piano. In it were his stakes, sledge hammer, ax, saw, brace and bit, and his anvil and tongs. But now, it was time to stake out his section of land.

“Thar’s somebody here, Hiram,” Sarah called out, as a tall, lanky, grim-faced man slid from his saddle and approached, carrying a great sheaf of papers under his arm.
“You the Yoders?” he asked.
“Yep,” said Hiram. “How’d ya know we wuz here? We ain’t even got unpacked yet.”

“The Major from the wagon train gave me a list of all the new settlers afore he headed back to Fort Laramie.”
“What brings you ‘round these here parts?” Hiram asked, a feeling of unease now gnawing at his innards. Something wasn’t quite right.
“You settin’ up to homestead in these here parts?” asked the stranger. “Got some things you’re gonna have to do afore you start a’diggin’ in the dirt.”

“Like what?” Hiram asked, not really wanting to hear the answer.
“Well,” said the stranger, “you gonna have to follow the rules. You just kain’t come in here and do as you please. We have codes you have to follow, and these here papers tell you what most of them are.”
“Codes?” Hiram sputtered, as the stranger shoved the papers into his hand. Glancing at a few pages, Hiram haltingly spelled out
S U B D I V I S I O N, P L A N N E D D E V E L O P M E N T — what’s all that say? My ma never taught me none of those big words. Never got much schoolhousin’.”

“It sez,” the circuit-riding bureaucrat replied, “afore ya kin put up a cabin here, ya gotta git permits from the local guvment. Don’t want just anybody comin’ in here and buildin’ what they dern well please. No sir. Gotta be done orderly, ‘ccordin’ to the book.

“First, yore spread here is on a hillside. Afore ya kin put up a buildin’, ya gotta have one of those geologist fellers come out and check for geohazards. And, ya gotta put together a plan to keep the rain from washin’ all yer dirt down the hill onto another spread. Has to be in triplicate — that’s three copies.”

“Winter’s a’comin’,” Hiram murmured. “How’m I gonna do that afore the freeze?”

“Not my problem,” said the bureaucrat. “After ya git yer geohazard done by this geologist feller, then ya gotta make out a site plan and give us the plans for yer buildin, so’s we can issue a buildin’ permit. But first ya gotta apply fer a public hearin’ so’s we kin see what yer gonna put up, and see if it’s OK with the other folks. Like if yer thinkin’ ‘bout blacksmithin’ with that there anvil, ya kain’t do that here ‘cause it’s not zoned fer it. Besides, we got blacksmiths in Jackson what needs the business.” Hiram had hoped to barter his blacksmithing skills for his winter supplies.

“How do I git these permits?” said a thoroughly dispirited Hiram, the joy of reaching his western paradise rapidly fading to doom and gloom.


“Ya gotta get an architect feller ta come by and draw up a set of blueprints, three copies, and git them into the plannin’ office in Jackson. He comes through here ‘bout ever’ three or four weeks or so. Then we’ll let ya know whether ya kin build anything. Takes about three or four more weeks.”

through the valley below. “Ya see, these here buffalo, they’re gonna be endangered some day, and so they’re a protected species, and ya gotta git a killin’ permit from the Fish and Game folks.”
Sara, seeing how their shining bit of paradise was rapidly tarnishing, grabbed Eph and Miriam and started toward the stream. “Leastways we kin fetch some water and git cleaned up after that long trip,” she said, trying to manage the semblance of a smile.

“But by that time it’s gonna be right cold,” protested Hiram, as Sarah and the children stood by in disbelief. This had to be a bad dream.
“At least I can clear some land while we’re waitin,” Hiram suggested.
“Not so fast,” the stranger snapped. “These forest lands gotta be preserved. The guvment in Washington says so. You gotta git a permit from the Forestry folks, showin’ what trees you gonna take down and git their say-so afore you start choppin’. Besides, they jist passed a law saying what ya kin do with yer land. You got forest land, which gotta be preserved. Don’t think yer gonna cut many trees.”

“Well, we need meat for the winter,” Hiram protested, “so at least we’re gonna have to kill a couple o’ buffalo to skin for shelter and cut up for table meat.”

“Nope,” snapped the bureaucrat, gesturing toward a herd thundering

“Not so fast,” barked the intruder. “First, ya gotta git yer water rights. And ya kain’t get them till ya git yer homestead filed in Jackson. And they got about a three month backlog processin’ them things.”
“What do we do ‘til then?” asked a thoroughly deflated Hiram. “We gotta have water and food, and I’m just about out of flour and bacon.”
“Shoulda brung more with ya when ya come out from St. Louie. Fer water, ya gonna have to ketch rainwater. Mind ya, ya kain’t dig a hole to ketch it, not until ya git yer gradin’ and erosion control permit. No sir. Ya gotta use a tarp or a barrel fer that. And ya kain’t fish in that there krick until ya git yer fishin’ permit. And the season ended last week.”

“Well,” said Hiram, “while we’re talkin, I gotta git a fire a-goin’. Gotta git some vittles in the young-uns’ bellies. Care to break bread with us while we talk?”

“Kain’t do that,” the bureaucrat replied officiously. “No sir-ee, kain’t take no gratuities from the folks we serve here in Jackson County. Asides, ya kain’t have no fire anyhow. Ya got no burn permit, and fire season’s still on. Kain’t give out no burn permits ‘till after the first fall rains come.

“And speakin of eatin’,” the intruder snapped, glancing at the animals now munching on the luxurious bunch grass, “ya kain’t graze them critters until ya git a permit from the Bureau of Land Management folks — and ya kain’t git that ‘til yer homestead’s OK’d.”
Dejectedly, Hiram asked, “is there anything else I gotta know afore we start unpackin’?”

“Yep,” the bureaucrat said. “When ya finally get the go-ahead to put up yer house, ya gotta show us how it’s gonna look. Gotta have a design review. Kain’t have folks comin’ in here and clutterin’ up our valley with just any kind of shack. No sir-ee. Gotta look elegant. Gotta look like all the other ranch houses ‘round these here parts.”

Hiram glanced over the stranger’s shoulder to see Sarah throwing her belongings back into the wagon. “Where does that river go to?” Sarah asked, pointing to the gap in the mountains to the southwest.
“That thar goes to Idaho, and then ya can follow it all the way to Orygone and the Pacific Ocean,” the stranger replied. “Don’t wanna go there, though. No ma’am. ‘Specially to Orygone. They jist let ya put up any old thing — no order, no control. People thereabouts do jist about anythin’ they dern well please.”

While the stranger continued to pontificate — no noise after 10 p.m., need dog licenses and rabies shots, health inspections for the cows, off-trail parking and garage for two wagons, engineer and gravel the trail out to the property line, need approval from the Army Engineers for a bridge crossing the creek, environmental protection rules require septic tanks for outhouses — Hiram and Sara hustled to hitch up their team, tether the animals, gather up Scrapps and the kids, and head southwest. There was just about enough daylight to make it through the gap into Idaho.

“Whaddaya figger?” Sarah asked as Hiram swung himself onto the wagon and grabbed the reins. “Headin’ for Orygone,” Hiram replied. “Heared tell they got this place, Bay City, which is gonna be the San Francisco o’ the North one day. Ya kin put up anythin’ ya want, graze yer animals — no stupid rules. Yep, we’re gonna settle in Bay City and git in on that San Francisco o’ the North stuff.”

In the gathering dusk a lone figure could be seen, silhouetted before the purple hills, still spouting chapter and verse from the rule book, blissfully unaware that his quarry had slipped away.

History of Bay City Oregon 

by Peter B. Smith, with the assistance of John Sollman

When headlines in the February 1913 Bay City Examiner announced, “Bay City Cannery Closed Indefinitely,” locals were not surprised.
The railroad had been running through town for two years. The docks were built, Bay City real estate sales were booming, and the mill and at least two canneries were running around the clock when local fishermen went on strike.

Strikes between fishermen and processors were not new. The first battles with Northwest Coastal fish processors began in the 1880s on the Astoria docks, and have never stopped. As recently as 2005, price disputes delayed the crab season for a month.

The article, reprinted in the Tillamook Headlight, read:
“Operations at the Oregon Fisheries Company’s cannery ceased for an indefinite period last Tuesday evening, and it is certain will not be opened again until some definite settlement can be arrived at between the fishermen and the operators as to the price to be paid by the company for crabs."

“Since the company has been canning the crabs here, covering perhaps a month, it has been allowing the fishermen forty cents per dozen, accepting anything that was brought in that was of sufficient size for canning purposes. Tuesday, however, the company declared its intention of reducing the scale to twenty-five cents per dozen and the fishermen rebelled, declaring that other canneries on the coast were paying forty cents for the crustaceans of a quality not superior to those gathered here.

 

 

“The company’s agent on their part declare [sic] that the reduction is necessary to make the industry a profitable one, as the crabs delivered are not large and that the company has been hiring white help for pickers and endeavoring to compete against the Japanese labor employed by other institutions. The company has offered to pay thirty cents per dozen for crabs up to eight inches and forty for anything larger.”

The fourth in a series of newspapers that would enlighten residents, The Bay City Examiner, was a four-page weekly, appearing on Fridays. The sheet ran from 1911 until going broke in 1917. Its first publisher was Herbert W. Conger, and its last was Elbridge C. Smith. Following the Examiner, The Bay City Chronicle, appeared here briefly in 1923, publisher unknown, and ran less than a year. It was the last paper published in Bay City and about Bay City.

With the miracle of desktop publishing making newspaper creation easy, perhaps another valiant local scribe will appear and take up the cause.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

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