The last station to be built on the Pacific Coast during the Life-Saving era was located in Barview at the mouth of Tillamook Bay, about 45 miles south of the Columbia River. The station house was one of only two of the same Peterson Point-type, which was named after the Peterson Point station in Grays Harbor, Washington about 90 miles north. Accompanying it was a Fort Point-type boathouse (minus its witch’s hat shaped roof) and an auxiliary building, originally housing privies, a shop and storage facilities.
During the Coast Guard era, the auxiliary building was enlarged to contain a kitchen, dining room, and housing for the cooks, and the main station building was altered into four apartments. Due to a change in the coastline in 1915, the station’s boats were housed and moored at Garibaldi, about a mile and a half farther into the bay. The Coast Guard continued to use the Barview facility until January, 1943, when they moved into their Roosevelt-type station in Garibaldi.
Tillamook Bay Station then passed into private hands and was purchased by a private owner in 1973. The station was used as a family vacation home and was maintained until 1988, when a sewer line backed up, flooding the station twice. Although the station was decontaminated, it has not been inhabited since. Further damage occurred in 2005, when a driver careened off Highway 101 and destroyed the auxiliary building. The following year a burglary resulted in the loss of many of the interior fixtures. For the last quarter century the station has been boarded up, unoccupied and unattended, although the degree of deterioration has been surprisingly mild.
Interested USLSSHA members began looking into preservation and restoration possibilities in 2010. In May of 2011, the station made the inaugural “Most Endangered Places” list of the Historical Preservation League of Oregon (now Restore Oregon). In August, the Restore Oregon organized an informational meeting for the public, as well as a walkthrough for architects, museum curators, state preservation officials, and others interested in preservation.
September of 2011 welcomed USLSSHA members to their Annual Meeting in Newport, at which the station and its woes were presented. Following the main meeting an open house was held at the station, attracting an estimated 340 people.
Restore Oregon awarded a grant for a National Register Nomination for the station, which was completed in the spring of 2012. It will be submitted to the National Park Service upon being released by the owner.
Efforts have been made to convince the owner to sell the station rather than keep it in its current boarded up and deteriorating condition. Those efforts have not been successful so far as the current owner wants to keep the station in the family and be involved in its rebuilding.
Tillamook Bay Life-Saving Station, “Most Endangered Places” list of Restore Oregon http://www.restoreoregon.org/tillamook-lifesaving-station/