The house – 1886, thru the 1900’s to present day

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Original house, 1886, saltbox structure, wood built on piers — third house from the right in the photo. Church on right, preacher’s house next to church, and what was then the original house (with white picket fence). I’ve heard different accounts as to when the house was built – 1886, 1887, 1892. Whichever of those years it was built in, it is still standing sturdy over a century later and that’s something!

The first modifications to the house in early 1900’s. Added was the second story level cupola, and the two large bay windows on side of the house. The porch remains, and the white picket fence remains. House originally built by the Miller’s; her daughter married Harry Bochau and they became the owners of the house. Harry Bochau was a barge builder by trade and added the architectual details of the second story cupola and the two bay windows on the side of the house. Mrs. Bochau was pleased with the additions and called her house a chateau. It came to be known in the community as the Bochau Chateau.

Lower left hand photo and you can see the baby Monkey Puzzle Tree that was planted then. As this is a community on Willapa Bay, it was more so then that all the communities on the bay commerced by boat, ferry and ships. When the ships would sail into this community, Mrs. Bochau would go down to meet and greet the ship and boat captains, invite them to dinner, while others in the community would do likewise for the rest of the crew. One ship captain had monkey puzzle trees from Chile, South America, on his ship and gifted one of the trees to Mrs. Bochau (so I’m told the story goes). When we bought the house, the monkey puzzle tree she planted was still there and 92 yrs old. But our saga of the monkey puzzle tree is for another blog entry and I’ll tell that story another time.

The house as it is today after several more modifications and additions by the 3 owners who followed the Bochau’s. This is the house in 2003, not quite one year after we bought it.

Deersong

Adventures in living in an old house surrounded by water

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We’re the homesteaders in what some residents consider to be “God’s Valium” (cause it’s so quiet most of the time.)
After years of renting beach houses on weekends and vacations, we finally bought our own beach house as our permanent residence.
Bay Center is an old fishing village on a finger of land that juts out into the center of Willapa Bay on the Washington Coast. We’re 45 miles north of the mouth of the Columbia River and about the same distance due south on Hwy 101 from Aberdeen, Washington.
Cities?
Well, if you drive south east 125 miles you’ll be in Portland and to the northeast some 150 miles is Seattle.
Bay Center ain’t no city. From our house if you go 4 blocks east or west you’ll be in the Willapa Bay. If you head north you’ll be in the woods on the tip of Goose Point. If you head due south 4 blocks from our house you’ll be at the only dining facility within 15 miles.

Bay Center (the house is inside the small elipse in the center of the foto)

on Goose Point

Deersong’s husband

Wow, a store opened in our village!

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I told you we had no stores in our little fishing village community, just the one tavern and a KOA campground, the oyster farms and 2 processing plants, and a county campground park. Welllllll … three days ago the one and only store opened and we, of course, went to the grand opening..lol.

Actually, I’m tickled at what the ‘store’ has to offer and it will make daily living in our village a bit more convenient. The new owner is from Long Beach area (highly tourist draw on the WA coastline) so she brought with her a bit of the flavor of Long Beach in conceptualizing our store in Bay Center. The store offers a pizza, deli and dessert bar; necessary grocery items, the beginnings of a gift line (oh we do get the ocassional tourists here) and a cozy relax sitting area with new polished wood burning stove, couch and chairs, newspapers and magazines, and this nifty reproduction record player that actual plays LPs (I want one!).

So now, instead of going the 12 miles into the nearest ‘town’ for the daily needs like milk, bread, eggs, cheese and such, we can go the 1/2 block to our own little store in Bay Center. Woo hoo!
Oh, and she even introduced a new line of coffee blend = Bay Center blend. My, my aren’t we upscale now? No espresso though, not yet anyway. (Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are known to drink a lot of espresso .. you know, the latte although I prefer a vanilla breve.) Me and the dog, Jake, can take a stroll down to the store and have a morning coffee and cinnamon roll while listening to some great vintage music LP playing on the record player. And yes, my dog can go into the store with me, cause it’s that kind of laid back community here.

Next – those developers trying to cultivate a high-end housing development around the ‘lake’. The plan is for 70 lots, selling at about $400,000 for the lot alone. So it’s not hard to imagine what kind of houses will eventually go up on those lots. I worry some, cause we moved here to get away from those insta-grow developments and the cookie cutter shop malls that go with them. I wanted to find a place that didn’t yet have a McDonalds or Super grocery store or Super any store and not likely to get such in near future. We’re not in jeorpardy yet…..but, still I worry some that our sleepy little paradise village, not more than a road sign on the state highway, will be ‘found’ and transformed. I like the identity this community already has and has had for the past century. Developers – stay away from here – and people, don’t come to Bay Center except as a drive through tourist.

The locals aren’t as concerned as I am, cause they’ve seen high hope developers come into this community before and try to develop a not quite gated community, but one of those development ‘estates’ with a fancy name like Rialto Beach or Meadow Woods or some such similar type name. But, I’m still concerned and time will tell.

photo of the ‘lake’ area which developers hope to turn into McMega House estates.

awww….don’t mow it down. photo of the first swatch of lake area being mowed down, next comes the sale of the lots, then comes the mega-mansions dotted all around the lake.

Deersong