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>> Laguna Beach Piers— [topic: previous/next]
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 6:16 am
Ken Jones

Posts: 9788
Location: California

The following was in PFIC, 2nd Ed. (with slight modifications). I'm assuming that Snookie's note refers to this second pier listed, the one near Heisler Point but I am still curious about the second email?

History Note. Laguna Beach had two earlier piers. The first was built at Arch Beach (just north of Arch Rock) in 1887 by Hubbard Goff and Nate Brooks. Back then, there were two separate towns, Arch Beach and Laguna Beach, and the then impassable Bluebird Canyon separated them. Later, Arch Beach was renamed Wood's Cove, a site where the actress Bette Davis owned a home for several years.
In 1896 the 16 registered voters of Laguna Beach decided they needed their own pier. A site was selected just south of Heisler Point and the citizens went to work. They felled the trees, blasted rock and set the pilings into cement. The pier they built lasted until 1911 when it was rebuilt and lengthened by the Derkum brothers. Each winter it would receive damage and each spring the brothers would haul down new eucalyptus logs to replace damaged pilings. The pier withstood the elements until 1939 when a storm with 65 M.P.H. winds finally destroyed it.

Date: March 31, 2005
To: PFIC Message Board
From: Snookie
Subject: Re: Anybody fish the old pier that was in Laguna Beach?

Milton did when 9. He fished the old pier at the base of “Las Brisas” (which first opened as the Victor Hugo Inn in 1938).
The pier's pilings were made from railroad rails. The shack on the pier sold some tackle and bait. As a child Milton caught small mackerel and octopus which his mother cooked for breakfast as he brought them home. There was a barge out farther and a shore boat that took the fishermen from the pier to the barge. The shore boat stayed at the barge between runs. Yellowtail on cane poles was a common catch when in season. When they'd catch a yellowtail on the cane pole they would throw the pole into the water and wait for it to come up with the fish on it. Of course the can pole didn't have a reel. It only had a line attached to the pole tip. Then they would get into the shore boat and go to where the cane pole was floating on the surface and retrieve the pole and the fish. Sometimes the pole would be a mile away. On the pier Milton used an old-fashioned reel and long rod. For bait he used mostly mussels. Besides the mackerel the other catch was perch. When he was about 14 years old there was a sportfishing boat that left each day from the pier.
To get to Laguna in the days when Milton was going you didn't have the roads. They would come down through the Irvine Ranch then through Laguna Canyon to Laguna Beach. If you wanted to go back to L.A. area, they would have to go through 30 to 40 fences that had to be unlocked and then relocked.
Things were hard in those days, but no one knew it at the time.

Date: September 5, 2007
To: PFIC Message Board
From: dom949
Subject: Thousand Step Beach pier, Laguna Beach?

Ken, Wondering what info you have on a defunct pier south of Point Place in Laguna Beach (thousand step beach). I was there today and remnants of a pier still remain, where it ends in the sand...at high tide it would be partially still over water. I didn't have a camera otherwise I would have taken a photo. You can kinda detect a structure on google maps, satellite view. It doesn't look like a pier from the ariel view, but it is obvious from the ground. The beams looked like 30 - 40' high where a couple were still standing but everything out to sea looks removed. Some type of wood building is at the beginning of the pier.
I looked in your book and it is south of the old Aliso Beach pier, and not the old Arch Beach pier and nor near Heisler Point where another pier once existed according to your book.
Perhaps this was some private pier? It would have been quite large given what is left of the structure. Anyone have any info on this old pier?

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 9:35 am
dompfa ben

Posts: 414

Very interesting stuff.

It seems Laguna has a history of not rebuilding her piers once they are taken by the sea.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 7:52 am
Ken Jones

Posts: 9788
Location: California

The Disappearing Pier

Day after day, South Laguna residents watched the sun rise and set into the Pacific from the Aliso Pier. People kissed on it, walked dogs on it and contemplated life on it.

But next week, the pier—now largely demolished—will be gone, and county officials are skeptical that it will ever return.

Last year's El Nino storms dealt the final blow to the concrete pier that has been a recreational landmark and fishing hole for South Laguna residents since 1970...

Since demolition began last fall, workers have used cranes to disassemble the pier and pull its pilings from the sea floor...

The loss of the pier...has saddened some.

“It used to be that the beach was different from all the others,” said 14-year-old Nikki Lawrence of Aliso Viejo. “Now it's just going to be a regular old beach.” Lawrence said she used to fish off the pier using a stick and a string.

“I feel like I've lost part of my life,” said 87-year-old South Laguna resident Evelyn Kettle, who used to walk on the pier frequently—a doctor-prescribed remedy for symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

For Ian Levinson, 30, the pier was useful in other ways.

“It was a really good place to take a date,” he said. “Now I'll just have to sit in the sand to watch sunsets.”

But not everyone will miss the pier.

“I say 'Good riddance,'” said Charles Arthur, 80, from a counter seat at nearby Ruby's restaurant. “I think piers are unnecessary and too costly to maintain. They always go bad.”

Indeed this one had.

Last March, after a series of El Nino storms, the county closed the pier to the public when engineering reports found it unstable...

By last spring, the pier's concrete had chipped away in some areas, several pilings were cracked and steel reinforcements were rusted and exposed. “It had just taken a beating from the ocean,” Sibley said...

Even if officials solve the funding hurdle for rebuilding, they wonder if another beach—with gentler surf—would prove a better location.

County Supervisor Tom Wilson said he hopes to keep a pier in his district and will have his office begin researching the feasibility of bringing one back.

“If the interest is there,” he said, “I'll be instrumental in getting one put up...

We're sorry to see it go. It was a beautiful pier,” Sibley said.

—Allison Cohen,
Los Angeles Times, January 31, 1999

When I posted this article in a discussion about the pier in 2005 I got an immediate response from several people of which this was most poignant. And, the responses to this response are also pretty interesting. Warning, never tick off a pier rat.

Date: February 1, 2005
To: PFIC Message Board
From: dompfa ben
Subject: Alsio Pier

Charles Arthur = curmudgeon defined

To wit: “I say 'Good riddance,’” said Charles Arthur, 80, from a counter seat at nearby Ruby's restaurant. "I think piers are unnecessary and too costly to maintain. They always go bad.”

The dangers and limitations of dabbling in hyperbole are so well illustrated in this quote, that to elaborate on it would be an exercise in superfluity. However, verbosity has always been a hobby of mine. Perhaps he was misquoted, or hopefully, his words were taken out of context (no offense to Ms. Cohen implied...)

But it makes you wonder: What monstrous, magical fish did Mr. Arthur lose at Aliso pier, that so severely damaged his soul, and sent him into such a horrible state of mind?

I could write a fictional present for Mr. Arthur, now a stodgy 86 years old (Editor's note: Not all octogenarians are stodgy), rife with assumptions of Laguna-localism, miserly behavior, and a sad, lonely life. But it's much more fun to think that he used to be a fisherman, whose soul left his body just as the line parted between his rod, and a pier-hooked yellowtail that was never to be. Besides, the turgid old crab would probably sue me for libel. Blood from a turnip, sir... Smile

Then again, one must leave such comments in the distant past, where other asinine antisocial positions once flourished, but have now been dismissed by the truly enlightened, or those who navigate the path thereto. The countless memories my brothers and I shared at Aliso Pier more than make up for the misgivings of such a killjoy, whose heart likely bears more cracks and scars than the pier he so despised.

Godspeed, Charles Arthur. Don't let the door hitcha.

Posted by Kaleo

WOW, remind me *never* to p***-off the DOMPFA!! He'll fillet your rhetorical okole and serve it to you with a side of fire-seared ego-whupping!

Ai ma kai, ai a`e au la, ai a`o ka uwapo,
Ka `ulua e mâ`alo, hukihuki mai
—Telephone Hula, Hattie K. Hiram

I went down to the pier
An ulua was being hauled in
Caught My First Bonito From There...

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