Last modified: August 28, 2019

Fishing Piers Southern California

Redondo Wharf No. 1 (Santa Fe Wharf), 1888-1915 — Gone But Not Forgotten

State Asked To Take Over Wharf

Redondo Beach. June 10.—The City Council… instructed the City Attorney to communicate with the State Harbor Commission and Attorney-General requesting that the State take  control of wharf No. 1, to prevent the Pacific Electric from using it. At a previous meeting a resolution was introduced declaring the franchise for wharf No. 1 void. The franchise was granted to the railway for twenty years with the promise that work would commence within four months of the date it was given and that it would be pursued with due diligence. It was claimed that was not done, and that the wharf was unsafe. —Los Angeles Times, June 11, 1914

Offer To Sell Wharf

Redondo Beach, Nov. 10.—The Pacific Electric Railway has offered the city the approach to wharf No. 1 and the wharf for $17,500, the city to take care of the removal of the pipe lines at a cost not to exceed $5000. The City Council is considering the matter. —Los Angeles Times, November 11, 1914

The headlines on January 31, 1915 were daunting—“Raging Surf Batters South Beach Towns—Great Damage Done Along Coast Line by Heavy Ocean Storm.” “Piers Smashed by Pounding Waves, Sea Walls Torn Away and Homes Wrecked as Tide Sweeps Shoreward During Height of Gale.” At Redondo it was reported that the heaviest storm in many years, coupled with a 6.7 feet high tide, caused damage along the entire oceanfront from Pier No. 1 to Playa del Rey. Damage to the tune of an estimated $75,000. And while the headlines screamed that “Piers May Go Today,” the Redondo wharves actually escaped with minimal damage (albeit 1500 feet of the Standard Oil wharf was washed out). Other piers in Santa Monica Bay were not as lucky. Just a few days later, on February 5, it was reported that, “Waves Batter Racing Coaster and the Damage at Redondo Beach is Many Thousands.” Giant breakers combined with a 5.5 high tide tore into the bulkhead and pilings supporting the roller coaster; in time the pilings began to snap and the coaster began to break apart. Houses and apartment along the shoreline were also attacked buy the tides and many of them were also lost. But, the wharves once again survived.

Redondo Beach Pleasure Pier

Redondo Beach, Feb. 27.—The City Trustees have issued a call for a meeting to be held Monday night at the City Hall, at which time it is expected they will pledge themselves to place the municipal pier at whatever location the voters shall decide it should be placed. This action was decided upon after the voters placed a request before the Board of Trustees saying that before voting on a bond issue of $121,000 they would like to know where the pier is to be, and to have some assurance that it will not be placed at an undesirable place. The question of the location of the pier will be decided by either a straw ballot or by petition to the Board of Trustees. At present the site most talked of is Pier No. 1, now owned by the Pacific Electric. The property can be can be purchased for $17,5000 and $5000 to remove an oil pipe line. A committee consisting of Trustees Thompson and Hembree, has been appointed by the board to conference with the Pacific Electric officials relative to the tentative proposition to purchase the pier. The company also desires to reserve concessions now on the pier. The committee is instructed to inform the company officials that the city will not buy the pier, but merely the approach to it, will not pay anything for removing the pipe line, and will not grant the company any concessions on the proposed pier, but will permit the company to retain its water pipe line for the bath house. —Los Angeles Times, February 28, 1915

Pacific Electric Has Offer for Redondo Beach

President Shoup of the Pacific Electric has sprung a surprise by materially reducing the price asked by his company for the approach to and the present structure at Pier No. 1. He told the City Trustees that Pier No. 1 and its approach is worth $30,000 to the Pacific Electric, but that the company is willing to sell for much less. Formerly the company proposed selling the property to the city for $17,500 plus $5000 for removing pipe lines now on the pier. The company also wished to retain rights of concessions on both sides of the pier for a certain distance out. Mr. Shoup said that the company would be willing to see the property to the city for its proposed municipal pier, and would eliminate the 45000 asked for removing pipe lines and would ask the right to retain concessions only on the north side of the pier as far as they now extend. A hint of possible suits on the part of the city to obtain quit-claim deeds to certain supposed tidelines was made when Trustee Brolaski said to Mr. Shoup that since the passage of the bill which gives Redondo Beach title to all tidelands in the city, the Pacific Electric could not claim right to any concessions on the old pier. To this Mr. Shoup replied that was a matter for his legal department to take up. —Los Angeles Times, April 8, 1915

Fierce Wind Pounds Pier — Redondo Beach in Grip of Wild Northwester

Redondo Beach, April 30.—A heavy windstorm swept down on the coast in this vicinity last night and at a late hour pier No. 1, owned by the Pacific Electric, is being battered to pieces by the waves, which have been lashed into a fury. By midnight more than fifty pilings had gone out and the pier was sagging under the onslaught of the storm and sea. The waves dashed clear over the structure… Pier No. 1 is twenty-five years old and in the last year or two has suffered considerably from the tides. No effort has been made to repair it because the Pacific Electric and the city endeavored to reach an agreement to build a pleasure pier on the site. All freight cars and other movable stuff was taken off by the railroad last night and only a fish derrick and the few sheds were left for the storm to work on. The pier was originally 1000 feet long and served as the passenger landing for steamers which made this city a port of call. More fish have been caught off this pier than any two others in Southern California. —Los Angeles Times, April 30, 1915

The Damage At Redondo

Redondo Beach, April 30.—Thousands of persons gathered along the ocean front today and watched late into the night as structure after structure fell before the terrific onslaught of giant combers whipped on by one of the worst storms in the history of Redondo Beach. While no adequate estimate of the property loss can be made at this hour as the storm shows no evidence of abating, the damage is enormous, running considerably over $150,000. The storm first showed its fury late tonight and the fierce gale, that has been blowing from the northwest for the past twenty-four hours, pounded the breakers so steadily that with the rising tide this afternoon Pier No. 1, owned by the Pacific Electric Company, already minus many pilings, began to give way, the huge timbers crumbling with terrific roars. By 4:30 o’clock p.m., the pier was practically a loss. It had been offered to the city for purchase at $17,500, the pipeline on it being valued at $5000. By 6 o’clock thousands of persons had gathered along the waterfront and watched the Lightning Racer, valued at $150,000, slowly crumble. Falling from a height of 100 feet the superstructure of the racer fell with a terrific crashing of timbers… —Los Angeles Times, May 1, 1915

This storm would signal the end of the wharf and later in the year  “Big Dutch” Kranz was awarded a city contract to finish the demolition of Wharf No. 1. Anglers would now turn their attention to Wharf No. 2, Wharf No. 3, and soon—a municipal pier.

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