Huntington Beach Pier
The Huntington Beach Pier is a municipal pier in Huntington Beach, California, at the northwest corner of Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway. It is one of the longest public piers on the West Coast, measuring 1,850 feet (560 meters). (The longest is Oceanside Pier, which is 1,942 feet (592 meters) long.) The pier’s deck is 30 feet (9.1 m) above sea level, while the top of the restaurant structure at the pier’s end is 77 feet (23 m).
The Huntington Beach Pier has been added to the California Register of Historical Resources. It is one of 123 historic sites and districts in Orange County, California, that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places (Ref. No. 89001203).
The Huntington Beach Pier, commonly known as “Surf City, USA,” is a major landmark in the city and the epicenter of the city’s prominent beach culture. The ocean waves here are boosted by a natural effect generated by the edge-diffraction of open ocean swells around Catalina Island, generating constant surf all year.
The pier was built about 1902, before Huntington Beach was incorporated in 1909. In 1904, the Huntington Beach Company (Standard Oil) constructed a wooden pier at the end of Main Street that extended 1,000 feet (300 m) into the Pacific Ocean. It was devastated by a violent storm in 1910, which caused a substantial chunk of it to sink into the Pacific. In 1911, the Huntington Beach Township board of trustees issued a $70,000 bond to build a new concrete pier 1,350 feet (410 m) long.
The newly built pier was re-dedicated in 1914, breaking the record for the longest and highest concrete pleasure pier in the United States at the time. At the re-dedication of the pier, legendary surfer George Freeth performed a surfing demonstration.
The city enlarged the pier by 500 feet (150 meters) in 1931 and erected the Sunshine Cafe at the end. During the 1933 Long Beach earthquake, the extension split from the old pier. The City of Huntington Beach repaired the pier, but it was damaged again by the 1939 California tropical storm. The pier’s reconstruction was completed a year later.
Following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, Huntington Beach, like many other coastal cities, mobilized to aid the war effort. The US Navy placed a submarine lookout post and a large caliber machine gun on the pier. When the war ended, all military equipment was removed, and the pier was reopened to the public. The pier and the “End Cafe” were devastated by Pacific storms in 1983 and on January 7, 1988. Fluor/Daniel Consultants of Irvine did a structural stability assessment on the pier, and it was pronounced hazardous. It was shut down in July of that year. To gather finances for the pier’s reconstruction, a community organisation named P.I.E.R. (Persons Interested in Expediting Reconstruction) was formed. P.I.E.R. raised over $100,000 by selling P.I.E.R. logo T-shirts and other goods. The village of Anjo, Japan, a Huntington Beach Sister City, contributed an additional $92,000.
In October 1990, work on a new 1,856-foot pier began. On July 18, 1992, the pier was completed and re-dedicated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The re-dedication and grand re-opening drew over 500,000 visitors. To protect the pier, an iconic landmark of the neighborhood, the City of Huntington Beach devised a management and observation program.
On August 24, 1989, the pier was added to the United States National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), indicating that the structure was worthy of governmental preservation. In 1992, the pier was rebuilt with certain architectural features removed, including Neptune’s Locker and a bait shop.
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