This picture of the Imperial Beach Pier in 1910 shows the “wave energy machines” out at the end of the pier. The idea was to use the “free” energy of the ocean to provide the electrical needs for the local area (see below). Unfortunately it didn’t work. BTW, several other SoCal piers saw similar attempts at”wave energy” but all for one reason of another failed.
From Pier Fishing In California— History of the Imperial Beach Pier
In 1909 a boardwalk was built, as was a 500-foot-long pier at the foot of Date Street. The Imperial Beach Improvement Association built both and the two became the centers of beachfront activity. In 1912 the ferry ceased operation but direct electric inter-urban train service began from San Diego to Imperial Beach—an event that affected the pier. Passengers would ride the San Diego and South Eastern Railway to Otay Junction, today’s Main Street in Chula Vista, where they would transfer to the Mexico and San Diego Railway to finish their journey to Imperial Beach. To power the electric cars, six wave motors, designed by Charles E. Edward, were built on a dogleg extension at the end of the pier, and, so, for a period of time, the pier was called the Edwards’ Wave Motor Pier. The machines were used to power the electric train cars with excess electricity being sold to subscribers. Eventually these wave machines lost favor but the pier continued to be used for recreational fishing until 1941 when the pier was damaged by winter storms. In 1948 storms finally washed the pier away for good and then, in 1953, the boardwalk suffered a similar fate.