Redondo Beach Municipal Pleasure and Fishing Pier — “The Endless Pier” — 1915-1927

 An Angler’s History of the Pier

The “Endless Pier” as it would have looked when new

With the destruction of Wharf No. 1 in 1915, and the deteriorating condition of Wharf No. 2, many in Redondo Beach began to consider the idea of a new pier—a pleasure pier. Although Redondo had, since the opening of Wharf No. 1 in 1889, gained fame for its various wharves, all had been commercial wharves that “allowed” visitors to walk the wharves and anglers to fish from them. But none were built as “pleasure piers,” piers reserved for locals and visitors seeking pleasure—fishing, strolling, relaxing over the ocean, etc.

However, Santa Monica had constructed a huge concrete pleasure pier in 1909 gaining tremendous publicity and attracting thousands of visitors. Hermosa Beach had constructed a new concrete pleasure pier in 1914. Manhattan Beach had formed a “Pier and Beach Association” in 1914 and was studying plans for a new pleasure pier. Long Beach had a long history of pleasure piers and the Pine Avenue Pier that opened in 1904, when combined with the nearby Pike amusement area, was a major competitor to Redondo as far as a seaside attraction.

In addition, by 1915 the shoreline between Venice and Ocean Park was the home to a number of huge “amusement piers” that in terms of sheer size, and amusements offered, were in a class all their own. The Venice Pier (1905), Ocean Park’s Horseshoe Pier (1905), Bristol Pier (1907), and Fraser’s Million Dollar Pier (1910) led the list. Plans were already underway to build the Looff Pier that would adjoin the Santa Monica Pier when it opened in 1916.

Given the competition for tourists, there was little doubt a pleasure pier was needed. There was also little doubt that something was needed to make the Redondo pier stand out (although it certainly would already stand out as far as the fishermen were concerned).

Of course there is always the question of cost, especially if it’s a municipal pier to be paid for by the taxpayers. Then there is the question of where to build it and how to build it. Redondo’s leaders brought those questions directly to the voters and they did so in a fairly rapid pace. The one unanswered question would be the reaction of the Pacific Electric Company since it owned some of the property being discussed for a pier’s location.

Redondo Beach Plans Three Bond Campaigns — Redondo Beach, Feb. 12.—The campaign for three separate bond issues was started in a mass meeting held in the pavilion. The issues are for a municipal pleasure and fishing pier to cost $121,000…—Los Angeles Times, February 13, 1915

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 point. 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. This property can be purchased for $17,500, and $5000 to remove a pipe line…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, 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

Redondo Beach, March 9.—Among the many elections to be held by the city will be one called for April 10 to decide the location of the proposed municipal pier, if the bond issue of $121,000 for a pier passes at an election Thursday of this week. Five questions will be asked the voters. They include three locations—one at the south end of the bath-house, one be at the foot of Emerald street and one at the foot of Diamond street. The voters will also be asked if they prefer a horseshoe-shaped pier extending from Diamond to Emerald streets, or a V-shaped pier from Emerald street to the south end of the bath-house. —Los Angeles Times, March 10, 1915

Redondo Beach Votes For A Pleasure Pier — Redondo Beach, March 11.—The municipal pier bond issue of $121,000 carried today at the polls, the vote being 760 for and 246 against, the proposition carrying by ninety over the necessary two-thirds. The pier, as proposed by the Board of Trustees, will be one of the show places of the Southwest, and will be used for pleasure and fishing purposes. The next special election to be held will be on April 10, the voters will decide where they desire the municipal pier to be located. Three locations are presented to the voters and two additional questions will be asked the voters regarding the shape of the pier to be built.—Los Angeles Times, March 12, 1915

Pacific Electric Has Offer For Redondo Beach — Decide Upon V-Shaped Pier —Redondo Beach, April 7.—Reduces Price—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 would be 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 to concessions on both sides of the pier for a certain distance out. Mr. Shoup said that the company would be willing to sell the property to the city for its proposed municipal pier, and would eliminate the $5000 asked for removing the pipe lines and would ask the right to retain concessions only on the north side out as far as they now extend. A hint of possible suits on the part of the city to obtain quit-claims deeds to certain supposed tidelands 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 that was a matter for his legal department to take up. V-Shaped Pier— G. W. Harding, an engineer engaged by the board to report on the feasibility of the various locations, said that on account of the loss of his equipment last Friday, he was unable to determine the construction of the ocean bed for the proposed location at the foot of Diamond street. He said a pier at this location would cost a little more than the other places because of rough seas. Harding favors a V-shaped pier because it would be unique and would be a fine advertisement for the city, as well as being reinforced by the two approaches. He estimated that piers at the locations proposed would cost from $80,000 to $120,000, if built of concrete. The citizens will vote Saturday to decide where the pier will be built. A recent election decided the bond issue of $121,000, with which to build the structure. —Los Angeles Times, April 8, 1915

Ultimately, in an apparently heavily attended election, the voters chose the V-shape design that, together with the boardwalk connecting the two legs of the pier, would allow the title of  “Endless Pier” to be adopted.

Decide Upon A V-Shaped Pier — Redondo Beach, April 10.—In a lively election held here today to decide the location for the proposed municipal pleasure pier and fishing pier the citizens cast their vote in favor of a triangular-shaped structure extending out 900 feet from the end of the bath-house to Emerald street.  The vote stood: triangular-shaped pier, 744; straight pier at foot of Diamond street, 375; straight pier south of the Garland building, 5; straight pier at foot of Emerald street, 25; horseshoe-shaped pier, 12. The total vote cast was 1188, one vote being thrown out.  Greater interest was shown in the election today than has been here since women received the ballot in California. Voters were taken to the polls in invalid chairs to cast their ballot. The pier decided upon, according to an engineer’s report, will cost the city $121,000. It will form a triangle extending into the water in the shape of a “V.” —Los Angeles Times, April 11, 1915

 Once the money was secured, decisions on location made, and agreement reached with the Pacific Electric Company, actual construction could be begun. Designs and the awarding of a construction contract were again done at a fairly rapid pace but now the first of many problems were to occur that would plague this pier and the “Horseshoe Pier,” the successor to this pier.

News Of Beach — The [Redondo Beach] board last night opened sealed bids for the construction of the proposed triangular pleasure and fishing pier to be built here soon. Leyden-Ortselfen Company of Chicago were the lowest bidders, offering to erect the pier for $108,800. Charles W. Corbaley of Los Angeles bid $114,700 and Snare, Triest & Co. of New York, $129,800. Engineer George W. Harding was instructed to report on the bids and bidders and the board deferred the signing of a contract… City Attorney Perry presented a report of an engineer engaged by the city showing an appraisement of the approach for the proposed pleasure pier to be $2.50 a square foot, making the total appraisement $10,803.50. A committee was appointed by the board to confer with the Pacific Electric officials to see if that company would not reduce its price f $12,500 on the property.—Los Angeles Times, July 29, 2015

Award Contract For Great Pier — Redondo Trustees Pass Out Job: Get Promise Of Work At Once — Redondo Beach, Aug. 1.—Deciding upon immediate action regarding the construction of the proposed municipal pleasure and fishing pier, the Board of Trustees last night awarded the contract for the pier to the lowest of there bidders, Leyden-Ortselfen Company of Chicago was given the contract at $108,800, work to commence as soon as possible. While the bonds for the big structure have not been sold yet, the contractor agrees to go ahead with the construction. Official advertising for bids on the bonds will begin on August 23, and in the meantime everything will be put in readiness for quick work. Two approaches to the pier, which will be triangular, will be purchased from the Pacific Electric, the company agreeing to accept $8531 for both approaches in order to expedite the job. The company has been asked by the city for immediate possession of the property. Two strips, thirty feet wide from curb to curb, and about 100 feet long, are included in this purchase. Property owners on both sides will have to pay for the improvements of this property, the Pacific Electric being the principal owner. A new set of plans for working purposes, including specifications for concrete construction, reinforced with steel, have been prepared by Engineer George W. Harding. In order to provide for a deficit in the pier fund, caused by the fact that the contract price and other costs will reach more than the $121,000 authorized by the voters, Trustee Brolanski introduced a resolution providing that $1831 be taken from the general fund and placed in the pier fund. The motion was voted down. An effort will be made to sell the bonds at a premium. The bonds are of $500 and $1000 denominations. —Los Angels Times, August 4, 1915

Redondo Beach, Aug. 10.—The Board of Trustees entered into a contract with the Pacific Electric for the purchase of the two approaches to the proposed municipal pleasure and fishing pier. The price of both properties is $8531. All contracts for the construction, it was brought out at last night’s meeting, hinge upon the successful sale of the bonds, amounting to $121,000.—Los Angeles Times, August 11, 1915

Redondo Beach Pier Bonds Sold — Redondo Beach, Aug. 23.—The sale of the bonds aggregating $121,000, covering the cost of the construction of a concrete pleasure and fishing pier, was authorized tonight to the William R. Stants Company of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles concern offered the city accrued interest on the bonds from July 1 to the date of delivery to the company plus a premium of $13157. The offer of the investment and bond brokers is taken by city officials to indicate that money is not so tight as during the previous months of the European war. The premium of the bond brokers, say city officials, will take care of all additional costs not considered previously to the authorization of the issuance of the $121,000 in bonds. The contract accepted by the Trustees amounts to $108,000, and other costs, including the purchase of approaches to the pier, bring the total cost of the big structure to more than $121,000.—Los Angeles Times, August 24, 1915

News reports soon said that construction would begin on the pier in September. But nothing was happening. Where were the materials and the workers? Why was there a delay?

Work on the municipal pleasure and fishing pier will be begun as soon as possible but the contractors have until September 15 to begin. Owing to the fact that the firm is an eastern one, it may take them longer to get their equipment here than a California concern.—Los Angeles Times, September 6, 1915

The launching of the work marking the beginning of construction of the new municipal pier, which is scheduled for some time this month, will probably be about the time that the heavy autumn storms begin. The contractors and city officials say however, that the work will go ahead, nevertheless. Unless the storms come with too great violence, the contractors say, they will begin their work within about ten days. Otherwise they will probably be granted as extension of time.—Los Angeles Times, September 11, 1915

Contractors Fail To Begin On Job — Redondo Beach Is Wondering Where Materials And Workers Are — Redondo Beach, Sept. 24.—City officials here are perplexed over the failure of the contractors for the new municipal pier to arrive here today for work which was supposed to have begun tomorrow. So far no material nor equipment have been delivered on the job, nor have any representatives of the contractors, the Leyden-Ortselfen Co. of Chicago, appeared to advise the city when the actual construction would be begun. Tomorrow a conference will be held by City Attorney Frank L. Perry, City Engineer Ralph Hanson and the pier engineer, George W. Harding. It is expected that the telegraph wires between here and Chicago will be kept hot for a while after the conference.  The City Trustees do not meet until Monday night, and by that time a technical legal point with reference to the time of starting work will be decided. The contractors apparently believe they have until September 30, but the city officials are disappointed that work was not begun at once. The amount of the contract, $108,600, is ready for use. The contractors have furnished bonds for $81,000.—Los Angeles Times, September 25, 1915

Redondo Beach Wondering Why — Redondo Beach, Sept. 26.—While city officials here are puzzled over the status of the beginning of work on the new municipal pleasure pier, they are also wondering what will be the outcome of a conference tomorrow at Flagstaff, Ariz., between the pier engineer, George W. Harding, and Mr. Ortselfen of the Leyden-Ortselfen Company of Chicago. The Chicago contracting company was awarded the contract for the construction of the pier, but so far no material nor apparatus have appeared on the job and the city officials are disappointed that work has not already been begun. At a conference attended yesterday by Mayor O. N. Tomlinson, City Attorney F. L. Perry and Mr. Harding, the City Attorney gave as his opinion that the company has until the evening of September 30 to begin work, as that will be fifteen days after the receipt by the contractors of notice that the city has the money for the bonds. Engineers say that, if the contractors do intend to go ahead with their contract, they will have to rush material on the job. So it was decided that Mr. Harding would confer with Mr. Ortselfen and learn the company’s intentions. Mr. Harding was authorized to inform the company that a San Francisco-New York contracting company would take the contract off Mr. Ortselfen’s hands if the Chicago contractors felt they were too far away from their base of supplies and equipment. Mr. Harding will report by telegraph in time for tomorrow night’s meeting of the trustees.—Los Angeles Times, September 27, 1915

Up In The Air About New Pier — Redondo Beach Demands To Know Of Contractors What’s To Do — Redondo Beach, Sept. 29.—The Board of Trustees will meet at a special meeting Friday to take some action with regard to the construction of the municipal pleasure and fishing pier. Mr. Ortselfen of Leyden-Ortselfen Company, the contractors, has communicated with the board and said that he will be here Thursday, which is the last day he has before beginning work. It is intimidated that work will begin next week. If such is not the case the board threatens to take some action, as the Trustees have indicated that they are chaffing under the delay already experienced.  A proposition for the city to purchase the stub of the old pier of the Pacific Electric at the foot of Emerald street for $1 was turned down by the board when Trustee Brolaski pointed out that it would cost the city from $4000 to $5000 to remove the old structure.—Los Angeles Times, September 30, 2015

 The City Council finally decided to act and rewarded the contract to a different firm.

Redondo Beach Pier To Be Begun In Next Few Days — Redondo Beach, Oct. 2.—The contract for the new triangular-shaped pier, originally let to the Leyden-Ortselfen Company of Chicago, has been turned over to the McArthur Brothers Company of New York by the Board of Trustees following the cancellation of the original agreement with the first-named firm.  The failure of the Leyden-Ortselfen company to start work as required by the terms of their contract brought forth a lengthy resolution from Trustee Brolaski wherein the Commonwealth Bonding Company, acting as sureties for the contractors, were instructed immediately to take charge of the work and rush the pier to completion.  Permission was given the bonding company to engage the McArthur Bros. company to complete the work. A representative of the McArthur company has assured the city officials that actual work would be begun within three days. —Los Angeles Times, October 3, 1915

In October of 1915 construction finally started on the “Endless Pier,” a somewhat triangular-shaped pier that was heralded as “the most unique over-the-sea structure in the country.” The southern leg began at Coral Way, in front of the Bath House, and extended out 450 feet before meeting the platform at the end. The northern leg began at Emerald Street near the Pavilion (approximately where Wharf No. 1 once stood), was slightly shorter, and at the end contained an attractive restaurant. A 160×200-foot-platfrom connected the two legs. The pier was built of reinforced concrete and shaped much like today’s horseshoe pier. Nearly a dozen large shaded benches provided shelter from the sun or rain for those strolling the pier. To give non-fishing visitors protection from errant fishing lines, hooks, and fish, a fishing deck was extended out from the pier. In many ways it was one of the best-designed piers both for the angling and non-angling public. Unfortunately, the design was flawed and the pier would be short lived.

Redondo Beach Pier Wonder of Engineering — Redondo Beach, Oct. 19.—With the arrival of all necessary equipment for the construction of the triangular-shaped concrete pier at Redondo Beach, actual work has been begun on what will be one of the most unique over-the-sea structures on the Pacific Coast. Within a period of 180 working days the McArthur Brothers Company of New York, the contractors, agree to have the pier ready for the use of the public. Projecting seaward in the form of a huge V and terminating in a broad fishing platform 200 feet square, on the brink of the great submarine canyon that has made Redondo Beach the mecca for thousands of disciples of Isaak Walton, the new pier is expected to attract the attention of hosts of tourists that annually make their pilgrimage westward. One leg of the pier triangle will rest on the front of Emerald street, one of the principal thoroughfares of the beach city, and the other will have its base at the southerly end of the great saltwater plunge. A new street, lined with buildings, is planned for the southerly entrance to the pier.  The large stations of stone construction with tiled roofs will offer rest for those who love to sit and watch the sea, while a large sun parlor and aquarium at the outer end will prove an added thing of beauty.  The entire pier will be brilliantly illuminated at night by a unique and original lighting system. Part of the outer platform will be reserved exclusively for fishermen, whereon no one without the necessary fishing paraphernalia may venture. The pier when completed will be nearly 600 feet out from the shore line, will be of concrete construction, and will cost in the neighborhood of $125,000. The pilings run from thirty-five feet in length at the shore-end to ninety-five feet at the outermost end. They will penetrate to a depth of thirty feet where extremely deep water is reached. George W. Harding, the structural engineer in charge, states that he has been besieged in all parts of the country in regard to the engineering difficulties connected with the work. Harding and F. E. Roberts of San Francisco, who is in active charge for the contractors, will be the guests of honor at a “christening” celebration planned for Tuesday, at which time Congressman Stephens will also be present. An all-day celebration followed by a masquerade ball in the pavilion, planned by Marshall Craig of the executive committee of the Chamber of Commerce, is expected to usher in the new pier in the proper manner. Miss Tomlinson, daughter of Mayor Tomlinson, will break a bottle of champagne over the first concrete piling to be driven. The city will be gaily decorated in preparation for the event. The Southern California Rod and Reel Club will have a large delegation on hand for the occasion.—Los Angeles Times, October 11, 1915

However, even though construction finally would begin, controversy would continue. Amazingly it would be over the fluid in the bottle used to dedicate the new pier. It’s hard today, so far removed from those years, to understand the attitudes toward alcohol that would result in “Prohibition” just five years later.


Contents Of Bottle Addle Beach Brains — Redondo Beach, Oct.13.—Active construction on the huge new pleasure pier was begun today with a dedication ceremony in which Miss Ruth Tomlinson, daughter of Redondo’s Mayor, christened the structure by breaking a large green bottle of mysterious fluid over the north approach.  What was in the bottle? That’s what is puzzling Redondo. “Champagne of course,” aver adherents of formal christenings such as given battleships. “Sea water,” stoutly assert the prohibitionists. “We protested the use of champagne and cold ‘sparkling water’ was substituted.” “But we heard it pop,” say many. “Carbonated sea water,” retort the promoters of the aqua pura theory.  “We’re from Missouri,” chorus those on the other side. “There’s one pop that can’t be imitated.” Meanwhile Chairman Jack Funk of the Entertainment Committee, being questioned on the all important point, declined to answer and merely looked wise. The protest to the use of champagne was signed by Rev. John Hadley and it is said the Chamber of Commerce promised to have sea water substituted for the bubbling spirits, much to the chagrin of many who wanted to see $7 worth of joy water douse the new pier. Did the pre-arranged plans slip? That’s the question of the day in Redondo Beach. At any rate it was a regular christening. Miss Tomlinson, suffering just a trifle from stage fright, was introduced by Congressman W. D. Stephens, the speaker of the day. “I dedicate this pleasure pier for Redondo Beach,” said the pretty maid and crash went the bottle of—what? “There’s no evidence either way except a picture of the bottle which some say shows the tin-foil top has been tampered with, while others say they can see no real break. There is nothing left of the bottle or contents, for the surf carried away the fragments. —Los Angeles Times, October 14, 1915

In honor of the new pier it was announced that it would be the model for Redondo’s float in the Tournament of Roses parade.

Miniature Pier — Redondo Beach, Dec. 8.—An exact replica of the triangle pleasure pier, now building, wull br made of wild flowers the color of cement and form the float that this e city will enter in the 1916 Tournament of Roses. In planning and building the float George W. Harding construction engineer of the MacArthur Brothers Company, who are erecting the new municipal pier, will cooperate with the committee selected by the Chamber of Commerce. —Los Angeles Times, December 9, 1915 

Great Pleasure Pier Nearing Completion — Redondo Beach, Feb. 7.—The $110,000 municipal pier, the only one of such design on the Pacific Coast, is so far along that it should be completed in time for the spring fishing season. The pier was begun October 10, last, and will be finished in April. It is built so that its inner form is a half-circle. It extends over 600 feet out into the ocean and is 2300 feet from the entrance, around the pier to the exit. There is, therefore, no end to the pier, which is the unusual part of it.  The piles are the largest and heaviest of any wharf on the southern coast. They are reinforced with steel and weigh from sixteen to twenty tons each. The piles in the deep-water part of the pier are heavier and weigh over thirty tons. They are from thirty to eight-five feet long and there will be 270 or more of them.  More than 100 men on the day and night shifts are engaged now in the work of jettying from five to nine of these piles per shift into the ocean bed.  The greatest fishing hole on the south coast is on the left side, near the end of the pier. At low tide it is fifty feet deep there, and at high tide sixty-five or seventy feet. The submarine canyon is constantly full of different kinds of fish. On this side there will be more than usual number of fishing seats built, with comfortable backs to the seats and feet props.  A person who will walk around the pier when it is completed will travel almost half a mile. There will be ten rest stations with umbrella shades and seats. In the middle, where the two wings join, will be an extension of the pier into the ocean in rectangular form, the three sides taking up 400 feet. Here is where the observatory, elevated about ten or twelve feet high, will be situated. It will have glass walls on all sides. On the side where the deep fish bed will be a landing for fish boats.  In June, last year, when the citizens of Redondo Beach voted for a municipal pier, there were three factions with different opinions about the proposed location of the new pier. The difference of one block made an important issue between property holders who were desirous of having the pier near them. Partly because the design was so unusual and the structure when completed, would be a brace for itself, and partly as a compromise, the present plan was chosen, which is the same as two piers because each entrance starts a block from the other in the main part of the concession district. MacArthur Bros. of Los Angeles are the contractors, C. L. Roberts, superintendent; George W. Harding, engineer and special designer, and J. R. Kirby and C. S. Robinson are some of the reputable men who are engaged at the location in Redondo Beach until the pier is finished. —Los Angeles Times, February 13, 1916

Redondo Builds A Pier To Help The Fishermen — Redondo Beach, Feb. 2.—The southeast corner of the new circular pier at this place has already won a reputation as one of the best spots, if not the best little spot on the Coast, for fishing. The reason for this is, that according to the bait, any kind of fish seems to bite.  An unusual circumstance is the cause of this. The ocean’s bed forms a canyon, the edge of which runs up at a sharp angle and at a 2-foot curve, near the shore, and the new pier was built so that it would extend into a corner of this deep hole where so many kinds of fish always are coming and going. The submarine canyon in one place at the pier is eleven fathoms deep, or sixty-six feet. In another place, ninety-six feet of water is within easy cast. The advantages of deep-sea fishing have already been found on the partially completed pier, at this particular corner. Yesterday Herbert Guthree caught a thirty-pound yellowtail from this corner, and today a local lad caught a huge halibut. The new pier will be finished by April in time for the spring and summer season. On the corner where the deep bed is, there will be extra facilities for fishing provided and a bulletin board giving the times of tides, so that fishermen will know when is the best time to fish. The incoming tides often bring surprises, in the kind of schools of fish that drift in… —Los Angeles Times, February 22, 1916

Once again though there was disagreement and a delay.  

Dispute Over Landing — Redondo Beach, March 18.—That a favorable boat landing of the new pier is something worth scrapping for was made evident when two interested parties representing different views came before the Council. The location for the landing has twice been changed and Special Engineer Harding says that of the location of the landing is changed again, the city will have an added expense of $1000 as the concrete piles are in now. George Peterson, an old pilot, told Mayor Tomlinson that unless the landing location is changed boats will be able to land there about one-fourth of the time at best. Other interested citizens stated that as the new pier is one of the best fishing spots on the coast, it would be foolish to take up so much room for a landing farther out on the pier. The Mayor turned the matter over to the Public Properties Committee. —Los Angels Times, March 19, 1916

May Defer Pier Opening — Redondo Beach, March 22.—The opening of the new pier will probably be postponed from April 29 to a later date, according to a letter to the Mayor from J. R. Hitchcock of the Santa Fe, requesting that the date of the opening also of El Paseo be postponed. MacArthur Bros, the contractors and builders of the new pier, state the announcement of the opening day was made without any consultation wit them and it is not possible to have the pier finished at that date. —Los Angeles Times, March 23, 1916

Dives For Engine — Redondo Beach, M<arch 25.—Both pile drivers used in the construction of the new municipal pier here went to the bottom of the ocean in the recent storm, and today Alfred Christy, a diver, was under water for one hour and three-quarters and succeeded in locating one of the engines. The other one has not been found and work cannot proceed on the pier until the large derricks are brought up from the ocean bed. —Los Angeles Times, March 2, 1916

An interesting proposal was made for an aquarium on the pier although it apparently was never built.

Marine Aquarium At Redondo Beach — Redondo Beach, June 5.—Hector Alliott, curator of the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles, has offered through W. M. McKnight, manager of the Southern California Edison Company here, an aquarium to be built on the new concrete pier in this city, now nearing completion. The Los Angeles Museum will appropriate a portion of the expense money for the maintenance of the aquarium. Mr. Alliott asserts that Redondo Beach is the best field for creating a marine biological station and marine museum, and proposes to erect such a station on the municipal pier as a free public museum for information.  Mr. Alliott has plans under way whereby the City Council will combine with the local Chamber of Commerce in securing the funds for the building, and the Southwest Museum would superintend the erection and operation of the station. The city will probably appropriate the amount sufficient for two caretakers and operating expenses. The arrangement and operation of exhibits would be under the personal care of Me. Alliott and his assistants. The building will cost approximately $5000, and $2000 has already been appropriate here. It will probably be built along the same lines as the Southwest Museum in Highland Park, in the Spanish architectural style. —Los Angeles Times, June 6, 1916

Amidst all of the delays, fishing began to take place on the pier. Anglers have never needed an “official” opening date to hold back their enthusiasm or ability to grab a spot and begin fishing.

Lots Of Mackerel Run At Redondo — Redondo Beach, June 15.— Due to the fact that the other two wharves hare are roped off while the men are unloading the ships, the new municipal pier is the only place where people can fish, and several large halibut, as well as mackerel, were caught today by the anglers. Joseph Henderson caught the first “corn fed” mackerel of the season today with a small rod and reel. The “corn feds” do not usually come into these waters until the month of August. Perch are also biting well. —Los Angeles Times, June 16, 1916

Council Accepts Handsome New Municipal Pier — Redondo Beach, July 26.—The new $110,000 municipal pier in this city was formally accepted by the City Council last night and plans are rapidly progressing for a gran opening on August 5. Every night the pier is lit with myriads of red, white and blue lights, which give a novel and wonderful effect from a distance. The lights are on the outside as well as the inside of the circular pier, and there are 500 of them distributed at each of the nine comfort stations around the pier. The pier is entirely of concrete giving an absolute finish of white, and there is a glass sun parlor in the center, in the deep-water part. The opening day will also be Garden Valley Day here. —Los Angeles Times, July 26, 1916

Two Gay Days To Mark Opening Of Great Pier — Redondo Beach will blossom out in a gigantic celebration Saturday and Sunday to commemorate the official opening of the $125,000 pleasure pier. A fireworks display, an exhibition of high and fancy diving from the new pier by Redondo Beach diving beauties, and dancing on the pier at night with incidental confetti battles and a masquerade, will be features of the two days of celebration. The new pier is one of the finest of its kind on the West Coast. It is triangular in shape, with a double approach from the shore, converging in a great platform, 165×270 feet, right over one of the deepest and best fishing holes on the coast. All construction is of solid reinforced concrete, built to withstand the highest seas. A system of electric lights, hundreds in number, serves to create a beautiful illumination at night. Many notable persons from all parts of Southern California will take part in the grand opening Saturday. The Mayors of various Southern California cities, with the secretaries of various chambers of commerce, will be the guests of honor. Saturday afternoon literary exercises will be held. In the evening a great fireworks display will officially open the pier. A dance will follow.  The next day will be featured by the giving away of thousands of flowers, presented by the city of Redondo Beach. During both evenings of dancing $100 in cash prizes will be given to the couples wearing the best and most unusual costumes. —Los Angeles Times, August 2, 1916

Strawberry Day At The Beach — Redondo Beach, Aug. 2—The city will celebrate the completion of its municipal $110,000 pier on Saturday and Sunday in conjunction with the people of Gardena, Torrance, Moneta, Lometa, and Bridgedale, who will come here Saturday to celebrate Strawberry Valley Day… Little flower girls will strew roses on the ocean, and the pier, which is finished in concrete, will be deprived of its whiteness by bright bunting and flags, and electrical displays in the evening.—Los Angeles Times, August 3, 1916

Redondo Beach Opens Its New Pleasure Pier

 Redondo Beach, Aug.5—This city celebrated the opening of the new municipal $125,000 pier here today and festivities began with a programme at 10 o’clock a.m. and will be continued through tomorrow. In connection with the opening of the new pier, Strawberry Valley day was held here and the cities of Gardena, Torrance, Moneta and Bridgedale held their annual picnic here, with George A. Proctor master of ceremonies and a committee composed of the Messrs. Robertson, Murray, Pitman, Hendricks and Smith; Sports Committee, Toetz, Norton, Bittleston, Ormsbee; judges, D. N. Towne, Vagel, Smith and George Towne, and Dance Committee, H. Dolley and C. I. Tilley.  Miss Ruth Roland and her company of film players and the Vermont Society of Southern California, of which Mr. H. T. McGee is president and Mrs. Henry George, secretary, were here.  Considerable excitement was caused on the new pier this afternoon when two policemen arrested the bathing girls for appearing in public with their tight-fitting bathing suits. The girls dove from the center of the new pier for a motion picture concern and made their exit from the crowd holding barrels around them.  There were over 7000 people here and a banquet was held at the Casino Club Café tonight, some of the speakers being Lieut.-Governor Stephens, R. L. Bisby, Mayor Sebastian of Los Angeles and others. Dancing was initiated at the casino tonight for the first time, and the orchestra, which usually plays on the main floor, was transferred to the balcony and the space cleared for dancing on the first floor. The pleasure pier, which is constructed of reinforced concrete, has been built by the city as an expenditure of $125,000 and is of unique design, having a double approach from the shore and being built in the form of a triangle with a platform 165×270 feet in size on the ocean end. On the floor of the pier at the ocean end a two-story sun-parlor and observation pavilion has been erected and at various points along the pier shaded settees have been made for the pleasure and comfort of the public. The special conveniences for fishermen consist of an outer fishing deck built along the sides and end of the pier, which keeps them away from the annoyance of the promenaders, who, as a rule, are too curious to know all about the latest catch. —Los Angeles Times, August 6, 1916

A view of the Redondo Beach Municipal Pier — the Endless Pier. Although dated 1921, this is the way the pier would have looked when new in 1916.

Redondo Beach — The Redondo Beach Rod and Reel Club will be born into the world next week with the installation of tables in the sun parlor of the new $125,000 municipal pier. Anyone fishing from the pier, after signing, can receive a button and prizes will be given for the best catch every day. —Los Angeles Times, April 29, 1917

Two-Day Jubilee For Coast Town — Preparations for the two-day jubilee at Redondo Beach, Saturday and Sunday, the most pretentious ever planned for the coast city, were completed yesterday by the beach town’s Chamber of Commerce. The affair will have a double significance and purpose, as it will both mark the first anniversary of the completion of the beach city’s endless concrete pleasure pier, the only thing of its kind on the Coast, and the inauguration of the new $4,000,000 harbor project, for which Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach have voted to bond themselves for $100,000. Assuring the success of the celebration, Mary Pickford, who is the idol of perhaps more women and girls than any other person in America, and Julia Heinrich, prima donna soprano of the Metropolitan Grand Opera House of New York, daughter of the famous Max Heinrich, will take part in the programme. Miss Heinrich is spending the summer at La Jolla and this will be her first appearance in Southern California in ten years. It will be Mary Pickford’s second appearance in public hereabouts in several years. Her part will be to strew some thousands of Redondo-grown carnations on the waves as a return compliment to Father Neptune, who is to present a quit-claim deed to the harbor tidelands to the Mayor of Redondo Beach… The two-day celebration will include, among its numerous incidents, open-air dancing on the new pier, a display of fireworks, the scattering of thousands of carnations among the crowds, exhibition diving from a height of thirty feet into the ocean, vaudeville, etc. —Los Angeles Times, August 6, 1917

From the opening day the pier was jammed with anglers.

 Sea Bass Invade Waters of RedondoRedondo Beach, Oct. 24.—A school of sea bass, estimated at several hundred, earned considerable excitement among the fishermen on the triangular pier this morning. The fish frightened all the small fish away but it was great sport for the fishermen attempting to catch the large fish with their small hooks and lines. The fish were so thick that snag lines were used freely and although many of the fish were snagged, none could be landed on the pier. One fisherman alone snagged eleven of the fish. The sea bass average from thirty to fifty pounds in weight. They remained in the inside of the pier all morning. Fishermen claim that this is the first time a school of sea bass has come so close to the shore. They believe they were chased in by a school of jewfish. —Los Angeles Times, October 25, 1918

Alas, the “Wonder of Engineering,” the pier “built to withstand the highest seas,” failed to last three years of Mother Nature’s hammering from wind and wave. A brutal storm in March of 1919 combining heavy tides and an unprecedented undertow, cracked and tore out the outer section of the pier.

Redondo Beach, Mar. 7.—Heavy seas and currents sweeping in on the Redondo pleasure pier have so undermined it that the outer end of the pier collapsed during the night at a loss of approximately $50,000. No one was on the pier at the time. —Santa Ana Register, March 7, 1919

Heavy Tide Damages New Municipal Pier — Redondo Beach, Cal., Mar. 7.—Battered by heavy tides for two nights the extreme outer part of the municipal pier has been washed away, causing a loss estimated at from $50,000 to $75,000. The sun parlor, promenade and fishing deck of the pier were dropped into the ocean. The pier was built in 1916, at a cost of $125,000. Work of reconstruction is to be started immediately, it was announced by President Richardson of the city board of trustees. —Oxnard Courier, March 7, 1919

Heavy Seas Damage Redondo City Pier — Los Angeles, March 7.—A municipal pleasure pier at Redondo, a beach town near here, was badly damaged today by heavy seas which wrecked the sea end of the concrete structure and demolished a number of frame buildings on the pier occupied by various concessions. The pier, which was built in the shape of a V, cost about $150,000. The wrecked portion was about 200 feet long and 155 feet wide. Municipal authorities estimated the loss at $50,000 or more and said reconstruction would be undertaken at once.—San Francisco Chronicle, March 8, 1919 

Wind And Waves Play Havoc — Redondo Beach Pier Partly Wrecked — The windstorm which began on Thursday night and continued until an early hour yesterday morning did considerable throughout Southern California, chiefly in conjunction wit the heavy seas it created… the storm was a typical sou’wester.  The giant breakers and heavy undertow resulting from the wind wrecked the outer end of the Redondo Beach triangular pleasure pier, causing a damage estimated at about $30,000. The outer tier of concrete pilings was washed into the ocean, as was also the sun parlor and restaurant, and about one-half of the concrete flooring of the outer end. Steps were at once taken by Street Superintendent E. Jensen to prevent a larger portion of the pier from washing away. A special meeting of the Trustees was called yesterday at which it was decided to repair the pier at once, so that it will be ready for use this summer.  The undertow is said to have been the strongest ever known at the beach. The old pilings of pier No. 1, which had been buried in the ground when the pier was wrecked and the new pier constructed, were torn up by the undertow and thrown against the concrete pilings by the terrific breakers with great force. The damage done to the pier is ascribed chiefly to this. Another theory is that the heavy undertow caused a cave-in of the submarine canyon, near whose edge the outer end of the pier is built. This canyon reaches a great depth a short distance from the outer end of the pier. A danger line has been stretched across the pier, beyond which the public is forbidden to pass. Wreckage from the pier and from the old pilings dug up by the undertow fairly littered the south beaches, and a large number of persons were busy all day getting whatever salvage they could carry away. The pier was completed in 1916 at a cost of $125,000, but several thousand dollars have been spent in additional improvements. The pier is made of concrete, is triangular in shape, converging about 700 feet out in the ocean. It is the only pier of its kind in the world, and regarded by many as the finest pier on the Pacific Coast. —Los Angeles Times, March 8, 1919

Wave-Rapped Pier Is Viewed By Thousands

 Redondo Beach, March 9.—Thousands of persons came down from Los Angeles and other near-by cities today to view the damage done to the municipal pier during the severe windstorm Thursday night and early Friday morning, making the largest winter crowd that has attended the beach in a single day in many years. It is estimated that fully 10,000 visitors were in Redondo Beach today. —Los Angeles Times, March 10, 1919

Almost immediately some people began to question the original engineering of the pier as well as its concrete structure.

James Tail has written his brother, R. S. Tait, of this city from Redondo Beach that the heavy seas washed out a section of the fine concrete pier at Redondo—in fact, the entire sea end of the structure, a very costly loss. The pier cost $125,000. “It was a wise thing that Santa Cruz did not build a concrete pier,” said the postal. —Santa Cruz Evening News, March 13, 1919

Given its heavy use and the status of the pier in the community, as well as the tremendous cost of the recently opened pier, plans were started almost immediately to repair the pier.

Plan To Repair Pier — Redondo Beach, Mar. 13,—E. K. Barnard of the firm of Barnard & Leeds, engineers, Los Angeles, with his engineers, accompanied by Mayor Richardson, Louis Field, City Councilman and others interested in the big project of repairing the pier, the main part of which dropped into the sea last Friday, have made examinations, soundings and a general survey. According to Mayor Richardson, the work of reconstruction will begin immediately upon acceptance of the engineer’s plans and it is proposed to have the pier in perfect order in time for the summer season opener. —Santa Ana Register, March 13, 1919

Order Bond Election — Redondo Beach, May 20.—The Board of Trustees, at their meeting last night, called a bond election for $25,000 to repair the municipal pier, which was severely damaged by a storm some months ago. The election is called for June 2. —Los Angeles Times, May 21, 1919

Vote For Pier Bonds — Redondo Beach, June 4.—By a vote of 245 to 80 the citizens of this city at an election yesterday expressed their approval of a $25,000 bond issue to repair the municipal pier. The pier, which cost $125,000, was severely damaged during a storm a few months ago. Work will be started as soon as possible, so that it will be completed before the close of the summer season. —Los Angeles Times, June 5, 1919

Unfortunately the money would not restore the pier to its original look. Although the outer curve of the pier was straightened, the pavilion (sun parlor?) would not be restored. Nor would the  fishing deck be rebuilt, the deck which had separated anglers from the public (and which was a great aid to anglers on the pier). Unfortunately this would not be the only storm to damage the pier; repairs and renovation would continue for years until finally the pier was condemned, barely ten years after being built.

Costly Windstorm — Redondo Beach, Dec. 20—The north wind that came sweeping down the coast, in the wake of heavy showers Sunday morning, played havoc with the fishermen of this beach last night… Some apprehension was felt for the safety of the newly repaired municipal pier but it came through the buffeting of the huge breakers without a tremor. —Los Angeles Times, December 21, 1920

Boys Find Jewelry — Fish Line Drags Up Bag Of Loot Stolen In Los Angeles — Redondo Beach, Sept. 8.—Some of the valuables taken from Nieman’s Jewelry Store, 126 West Sixth street, Los Angeles, were recovered in Redondo yesterday by three boys who were fishing on the municipal pier. They thought they had hooked a whale. When the line was drawn to the top of the water, they found the hook tangled in a long, black bag. When this was opened up, a lot of jewelry, most of it of little value, was found. The bag was taken to the police station. Chief Henry at once notified the Los Angeles jeweler of the discovery. The property included a wristwatch, six strings of beads, some white gold settings and a number if tiny jeweler’s saws. The boys who made the unusual find are Leland Morgan and Everett and Glenn Chasten. —Los Angeles Times, September 9, 1923

Lands Strange Fish — Redondo Beach, July 24.—A strange looking fish believed by deep-sea fishermen to be a sand shark or a species of the Ray fish from Mexican waters was hauled onto the Municipal pier this morning by a pole fisherman after a sharp tussle lasting forty minutes. The fish is round in shape, with the mouth on the underside, looking much like the stingray, but without the ray’s long needle-like tail. —Los Angeles Times, July 25, 1924 

Arizona Man Here Hooks Fine Halibut — Redondo Beach, Aug. 14.—Residents of Phoenix, Ariz., will learn more of Redondo and its fame as a fishing center when Frank Hegman, prominent contractor of that city, gets home. Mr. Hegman, who is spending his vacation here with his wife and son, pulled a twenty-one and a half-pound halibut from the Municipal Pier here today. Other fishermen also are getting good catches with a remarkable run of bonito as well as halibut and mackerel. —Los Angeles Times, August 15, 1925

Yellowtail Run On — Redondo Beach Fishermen Meet With Heavy Catches — Redondo Beach, Sept. 5.—Yellowtail in huge schools are being encountered by local fishermen from the Municipal Pier and from the boats, with prospects of the heaviest run in several years —Los Angeles Times, September 6, 1925

Heavy Swells Injure Pier At Redondo — Redondo Beach, Calif., Feb. 5.—Heavy swells today tore loose the boat landing from the municipal concrete pier and after being lashed in against the pier, cracking several piles, it was carried out into the breaker line. —Los Angeles Times, February 5, 1926

Redondo Beach Pier Closed By Official Order — Redondo Beach, April 1.—The Redondo Beach municipal pier was condemned as hazardous by the department of safety of the State Industrial Accident Commission today, and at a hastily called meeting of the City Board of Trustees was officially closed to the public, effective immediately. A. B. Wegner, construction engineer of the State commission, who examined the concrete pier, reported that it was unsafe for public use and that big cracks had appeared in sixty-two of the iron and concrete piers. T. W. Osgood, assistant State Superintendent of the Department of Safety of the commission, presented Wagner’s report to the Board of Trustees, along with the commission’s condemnation of the pier. He stated that the pier had been found hazardous and in danger of collapse under the weight of a crowd. The Board of Trustees promptly ordered the pier closed to the public and fences erected across its entrances. The only remedy, the Trustees held, is for the city to vote a bond issue for repair of the structure —Los Angeles Times, April 2, 1927

Soon after, work would begin on a new pier for Redondo in basically the same spot. It would be slightly different in design, made of wood, and become known as the “Horseshoe Pier.”

Contract Let To Replace Old Pier — Redondo Beach, April 5.—Peter W. Krantz was awarded the contract for building a new wooden pier to replace the concrete municipal pier closed and condemned last year. Krantz was awarded the contract on a bid of $62,000, about $400 above the engineer’s estimate. Other bids for building the pier and wrecking the abandoned one ran as high as $100,000. United States district engineers will supervise the wrecking of the old pier as the debris is to be banked against the Pacific Electric breakwater or moved out into the channel before the new pier is begun. An effort is being made to have the pier in use by early summer. —Los Angeles Times, April 6, 1928


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