Redondo Wharf No. 3 — 1904-1926

 An Angler’s History of Redondo Wharf No. 3


Redondo’s Wharf No. 2 and Wharf No. 3

Wharf No. 3, a wooden wharf, was built during 1903 at Sapphire Street. It would receive its first shipment in January 1904 and primarily be used as a wharf for the lumber industry during much of its life. It would last until 1926 when the lease of the Pacific Railroad was rejected by Redondo Beach.

As with Wharf No. 1 and Wharf No. 2, Redondo’s original wharves were commercial working wharves used primarily for coastal shipping. As such they vied with the wharves at San Pedro and the Long Wharf at Santa Monica for shipping dominance (although the McFadden Wharf in Newport Beach was another competitor and it was often used by the Santa Fe when storms would damage the Redondo wharf). However, commercial shipping began a steady decline in the new century and the wharves at Redondo, like most of the commercial wharves in California, would see a drop in usage and revenue. However, tremendous change would take place to Redondo Beach itself, as well as its railroads and wharves, before Wharf No. 3 was destroyed in the mid 1920s.

Redondo — Thousand-Foot Wharf

Redondo, March 16.—The Redondo companies will build a wharf 1000 feet long, 300 feet north of wharf No. 2. Soundings show that there will be a water depth of sixty feet at the end. H. B. Ainsworth, vice-president and secretary of the companies, left for the north today to make arrangements for construction. This addition will give Redondo a total of about three thousand feet of wharfage and will afford accommodation for the greatly-increased traffic. In the past six months over forty million feet of lumber was handled over the local wharves. —The Los Angeles Times, March 17, 1903

Redondo — Shy On Wharf Room

Redondo, Oct. 23.—Movements of lumber and shipping have been very active here for the past week, and the lack of wharf space has been severely felt. The new wharf is now out about eight hundred feet, but it will take some time to complete it, although the work has been pushed as rapidly as possible. —Los Angeles Times, October 24, 1903

Wharf No. 3 is completed and the schooner Melville Dollar is the first vessel to discharge her cargo of lumber. —Los Angeles Times, January 2, 1904

[Wharf] No. 3 is 1350 feet long; length of berth 325 feet; depth at outer end, 45 feet; inshore end of berth, 25 feet. —Lloyd’s Register of British And Foreign Shipping, 1907

Good Fishing in Past Week—Redondo has been another point of interest during the week. From mackerel fishermen and hand-liners catches of as high as a hundred “cornfeds” have been  reported. Many of these fish have been as much as a foot in length. Several local   fishermen have paid night trips to this beach, returning on the last car with a fine mess for breakfast. The best bait for the mackerel is the mackerel steak, cut from the side of the first ones caught. There have been a good many catches during the week with the Jftp fly bait, the fish rising to it if it is sunk and jerked about a bit. As is usual when the mackerel are running there have been some yellowtail and a few halibut taken by hand-liners. Surf fishing has been unusually good at Redondo, and the wharves at the beach town have been lined with fishermen seeking the little fish each day.Los Angeles Herald, June 30, 1907

The three wharves at Redondo have contributed plenty of small fish all the week, but very few large ones are thrown in for variety. The liveliest fun has been with skipjacks. These swift, gamey fellows have apparently taken great pleasure in smashing up the tackle of the mackerel fishermen, one of their chief diversions being snatching a live mackerel from the hooks before the angler can respond to his bite and raise the fish. Very few yellowtail have been seen around the any of Redondo’s three wharves, and the barracuda have not been in for weeks. Cornfed mackerel are biting quite well, however, and a fair catch of them is reasonable sure for those who are on the ground at the right time. Infantile corbina are so numerous around No. 3 and in the surf-hole off the beach at Clinton that half a hundred can be caught in a day, when the tides are right.Los Angeles Times, September 8, 1907

Yellowtail Run At Redondo

Sardine fishing at Redondo is excellent, and not only have the sardines themselves contributed heavily in the anglers’ baskets, thanks to the Japanese worsted fly baits, but by drawing the yellowtail, sea trout and other large game fish they have given the handliners a taste of old-time sport. Friday on one wharf fifty big yellowtails were landed, some of them as heavy as forty pounds. Many halibut have been taken at Redondo; the sand dabs and other small flatfish are biting a little.Los Angeles Times, September 22, 1907

Rod and reel enthusiasts report a fine run of fish and catching good luck today at the two southerly piers, Nos. 2 and 3. One man came through town on his way home, with over a hundred pounds of yellowtail and stated that he had left the rest of his catch because of inability to carry it. He had landed thirty-one of the big fish. On Pier No. 1 however, Spanish mackerel and smelt reportedly were the sole visitation of the finny tribe.Los Angeles Times, November 28, 1907

Will Extend Pier

The Redondo Company is still working on its plans for extending wharf No. 3 for 300 feet further, to permit deep-water vessels to discharge the Santa Fe’s Hawaiian ties. Construction will start in the course of a month or so. The first of the tie-carrying ships is expected in December. —Los Angele Times, July 15, 1908

Great Fishing—Redondo, Aug. 27.—For the last two days anglers fishing off the piers have had plenty of sport. Yellowtail, barracuda and bass have been plentiful, owing to large schools of sardines which have been close in shore.Santa Ana Register, August 27, 1908

Yellowtail at Wharf 3

An unusual run of yellowtail at Wharf No. 3 delighted the hearts of many fishermen Wednesday. Yellowtail in great numbers were piled about the wharf, though the fish were not biting at the other wharves.The Redondo Reflex, September 3, 1908

Where To Fish—Yellowtail, that monarch of game fish, was a regular visitor at Redondo and nearby beaches but it was from No. 3 that most of the big fellows were caught during the week and no less than 100 ranging in weight from fifteen to twenty-five pounds were taken… Yellowtail, corbina, mackerel, cornfed mackerel, jacksmelt, herring, perch, smelt, yellow fin, bonita, and halibut.Los Angeles Herald, September 26, 1908

Where To Fish—Redondo continues good all the week for cornfed mackerel and jacksmelt, and on two days yellowtail made their appearance and gave great sport. An unusual shore run of sardines brought schools of bonita and skipjacks inside and kept things lively on all three wharves for a day to two.Los Angeles Herald, October 17, 1908

Monster Jewfish Is Caught At Redondo Beach

Yellowtail, sculpin, bonita and other good-sized fish have invaded the waters of Redondo and vicinity during the last week affording great sport at intervals to occasional handliners who had the luck to be on the ground at the right time. A monster jewfish weighing close to 400 pounds was captured early in the week, and jack smelt and mackerel have also been taken in satisfactory numbers, so the week on the whole has been exceptionally productive to the midweekers. —Los Angeles Times, November 1, 1908

Where To Fish—Redondo was the mecca for fishermen on the west coast last week, and yellowtail, sea bass, jewfish, halibut, all big fellows—jacksmelt, mackerel, sculpin, calico bass, corbina—just pan size—was the magnet which attracted them. There was great sport on almost every day of the week at this old reliable resort, and some notable catches were made. Yellowtail were running in great numbers and size, and several giant sea bass and jewfish as big as they grow were caught just outside the anchor buoys.Los Angeles Herald, November 14, 1908

Where To Fish—Sculpin and grouper were caught freely at Redondo Beach off of No. 2 wharf nearly every day during the week, and at No. 1 mackerel, herring, perch and smelt rewarded everyone who tried it out there.Los Angeles Herald, April 24, 1909

Extension of Pier Number Three at Redondo is to Be Started This Week

Redondo, May 17.—The Los Angeles and Redondo Railway Company will start work this week on Pier No. 3, and by July this will be extended to 1700 feet. On the completion of the work the United States Custom House will be moved to new offices built for it which, according to Collector Sheldrick, will give sufficient room to properly handle the increased business at this port, which it has not had heretofore. All the passenger business will be handled and the steamship and railroad offices removed from No. 1 to No. 3 and the bulk of the business handled from there. Mr. Sheldrick states lumber shipments show a remarkable increase in the last few months—a most important industry growing. Five lumber schooners docked yesterday… —Los Angeles Times, May 19, 1909

Lands Big Bass — Redondo Man Secures Thirty-Pounder

Redondo Beach, May. 25.—A. J. Bell of this city made a record-breaking catch for this season when he landed a thirty-pound sea-bass from wharf No. 3 yesterday morning. C. A. Ahrens of Los Angeles caught a 225-pound jewfish yesterday from the same pier with hook and line. C. A. Sheldrick, United States Custom Collector, and famous for his big catches, got fifty-three mackerel and two sea-trout. These were the first sea-trout of the season here and their appearance is hailed with delight by sportsmen. The fish appear to have moved from wharf No. 1, where they are usually to be found to the vicinity of wharf No. 3.Los Angeles Times, May 26, 1909

Big Catches In Fishing

A number of big catches were made by fishermen this week, all from Wharf No. 3, to which place the fish seemed to have moved from Wharf No. 1. Sunday A. J. Bell landed a huge sea-bass which weighed thirty pounds when dressed. A. C. Ahrens of Los Angeles caught with hook and line from Wharf No. 3 a jew fish weighing 225 pounds. Monday morning fifty-three mackerel were caught by C. A. Sheldrick, who never fails to make a big catch when he fishes. The appearance of the sea trout here is a great drawing card for the sportsmen, as they are generally scarce. —The Redondo Reflex, May 27, 1909

Biggest Fish Of The Season

Tommy Prizgint, a Los Angeles newsboy, and Will Cody, another Los Angeles boy, have the honor of landing the biggest Jew fish of the season. The monster fish was caught Monday morning from Wharf No. 3 with a rod and reel and weighed 400 pounds. It was all the boys could do to land the big fish. Tommy, who is the same news agent, who sells papers at Second and Broadway, is an experienced fisherman and is a member of the Southern California Rod and Reel club. He has caught several large Jew fish this season, but the one Monday was a record breaker and he is justly proud of his catch.The Redondo Reflex, June 3, 1909

Extension of Wharf No. 3 Nearly Complete

The extension of Wharf No. 3 is nearing completion and will be finished soon after the Michelsen has unloaded her cargo, which will be about a week, as further work on the wharf cannot be done until the departure of the ship. The extension of the wharf 100 feet has been completed and the addition on the north side has been built. There is yet considerable work necessary to complete the south side of the wharf after which the customs offices and offices of the steamship company will be built. —The Redondo Reflex, July 29, 1909

Wharf Extension Completed

The extension of Wharf No. 3 was completed Sunday night in time for the arrival of the Carlton, as had been planned. Unlike the other wharves, a flooring of dressed lumber has been laid making the floor as smooth as a ballroom floor. The wharf improvements will cost between $40,000 and $50,000. —The Redondo Reflex, September 16, 1909

On wharf No. 3 the largest run of sea trout of the season kept a forest of poles busy.Los Angeles Herald, August 7, 1910

Redondo Having Fine Run Of Mackerel

Redondo, Aug. 25.—Excitement over the heavy run of mackerel has now reached the point where scores of fishermen line the wharves as early as 3 o’clock in the morning to make certain of a place from which to fish at daylight when the mackerel come in to feed. At daylight yesterday morning there were no fewer than 300 fishermen on the various wharves waiting for the run. Many fine hauls were made, and it is estimated that summer visitors here have salted down nearly a ton of the toothsome “corn-feds.” On wharf No. 3, seventeen yellowtails were landed yesterday, the largest one weighing 33 ½ pounds.Santa Ana Register, August 25, 1910

Wm. Codie, of Los Angeles, made the largest catch of the season off Wharf No. 3, Monday, landing a yellowtail weighing thirty-four pounds. The immense fish attracted much attention as Codie carried it across his shoulder to the business center of town.The Redondo Reflex, September 29, 1910

Anglers at Redondo Beach are still enjoying the splendid run of yellowtail, mackerel, and halibut. An unusually large number of immense yellowtail are being caught on Wharf No. 3.The Redondo Reflex, September 29, 1910

Three Men Land Big Jew Fish

H. O. Patey, with the assistance of Geo. C. Bowman and Tom Peterson, succeeded in landing an immense Jew fish Friday. The fish, which was the largest caught this season off wharf No. 3, was six feet, two inches long and weighed 365 pounds. It took the united efforts of the three men to land it, the fish resisting for one hour.The Redondo Reflex, October 6, 1910

Redondo Beach, Dec. 8.—Contrary to all previous records and far exceeding expectations of the most optimistic anglers, the big run of yellowtail which begun a week ago, still continues, and today was better than ever. So far the sport has been contained to wharf No. 3, where a motley crowd of men and women, Japanese, Chinese and negroes, elbow each other in a good-natured contest for advantageous positions. One of the sights is this morning’s assemblage was an old grandmother who has passed her 70th birthday, holding a month-old baby on her lap, while she dropped her line in the hopes of landing one of the big fellows. The fish run in somewhat even sizes, ranging from twenty-five to thirty-five pounds each. Last Sunday over 200 were landed, and today’s catch promises to far exceed that number. Most of the catch are made with light tackle, and several small boys are fast becoming wealthy furnishing live bait for the eager anglers. —Los Angeles Times, December 9, 1910

Night Fishing Is Good At Redondo

Redondo Beach, Feb. 16.—Beach fishing has spring into sudden popularity these balmy, moonlight nights at the beach, and many different kinds of fish are biting at this place. A swarm of perch infested the harbor last night and will probably be here for several days. Besides the perch, surf fish are biting well, and many fishermen who are old hands at the game and pleasure seekers from the city can be found at various locations along the beach at night, with their lines strung out into the breakers, The reason for the sudden influx of various kinds of fish is that millions of angleworms have drifted into this harbor and are attracting swarms of fish that come here to feed. This morning, on pier No. 3, J. K. Richardson of Los Angeles caught a halibut weighing thirty pounds, one of the largest of the season.Los Angeles Times, February 17, 1916

Choice Mackerel Invade Harbor

Redondo Beach, June 1.— Green-back mackerel, many of them weighing over a pound have invaded the harbor here today, and thousands of them are swimming about in the waters. The school is the largest that has ever come here, as fishermen from wharves No. 2 and 3 and at the new municipal pier continue to catch the shining fish and there seems to be no limit to the number in the ocean. Mr. Richard Stokes caught fifty mackerel this morning from the new pier, many of them weighing over a pound. Large halibut are also biting well.Los Angeles Times, June 2, 1916

Large Jewfish Is Landed At Redondo

Redondo Beach, Nov. 15.—Jewfish are not landed every day. But this day will go down in history for Redondo Beach—that is, Jewfish history. William Sartor, in whose heart flows the desire to fish, managed to land one of the largest ever caught hereabouts. He fought for and hour and a half and used every ounce of energy that he had to make the landing. When the fish was flopping on wharf No. 3, where the event took place, it was placed on the scales and weighed 304 pounds. Five jewfish made their appearance in the bay today and took to nibbling the fish lines. Of the five, two were caught. The other fish weighed 274 pounds.Los Angeles Times, November 16, 1916

Yellowtail Follow Big Mackerel Run

Redondo Breach, Sept. 2.—With the phenomenal run in mackerel fishing, considered by some to have been the largest run in the history of the Pacific Coast, drawing to a close, yellowtail made their appearance in large numbers in local waters today. About fifteen yellowtail, ranging from twelve to thirty-five pounds each were caught from No. 3 pier today, while it is estimated that about thirty strikes got away. Very few were fishing for them. Several yellowtail were also caught from the other two piers. After struggling with what appeared to be an unusually large yellowtail for more than   one-hour an hour on No. 2 pier early this morning, Larry Zoph, a local fishermen, had, his gaffing honk lowered to hook the yellowtail which had already been brought to the surface, when a huge jewfish snapped the yellowtail off the hook. Those who saw the monster come near the surface of the water claim that it weighed about 500 pounds.Los Angeles Times, September 3, 1917

Storm Damages Pier At Redondo Beach

Redondo Beach. Feb. 1.—Pier No. 3, owned by the Pacific Electric Railway Company, now used for storing freight cars, was partly destroyed by the storm last night and today. Twenty-five pilings have been washed out, and if the storm continues there is danger of the entire pier giving away. The pier, a wooden structure, was built three years ago by the Pacific Electric and was intended for unloading lumber ships and other freighters, but during the last year only one ship has tied up there. The rest of the time it has been used to keep freight cars not in use. The deep-sea fishermen also have used the pier, landing their catches and keeping their boats there. —Los Angele Times, February 2, 1919

Redondo Beach Shows Increased Shipping

Redondo Beach, May 1.—The business of the Redondo Beach harbor during the month of April shows a considerable increase, according to a statement given out today by D. A. Brice, local agent for the Pacific Electric Company. Twenty-one vessels, unloaded 3,737,636 feet of lumber, or 190 carloads during the month… Pier No. 2, which the Pacific Electric Company has asked permission from the State Railroad Commission to wreck, was condemned more than a year ago as unfit for further use, and all lumber has been unloaded at Pier No. 3. —Los Angeles Times, May 2, 1919

Redondo Beach, Aug. 5.—Yesterday was the first day of the season that the yellowtail and barracuda began running in schools and much excitement and interest prevails along the three wharves where men, women and children are bringing in the big ones, ranging in weight from five to fifteen pounds. Mrs. Mary Goodrich has the distinction of having caught the first yellowtail this year, a big nine-pounder which she hooked with a drop line. —Santa Ana Register, August 5, 1919

Curious Lobster Causes Trouble — Fisherman Explains To His Honor How Catch Occurred

Redondo Beach, Sept. 29.—The curiosity of a lobster which led it to sample bait intended for a halibut landed the lobster, the angler, and a number of interested spectators, in Judge W. M. Browning’s court here, this morning. From the evidence it appeared that J. Hanson was peacefully fishing from pier No. 3 yesterday afternoon when he pulled in a clawed creature of monstrous size. Leaving his prize on the wharf the man, it was stated, went to find out about the game laws and see if he could enjoy a lobster salad, hand picked. But in the meantime Game Warden C. F. Maddex of Los Angeles had been notified that lobsters were being captured at Redondo Beach. The season does not open for some fifteen days yet so the official came down to investigate. The first thing he found was the biggest lobster he had ever seen, which, when weighed, balanced at twelve and a half pounds. The lobster was attached and the luckless fisherman cited to appear to answer the charge of violating the game laws. As it was not proven that the lobster was caught intentionally, nor that the man intended to keep it, the case was dismissed. Constable J.V. Henry carefully deposited the lobster back in the ocean after it was introduced as evidence in court. It was rare the worse, apparently, for its night out. —Los Angeles Times, September 30, 1919

Land Big Fish At Redondo Beach

Redondo Beach, Sept. 30—Yesterday W. H. Clark landed a jewfish weighing 240 pounds after an hour with rod and reel, and today D. S. Martin caught another weighing 275 pounds. It took forty-seven minutes to bring up the monster to gaff. Both fish put up a strong fight and only the skill of the anglers brought them to their finish. These fish were both hooked from pier No. 3.Los Angeles Times, October 1, 1920

By the early 1920s, homeowners along Esplanade began to complain about the Pacific Electric’s lumber operations at Wharf 3 (just south of Sapphire).  They felt that the trains and stacks of lumber between their homes and the ocean were very unsightly. In 1923 the City Council heeded their complaints and refused to renew the Pacific Electric franchise on the wharf.  The lumber industry at once mobilized against the Council’s action. They reminded the Council of the 200 new homes that were needed for new residents, along with other growing lumber demands.  In addition, they published in the newspapers the names and numbers of all persons employed by the local lumber industry.

Both sides had valid arguments for their positions and proposals and counter proposals were made. Citizens were finally given an election to voice their views. In the end, the Council reconsidered the matter and granted a 3-year extension, which would end in 1926.  In that year Wharf 3 was to be dismantled.

Pier Fight At Redondo Is Warmer

Redondo Beach, July 24.—In a hearing before Examiner Handiford of the State Railroad Commission, lumber companies of Hollywood, Culver City, Hermosa and Redondo Beach presented testimony to show that the action of the Redondo Board of City Trustees in refusing to renew the franchise of a lumber pier [Wharf No. 3] operated by the Pacific Electric Railway Company in Redondo would result in an increase of transportation charges and in the inflicting of severe hardship upon many outside firms. The action of the Board of Trustees in this case is said to be due to the fact that Redondo officials consider the lumber pier as “an eyesore” to the beach city, and a detrimental influence to its prosperity. A counter-proposal, in which City Attorney Perry is reported to have offered to allow a two-year franchise in return for certain improvements of right of way and the limitation of the hours of hauling freight from midnight to 7 a.m., has been refused by the railway company, it is understood… In the event no agreement can be reached, the city will be faced with the problem of scrapping the pier or of assuming its operation. —Los Angeles Times, July 25, 1923

To Vote On Industry

Redondo Beach, Dec. 2.—A municipal election will be held here December 20, to decide whether the lumber industry of this city, at the present time the second largest receiving port in California, employing nearly 300 men with an annual payroll of $346,000, will have to go elsewhere by February of next year, or may remain two years. The industry, made up of the Patten & Davis Lumber Company, Redondo Planing Mill Company and the Ganahl Lumber Company, is dependent upon the handling facilities of the Pacific Electric Railway Company, consisting of a receiving wharf and tracks. The railway company’s franchise expires in February of next year and some time ago the Board of Trustees of Redondo, failing to reach an agreement with the Pacific Electric for the extension of the franchise, ordered the pier wrecked. This decision placed the lumber concerns here as well as those in Hollywood, Sawtelle, Culver City, Torrance, Gardena and other sections shipping lumber through this port in the peculiar predicament of moving their property almost over night. A petition circulated by those in sympathy with the lumber industry, asking that the matter be placed before the people, and that a two-year extension be granted the Pacific Electric Company to provide time for the lumber companies dependent on this port to make other arrangements, was successful and the election was set. —Los Angeles Times, December 3, 1923

A short line in the newspapers in 1924 showed that the die had been cast, Redondo’s time as a port was over and the focus would now center solely on its role as a seaside resort and city. Given the decline in shipping business over the years, it seems it was a logical choice. As for the anglers, the municipal pier and the Monstad Pier would now serve as the homes for local “pier rats.” And though both piers would sometimes see good runs of fish they never were able to replicate the results seen at the wharves.

The city of Redondo Beach has ordered the closing of its wharf to business uses, planning to develop its interests along pleasure lines. —Santa Ana Register, April 4, 1924

Redondo Soon to Be Listed With Ports of the Past — One Time Main Entrance For Sea Cargoes to Southern California Abandoned

The port of Redondo will shortly be a thing of the past. Announcement comes from the south today that the place as a commercial port is to be discontinued and that its doors will be closed to all water-bound commerce. From a position of once handling the bulk of cargo transferred from seagoing freighters into the interior of Southern California, the traffic of the place has shrunk until it is now practically nothing. From receiving the visits of tramp freighters and coast-wide passenger lines, the only visitants now are occasional lumber schooners. The first step toward the abolishment of Redondo as a sea port has been taken in the work of demolishing the old Pacific Electric wharf, which handled the bulk of the traffic in the port’s days of prosperity. The Pacific Electric, which held a lease on the waterfront property has been responsible for whatever traffic has come that way in recent years. The lease now expires and with it the trade of Redondo. Unless steps are taken to renew the leases by other concerns with the accompanying erection of wharf or terminal, Redondo is effectively off the maritime map after a career of fifty years. —Oakland Tribune, March 1, 1926

Although Redondo’s Wharf No. 3 was used by the railroads as a seaport until 1926 when it was abandoned, it is still visible—underwater.  Some pilings of the now underwater pier still exist today and divers report that they harbor an amazing variety of sea critters—sea anemones, nudibranchs, octopii, sheep crabs, welks and a wide variety of fish. The sandy bottom near the pilings will also occasionally yield up hundred-year-old artifacts from the wharf to the divers. Apparently the outermost pilings sit about 800 feet from the shore in water that is nearly 40 feet deep and near the edge of the submarine canyon.







Posted in Daily musings... and tagged with , , , , , , . RSS 2.0 feed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>