The following is one of a series of articles on South Bay History that I have had published in the South Bay Digs magazine:
MANHATTAN / HERMOSA PIERS
Among the first structures built in Manhattan Beach were two wooden piers built in 1901, one at Center Street (later renamed Manhattan Beach Boulevard) and one at Marine Avenue called Peck's Pier and Pavilion.
Original “old iron pier” - First Manhattan Beach Pier
The Center street pier was believed to have been 900-feet long. Pylons were made by fastening three railroad rails together and driving them into the ocean floor. A narrow wooden deck was supported by these pilings. A wave machine was installed at the foot of the pier in order to generate electricity for the lighting system on the Strand but the plan did not work. The "old iron pier" as it was called, was destroyed by a major storm in 1913.
Lack of money, lawsuits, storms, and debates about when and where to build another pier delayed Manhattan Beach from having a pier completed until 1920. This time, it was a cement pier with a rounded end and it was 928-feet long. Engineer A.L. Harris developed the concept of the circular end for less exposure and damage to the pilings by the waves. The roundhouse at the end was not completed until 1922. In 1928 the pier was extended out 200 feet (at no cost to the city) when a Captain Larsen of Redondo Beach offered to pay for an extension in exchange for the rights to run a shore boat between the pier and his barge Georgina,. On January 9, 1940, 90 feet of the extension were ripped away during a winter storm. The extension was never repaired and the remaining section was swept away in February 1941. In 1946 the pier and adjoining beach were deeded over from the city of Manhattan Beach to the state
Storms and time were not kind to the pier and repairs were made but the appearance changed. In 1991, a decision to restore it back to its 1920s appearance was made. The Roundhouse was completely rebuilt and is now occupied by the Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab .& Aquarium. In 1995, the pier was declared a state historic landmark. It is the oldest standing cement pier on the West Coast
In 1904, the first Hermosa Beach pier was built. It was constructed entirely of wood, even to the pilings. It extended five hundred feet out into the ocean, but in 1913 was destroyed in a storm. In 1914, Hermosa completed its second pier, a 1,000-foot concrete structure complete with small tiled pavilions along the sides to afford shade for fisherman and picnic parties. Eventually, a bait stand was built out on the end.
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