Many a time have I been lucky to have been on this famous pier. I would always go there with my mom because my Dad would go to nursing school in the area. Inspired by Ryan’s post on the Huntington Beach Pier, I decided to revisit some of my childhood, by going there with some of my friends on Saturday February 20th around 11 am. As I walked down the pier, I was literally “walking down memory lane.” From the smell of the salty sea breeze, to the sounds of the waves hitting the pier mixed with the crowds of people, once we got on the pier, I was brought back to my childhood. However, instead of my childhood, I’d like to talk about the more significant “childhood” of this pier that made my childhood better.
According to Wikipedia, this pier is over 100 years old. Furthermore, the pier actually consists of two piers joined together. Historically, these two piers had separate owners and functions. The shorter, more famous one, also known as the Pleasure or Newcomb Pier, is famous for it’s amusement park now known as Pacific Park. As a child, my favorite was the Ferris Wheel, so we were sure to go on that to see the magnificent view of the ocean and surrounding city of Santa Monica from the top. The other, lesser known pier was called the Municipal Pier, and although it was longer, its sole purpose was to carry the sewage pipes. As you can guess, the Pleasure Pier got a lot of business as the owners added more attractions, like the Hippodrome carousel; this occurred especially during the Roaring 20’s, but on the other hand, the Great Depression caused many attractions to be sold. Like the Huntington Beach Pier, the pier that you can see today isn’t completely the same pier that was made a century ago, as the pier has undergone multiple phases of destruction from storms, followed by restoration periods to repair it. Obviously it was significant enough to repair, but why?
Although it did help a little with sewage, as well as provide entertainment, I feel like the Santa Monica Pier is an imagined space. It was most likely built strategically in the beach area to attract all kinds of people to make business. The pier was even used in popular culture in media like films and TV. This is all because of the constant beach weather, and the beauty of the surrounding ocean and palm trees. In a sense, the pier brought all of that together into one invented space, which is probably why it is one of the central locations within Santa Monica, as well as one of Los Angeles’ major landmarks. Or maybe it’s just how pretty the pier looks at night with it’s lights ;).