One of my favorite beaches to go is Huntington Beach and every time I go there I see the pier extending out into the Pacific Ocean, highlighting the tourist destination. I always looked at it wondering how it was built and how it has stood for so long. Turns out, the one we all know now hasn’t been standing there all that long. The pier has been built, destroyed, and rebuilt on numerous occasions.
The original Huntington Beach pier was built in 1904 from wood and timber and extended 1000 feet into the ocean. However, that pier only lasted until 1912 when a storm hit destroying most of it. However, the voters of the city agreed to rebuild the pier. The city constructed a new pier made of solid concrete (making it the only full concrete pleasure pier in California) and extended it 1350 feet. This pier lasted until 1930 when the city decided to extend the pier an additional 500 feet and added a café at the end. However, once again in 1939 a storm destroyed the end of the pier taking the café with it. Yet again the city decided the pier was essential and reconstructed it, reopening it in 1940 until 1941 when the Navy took over the pier to use it as a submarine watch station during World War II. This pier stood for almost 40 years until another storm hit destroying the end of the pier in 1983. The pier was damaged so severely that the café and the end of it had to be demolished and reconstructed. The pier was reopened in 1985 featuring a new two story café (Ruby’s surf diner, which replaced the End of the Pier Café) which was once again claimed by the sea in 1988. In 1990, the new pier construction was given to Reidel International who rebuilt the pier under the model of the 1914 rendition. However, they made sure to add arches and other engineering to withstand wave impact and earthquakes to ensure the pier would stand the test time. The pier was reopened in 1991 stretching 1,856 feet into the ocean and had stood since.
After researching this, I’m pretty amazed the city continually decided to rebuild the pier. It had been destroyed so many times yet it was deemed important enough to build time and time again. This is testament to how important of a landmark the Huntington beach pier is to Huntington Beach. In addition, the fact that Ruby’s would risk building a diner at such a location is an additional statement to the importance the pier holds. It is the most recognizable feature of the beach and without it, it just wouldn’t be the same. If I went to the beach and saw that the pier wasn’t there I feel like I’d be missing something, especially since walking that far into the ocean on nothing but wood and concrete is a very humbling experience, knowing the ocean could reclaim it at any time.