Redondo Beach Pier (Images of America Series)
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Piers have always drawn people to the mysterious wonder of the ocean. The ability to seemingly walk on water with the construction of a pier has created for humans a sense of temporary mastery of the majestic and merciless sea. The Southern California shoreline has always attracted tourists from near and far to experience the natural beauty of the coastline. Capitalizing on the natural and man-made appeal of the ocean and the pleasure pier, Henry Huntington created in Redondo Beach a fantasyland of wonder and excitement for beachgoers in the early 20th century. As one of the major rivals to the pleasure piers of Santa Monica, Ocean Park, and Venice to the north, the Endless Pier and later the adjacent Monstad Pier in Redondo Beach drew in thousands of tourists a day. Pleasure-seekers can still fish, enjoy dinner and music, shop, or simply take a nighttime stroll over the water on today's Municipal Pier--remnants from the heyday of Redondo Beach's pleasure pier of the early 20th century.
This is Redondo Beach’s horseshoe-shaped pier and Monstad Pier in about 1930. At the north entrance of Monstad Pier is the Redondo Beach Pavilion, and at the south entrance is the Redondo Beach Bath House, also called “the Plunge.” In the distance can be seen the small city of Redondo Beach as well as the oil fields and rural land that lay inland in the 1930s. (Courtesy of the Redondo Beach Historical Museum.) ON THE COVER: This photograph of the Endless Pier in Redondo Beach was taken around
Redondo Railway, which was established by the Redondo Improvement Company. The Redondo Railway focused on tourist and passenger transport, while the Santa Fe Railway concentrated on commercial shipping needs. The Santa Fe Railway started serving Redondo Beach in 1889 with its terminus at Wharf No. 1, located at the end of Emerald Street. The Santa Fe ran two trains from Redondo to Los Angeles daily. Pictured here is a view of Wharf No. 1 from Hotel Redondo in the late 1890s. It was built
Pacific Electric Red Cars operation around this time, but it did not reach Redondo for a few more years. Passengers unload onto Wharf No. 3 at the end of Sapphire Street. In the background is the new town of Redondo Beach with only a few houses constructed on the bluffs overlooking the ocean. During this time in Southern California, beaches were a nice getaway for people who lived inland, but few actually resided permanently along the coast. By the early 1900s, more people set up permanent
erosion. However, a breakwater was not feasible to construct at Redondo because the wharves extended toward the underwater canyon. The idea of a floating breakwater was entertained but never constructed because no engineers had ever tried to build one yet. The first breakwater in Redondo was created in 1938–1939. It was necessary but was not constructed well enough for the future storms that continued to ravage and destroy the shoreline of Redondo Beach. In the mid-1950s, the breakwater was
reflected the Victorian mind set of the early 1900s. As such, the early pleasure piers were still places of learning and natural enchantment. An example of early Victorian architecture is the Hotel Redondo. Constructed in 1890, it stood as a beacon of elegance, beauty, and class. It was not cheap to sleep there. Eventually, the hotel fell out of style, and it was demolished in 1925. Its wood was salvaged for other projects. Part of the staircase in this picture remains today. The buildings