Redondo Beach pier
The Redondo Beach pier is located in Redondo Beach, California and stretches out into the Pacific Ocean. The pier has been rebuilt and altered by storms and redevelopments. Its official name is "Municipal Pier," and it has also been called the "Endless Pier." Earlier versions were known as "Pleasure Pier" and "Horseshoe Pier."
The pier started out as a disjointed group of wharves near the end of the 19th century but evolved into an interconnected structure after a series of storms and demolitions throughout the 20th century. The pier area used to be heavily crowded with tourists and locals during the 1970s, but began to decline after the nearby Seaport Village project failed and went into bankruptcy in 1982.
In 1988, the pier was severely battered by two winter storms, and on May 27 it burned to the waterline due to an electrical short circuit (the fire was so large that a SigAlert was announced for the San Diego Freeway several miles away). The pier's modern reinforced concrete version was completed in 1995 and has brought back the appeal to Redondo Beach's business district ever since.
Subsequent attempts to resuscitate the area's popularity have been challenged by the need to comply with the California Coastal Act requirements as interpreted and applied by the Coastal Commission and the failure of the city to develop a plan residents are willing to support. While the Redondo Landing portion of the pier has been revitalized by its leaseholder, the remainder of the pier and south end of harbor remains in limbo. The City approved a 524,000 project with mall developer CenterCal (additionally, a new 272,000 sq ft parking structure was included in the project), but that project was stopped by a successful CEQA lawsuit, a citizens’ initiative, and an appeal to the Coastal Commission. When residents won the CEQA lawsuit, the judge directed the city to rescind the approvals of the EIR and Coastal Development Permits for the project. The judge also banned the City and CenterCal from advocating for the project in front of the Coastal Commission. As a result, both the City and CenterCal withdrew their application for the project just prior to the Coastal Commission hearing on the citizens’ appeal of the project. Residents had also placed “The King Harbor CARE Act”, subsequently named “Measure C” on the ballot as the city approvals of the project looked imminent. Measure C passed despite an expensive campaign funded by CenterCal and opposition from a majority of the City Council. Measure C was designed to prevent zoning interpretations that led to the size, massing and impacts of the CenterCal project. Measure C became law when the Coastal Commission certified it without change.
Today the pier and south end of the harbor are in limbo awaiting the action of city council and the resolution of a lawsuit filed by CenterCal. CenterCal’s lawsuit is based on purported violations of a lease agreement approved by Redondo’s City Council just 35 days before the Measure C election.
A Century of Alternate Versions
- 1889–1915, iron and wood "Wharf No. 1" built approximately where the current pier stands near Emerald Street to facilitate timber delivery from ships to trains; destroyed by a storm
- 1895–1920, Y-shaped wooden pier called "Wharf No. 2" with railroad tracks on one prong, the other for fishermen and tourists; built south of Wharf #1 near Ainsworth Court in front of the Hotel Redondo; severely damaged by a storm in 1919, subsequently open only to fishermen, but manually destroyed for safety reasons
- 1903–1926, wooden "Wharf No. 3" built south of Wharf #2 near Sapphire and Topaz Streets; actively used by lumber industry until 1923 when Pacific Electric's lease expired, which was not renewed, and the pier was manually demolished after a few years as the lumber industry phased out
- 1916–1928, reinforced concrete "Endless/Pleasure Pier" built by George W. Harding; its 450-foot (140 m) long northern leg stood in the spot previously occupied by Wharf #1, with a 160x200-foot platform at its western terminus, with another 450-foot (140 m) southern leg returning to the shore to form an overall V-shape; damaged by a 1919 storm; condemned for safety reasons in 1928
- 1925–today, wooden "Monstad Pier" built by Captain Hans C. Monstad for fishing/pleasure boat landings; originally 300 feet (91 m) long, extended to 400 feet (120 m) in 1937, and 50 feet (15 m) wide in 1938
- 1929–1988, wooden "Horseshoe Pier" built after demolition of the Endless/Pleasure Pier; destroyed by a fire
In 1983, the western end of the Monstad Pier was connected to the central platform of the Horseshoe Pier.
From 1988–1995, the southern Y-shaped remnant of the Horseshoe pier that survived the fire remained open to the public. A smaller portion of the northern end remained closed to the public for safety reasons, and was eventually removed completely when the new, concrete version was built.
The City of Redondo Beach hosted a formal "Launching" ceremony to announce the pier's reconstruction on July 29, 1993. The 1993 plans initially allowed for a carousel, wax museum, aquarium, and at least three new restaurants; however, only one new restaurant was added to the deck, and the rest has remained open to pedestrian traffic.
A formal City of Redondo Beach ceremony opened the new-restored Redondo Beach Pier, on February 11, 1995.
Pier data – circa 1990s
The following "Pier Facts" were listed in the February 11, 1995, souvenir brochures distributed at the Redondo Beach ceremony opened the new-restored Redondo Beach Pier:
- The Redondo Beach Pier is 70,000 square feet (6,500 m2) in size
- Sits 25 feet (7.6 m) above the water
- Has over 3,000 cubic yards (2,300 m3) of 6,000 P.S.I. concrete decking
- Has 202 concrete piles, the longest being 120 feet (37 m) in length
- Required 5 years to commence construction and 18 months to complete
- Required over 150,000 man-hours of labor
- Is the largest "endless" pier on the California Coast
- Is the seventh Municipal Pier to be constructed on the shores of Redondo Beach
- The Redondo Beach Pier Reconstruction Team:
The Redondo Beach Pier was also used as a filming location in Big Momma's House 2.
The Redondo Beach Pier was also used as a filming location in the remake of the show 90210 with Trevor Donovan.
- "Redondo Beach: A Centennial Tribute, 1892-1992" edited by John F. Elliot, 1993
- "Redondo Pier Rebuild Finally Under Way" by Daniel Blackburn, Easy Reader, 29 July 1993 p. 14
- "Pier Pressure" by Thomas Curwen, Los Angeles Reader, 3 September 1993, pp. 8–11
- "Redondo Pier Transformation" by Rick Becker, Redondo Beach Historical Society Newsletter vol. VI #1, pp. 1, 3-4