SANTA MONICA PIER
The Santa Monica pier is located at the end of Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica California. The pier is a popular landmark that is over 100 years old. The pier contains Pacific Park, a family amusement park with a state-of-the-art solar panel Ferris wheel.
It also has an original carousel hippodrome from the 1920s. The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, shops, entertainers, a video arcade, a trapeze school, pubs, and restaurants all make the pier a destination attraction. The west end of the pier is a popular location for fishermen and during the summer months the pier is a venue to weekly outdoor concerts, movies and many other family-friendly activities, all free to the public.
Santa Monica has been several piers over the years, the current one was actually attached to adjoining piers, the first called the Municipal Pier which carried sewer pipes and the Pleasure pier built in 1916. The attractions on the Pleasure Pier included the Santa Monica Looff Hippodrome and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There was also the Blue Streak Racer wooden roller coaster purchased from the defunct Wonderland amusement park in San Diego.
The carousel was built in 1922 and features 44 hand carved horses. Rebuilt in 1990 inside the hippodrome it now includes musical accompaniment.
During that time of this Pleasure Pier, the La Monica Ballroom opened in 1924. It was the largest dance hall on the West Coast with 5000 dancers on its 15,000 ft.² hard wood maple floor. Country music performers broadcasted here along with car shows including Jack Benny's Maxwell and Rumpler Drop Car. It also served as a rollerskating rink but ultimately was demolished in 1963.
The Pleasure Pier thrived in the 20s but faded during the Great Depression. In the 1930s, the pier was used as a ferry landing. The city in 1974 purchased a privately owned Newcomb Pier and many strange proposals and plans were suggested but citizens formed "Save Santa Monica Bay" to preserve the pier. That same year the carousel and Hippodrome were the memorable sets featured in the film The Sting.
In the 1950s the Gordon family purchased the Piers arcade. It has long been in the family. In 1983 the Santa Monica Pier was struck by swells of 10 feet during a winter storm. During the repair another storm rolled in and the crane that was being used to repair the pier was dragged into the water and acted as a battering ram against its own pilings. Over one third of the pier was completely destroyed. The City of Santa Monica created the Santa Monica Peer Restoration Corporation, a nonprofit organization which now runs and manages events such as the Twilight Summer Concert Series and the Santa Monica Pier Paddle Board Race.
The Santa Monica Pier is so popular that it is been used in innumerable films television shows etc.