Pier Cities the Story of the Great Los Angeles Piers

In the Venice and Santa Monica area in Los Angles there have been numerous piers that have been built but only the Santa Monica Pier survived. Why is that? Well a variety of reasons. The piers served a variety purposes such as gambling, fishing, theatres, dancing, and amusement parks etc. Here are some notable ones.

The piers back then were much like the Santa Monica pier today, they were a place for people from all over the world to escape from the hardships of life whether you come for the thrills or just to stay there and hang out. The Santa Pier is not just a symbol of Santa Monica but is a symbol of the world. Piers are also a symbol of how easily nature can destroy man made creation and how easily it can be rebuilt. Many of these piers were built and burned down in with in weeks.

Venice Pleasure Pier

Built by the founder Kinney himself for City of Venice Beach, California like many of the other things he built for the city it is gone now. The pier was built lure visitors to Venice it included things such as arial stunts, a giant dipper wooden roller coaster, and all of your typical early 20th century amusement park rides. The pier only lasted from 1906-1946. In 1925 Los Angeles had annexed the city Venice (with much Resistance from the citizens of Venice) and went about destroying the beach town atmosphere of Venice by filling in Canals and destroying piers, piers such as the Venice pleasure pier. The city of Los Angeles waited for the lease on the Venice pleasure pier to expire and in 1946 refused to renew the lease.

unfortunately this user doesn’t allow embedding of pictures so here is a link to a picture


An Old postcard of the place

Ocean Park Pier

This was formally located on a border area between Venice and Santa Monica in an Area known as Ocean park. In fact the former ocean park pier isn’t too far of a distance from the Santa Monica Pier. here is the location of it on wiki maps


Originally was  Lick pier it was bought by the Venice investment company and West Coast Theaters. The land was redeveloped for 3 million dollars it included attractions mostly from the original lick pier but also had an area that replicated Egypt. In 1956 the pier was redesigned by Hollywood designers to compete with Disneyland. The cost of redesigning was initially 10 million dollars, more than 3 times the cost of original redevelopment. The pier reopened in 1958 as Pacific Ocean Park while initially the park was successful, it wouldn’t last for long. Pacific Ocean park was unique in the fact that you could pay one price to go on the rides versus disneyland where you had to buy tickets for rides. POP stood for both pay one price and Pacific Ocean park, very clever acronym indeed. Clever acronyms wouldn’t save the park from condo redevelopment which made it nearly impossible to access for many people. In 1967 the park owed simply too much money to continue operating, the city took control and assets of the park including rides were sold off. The structure of the ocean park pier suffered from various fires and the Final nail in the coffin was the demolition of the Ocean Park pier in 1974-1975. Before demolition the park ruins were a hangout spot for the Z-boys of dogtown.

here are some photos

The Ruins of Pacific Ocean Park

The skyride a attraction that would be wonderful to have today

Map of Pacific Ocean Park

The only surviving pleasure pier from that era in the Los Angeles area and in fact the only pleasure pier on the pacific coast. Originally the Santa Monica Pier was built in 1909 as a way to satisfy the need for a sewer. The structure however gained the interest of Charles Looff who added the Looff Carousel hippodrome and The blue streak racer. The racer was later replaced with the whirlwind dipper when Looff died and his family took over. The La Monica  ballroom was added in 1924 and for a long time the La Monica Ballroom was America’s largest ballroom. Demand for a break water was satisfied and in 1933 it was added to the pier. In 1943 Newcomb gained control of the pier and in 1950 his sons gained control the pier arcade. The arcade was renamed playland. In 1967 the looff Carousel was replaced by one from philadelphia toboggan company. In 1973 the pier was set to demolished by the City of Santa Monica however several citizens reacted and successfully petitioned to have the Santa Monica Pier saved. Under the original plan the pier was set to be redeveloped into a artificial island hotel. In 1983 a storm destroyed 1/3 of the pier and the city in response made the PRC organization in order to manage the pier. In 1996 pacific park (similarly named and themed to Pacific Ocean Park) opened and brought a new modern amusement park the the pier. Unfortunately the LA Monica ballroom Whirlwind dipper didn’t survive however the looff Hippodrome still stands today as a symbol of a time that once was. The looff Hippodrome is in fact a historic landmark.

Pictures of it

The original pier

a view of the original pier to give some perspective

The beautiful Carousel Horses

The Santa Monica Pier at Night

Pacific Park

Playland Arcade

You come for the place and stay for the attractions.