It’s always interesting to re-visit places you’ve been to when you were younger. Sometimes the things you thought were so grand and “WOW” worthy are now mundane… But sometimes things are just as you remembered it to be: wonderful.
I visited Santa Monica over 10 years ago on a family trip and I can remember riding the ferris wheel and the roller coaster, walking down the pier, and eating Dippin’ Dots by the water. I don’t know if I thought it at the time, but for years I was saying that I wanted to go back so when the opportunity to visit California again came up, Santa Monica was one of the first things I wrote on the itinerary.
A history as long as its pier
The Santa Monica Pier has quite an extensive history. It was first constructed out of conrete and was used as a sewage and waste disposal centre in the early 1900s (yuck, though it only lasted until 1920). Later it became a popular spot for fishing and for a man named Charles Loof, a place to build a theme park to put neighbouring piers to shame. In 1919, a huge crowd that congregated to see Navy warships caused the pier to collapse which started a two year renovation which replaced the concrete with treated wood.
New developments including an amusement park and ballroom (which would be re-purposed multiple times over the years) were erected over the years, but everything quieted down during the great depression. This is actually where the character Popeye came about! Olaf C. Olsen, a.k.a Popeye the Sailor Man helped keep commercial fishing away from Santa Monica and even gave some of his catches to families in need. During World War II, however, commercial fishing made its way to the pier because all other ports were in use by the military.
Entertainment became the main focus of the pier after WWIIended, and many artists and activists flocked to the area. In 1996, Pacific Park opened and thus birthed the pier as we know it today!
I don’t know about you, but I LOVE learning the history of a place – it gives it so much more character and life!
What a wonderful world
Take a stroll down the pier while soaking up the atmosphere and sun was something I really enjoyed. There’s something about listening to the performers, hearing laughter and chatter, and seeing people of so many walks of life really makes you believe that the world is wonderful… because it is! Oh, and make sure you take some time to visit the gift shop at the end of the pier! I could spend hours looking through every nook and cranny!
With all the bad that’s been going on, its nice to be able to immerse yourself in an environment like Santa Monica.
Thanks for taking a trip to Santa Monica with me!