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Huntington Beach: Downtown Walking Tour
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One of Huntington Beach's most prominent landmarks, the pier has been the center of the City's beach culture for more than a century. The pier is home to the annual Vans U.S. Open of Surfing, July 4th celebrations, and the New Year's Day polar bear plunge. The Huntington Beach pier is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is located at the end of Main Street and west of Pacific Coast Highway, and is one of the longest public piers on the West Coast.

Huntington Beach Pier. (2014, M. Urashima)

Huntington Beach Pier. (2014, M. Urashima)

The original wooden pier was built of rough pine in 1902, before the incorporation of Huntington Beach in 1909. By 1904, the wooden pier extended 1,000 feet, or 300 meters, into the Pacific Ocean. In 1910, it was severely damaged by an ocean storm. 

The newly constructed pier was re-dedicated in 1914, after the Huntington Beach Township organized a $75,000 bond measure. The 1914 pier set a record at that time as the longest and highest concrete pleasure pier in the United States, extending 1,350 feet, or 40 meters, in length.

Legendary Hawaiian-Irish surfer George Freeth provided the first known surfing demonstration at the Huntington Beach pier at the 1914 re-dedication. In the 1920s, Olympian and famed Hawaiian surfer Duke Kahanamoku was known to surf the pier, inspiring local residents to make their own surfboards from wooden telephone poles.

The present-day pier was dedicated in 1992, after Pacific storms again washed away portions of the pier in 1983 and 1988. The present day pier is 1856 feet in length, with a design that replicates the architectural form of the 1914 design. The pier was designed by Moffatt and Nichol Engineers and incorporates reinforced steel. It is built to withstand 31-foot waves and a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. The present day pier also was designed with increased space between the pylons to accommodate surfers, a specific request by the City of Huntington Beach, known as Surf City USA.

Among other sports competitions, the annual U.S. Open of Surfing is held on the south side of the pier every summer. It is the largest surfing competition in the world and typically lasts one week. As part of the event, notable people in the world of surfing are also inducted into the Surfing Walk of Fame and the Surfers' Hall of Fame, both located directly across from the pier on Main Street.

The City of Huntington Beach operates a 24-hour live pier webcam and provides current beach conditions for surfers and beach goers on the City website.

Mayer, Linda. "A Historical and Geographic Survey of the Huntington Beach Municipal Pier and Surrounding Beach." . Published January 30, 1975. City of Huntington Beach Public Library.

"This City has one of the finest concrete piers in the world." Huntington Beach News(Huntington Beach)June 12, 1914. , Volume Ten ed.

Jepsen, Chris. The End. O.C. History Roundup. May 21, 2011. Accessed March 15, 2018. History of the end of pier cafes.

National Register of Historic Places in Orange County, California. Wikipedia. . Accessed March 15, 2018.,_Califo....

Miller, Jeffrey. "Landmark pier to come alive again." The Orange County Register(Santa Ana)July 12, 1992. .

Rebirth of a Landmark: the Huntington Beach Pier. City of Huntington Beach Public Library. . Accessed March 15, 2018. Historical narrative.

Sales, Morgan. "County's longest pier: Huntington Beach claims honors." Huntington Beach Independent(Huntington Beach)October 08, 1992. .

Historical Files: Pier and Surfing. City of Huntington Beach Public Library. . .