The Oceanside Pier

The Oceanside Pier has quite a history dating back to the late 1880″s. Early Oceanside grew at a phenomenal rate and on the date of the city’s incorporation July 3, 1888 the population of Oceanside was approximately 1,000. By 1889, the Bank of Oceanside was built on the corner of Mission Avenue and South Coast Highway and also a grand hotel, the South Pacific, located on Pier View Way and Pacific Streets near the present pier.

A wharf company was formed and soundings were made at the location of what is now known as Wisconsin Street. The wharf was made entirely of wooden pilings, the first pile being driven May 12, 1888.

In the winter of 1890-91, the wharf was destroyed by a storm and Melchoir Pieper, the proprietor of the South Pacific Hotel, salvaged most of the lumber. He took the pilings to his hotel where he kept it until the city appropriated funds for a new pier in 1893. This second pier was the first of five built at the Pier View Way location, including the one recently completed in 1987.  Citizens proposed extending it yet again in 1900, but it was damaged severely in 1902 by heavy storms.

Voters approved a $100,000 bond issue in 1926 to build a fourth pier.  The concrete portion was U-shaped and extended 1,900 feet into the ocean.  When it was dedicated on July 4, 1927 Oceanside threw a three day celebration the likes have not been seen since.  Over 20,000 people from all over Southern California came to join in the festivities and to help Oceanside celebrate.Oceanside’s third pier was built in 1903.  Supported by steel railway rails purchased from the Southern California Railway Co. at $25 a ton, it was nearly 1300 feet long and twelve feet wide.  In 1908 the Oceanside Electric Co. offered to light the pier free for one year if the city would agree to pay for the necessary wiring.  Eventually this structure would again succumb to the merciless waves.

Storms have always taken their toll on our piers, and one of the worst storms in Oceanside’s history destroyed 385 feet of the pier in 1942.  A second bond issue of $175,000 was passed in 1946 for construction of the fifth pier.  At the time of its construction it was the longest pier on the west coast.

Oceanside’s sixth and present pier was dedicated and formally opened to the public September 29, 1987.  At a cost of $5 million dollars the pier is 1900 feet long and once again the source of Oceanside’s Pride.


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