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The Santa Monica Pier at 111 Years

Published on September 1, 2020

The Santa Monica Pier first opened on September 9, 1909. The Pier has served as an access point to the sea, a world-class fishing spot, and an entertainment destination for 111 years.

To celebrate the Pier’s birthday this year, you can reflect on the history of the Santa Monica Pier as a great come-back story. Since opening in 1909, the Pier has been threatened with fire, political will, and thunderous winter storms; the Pier has been temporarily closed and nearly demolished more times than you can count on one hand. This year is no exception: the Pier was closed to the public for over 3 months to discourage Santa Monicans and Angelenos alike from gathering in large groups during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

While the offices were closed and the boardwalk vacant, Pier historian James Harris happened across the video below produced in 1992 by the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation (PRC). The video was produced about a decade after historical winter storms pulverized the west end of the Pier. The PRC gathered historical photos and video of the Pier and hired 7-time Emmy Award winner Ed Asner, who’s voice you might recognize as Carl Fredricksen from the animated film Up, to narrate this brief film to highlight the Pier’s storied past and set the stage for major renovations and improvements underway, including the construction of Pacific Park.

Enjoy this 9-minute look into the past and join us in celebrating the Pier’s 111th birthday!