The Malibu Pier, a landmark with a rich and fascinating history, has been a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike since its inception. From its humble beginnings as a shipping point for agricultural products to its current status as a hub of entertainment and leisure, the pier has undergone numerous transformations over the years. Join us as we take an uplifting and engaging journey through the storied past of the Malibu Pier.
The Birth of Malibu Pier (1905)
The Malibu Pier was initially constructed in 1905, serving as a crucial support system for Frederick Hastings Rindge's Malibu Rancho. The pier played a pivotal role in the transportation of agricultural products, such as hides, grains, and fruits, either directly or via transfer to larger vessels. Additionally, the pier facilitated the delivery of essential building materials and other necessities for the ranch. The Rindge private railroad, a crucial component of the ranch's freight movement, had its terminus near the pier.
The Iconic Adamson House and Malibu Potteries Connection (1932)
Adjacent to the Malibu Pier lies the historic Adamson House, which features a wall built along the highway to the pier in 1932. The entrance tower and storage room at the pier's entrance are adorned with exquisite Malibu Potteries tiles, sourced from the factory situated just east of the pier. The tower and part of the wall remain standing today, symbolizing the pier's early history.
Opening to the Public and Expansion (1934-1938)
In 1934, the Malibu Pier opened its doors to the public, offering pier and charter fishing opportunities. Fishermen were also transported between the pier and the offshore barge Minnie A. Caine. Following Marblehead Land Co.'s bankruptcy in 1936, the pier was taken over by bondholders who had financed Malibu's development. The pier was then extended to its current length of 780 feet, and the first small bait and tackle shop were constructed at the ocean end by 1938.
World War II and the Coast Guard (1943-1944)
During World War II, the pier's end served as a U.S. Coast Guard daylight lookout station. However, a severe storm in the winter of 1943-1944 caused significant damage, necessitating the reconstruction of the pier's end, including the bait and tackle shop. William Huber's Malibu Pier Company purchased the pier's remains for $50,000, with the condition that a new building would be constructed for the Coast Guard to occupy. Following the war, Huber expanded the pier and built the iconic twin buildings at the end, housing a bait and tackle shop and a restaurant.
The Artificial Reef and Sports Fishing (1960s)
In 1960, an artificial reef was built approximately one mile southeast of the pier to protect it from ocean damage. The reef comprised concrete pilings, derelict streetcars, and other heavy materials. Sports fishing boats operated from the pier until the early 1960s, and the building near the pier's land end (intended for the Coast Guard) was converted into the Malibu Sports Club Restaurant in 1966, followed by Malibu Pier Club and then Alice's Restaurant in 1972.
Changing Hands and Restoration (1980s-1990s)
In 1980, the Malibu Pier was put up for auction for the first time by Bill Huber, receiving bids of $3 million and $3.1 million. However, Huber chose not to sell at that time. Later that year, the State of California purchased the pier, which was then operated under the State Department of Parks and Recreation. In 1985, the pier was recommended for registration as a Point of Historical Interest by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. The pier faced significant damage from El Niño storms in 1993 and 1995, leading to its closure for safety reasons. While the pier was transferred to the City of Malibu in 1997, the city lacked the funds for restoration, resulting in the pier reverting to the State.
The Malibu Pier's rich history serves as a testament to its resilience and adaptability, overcoming numerous challenges and setbacks throughout the years. Today, the pier stands proudly as a cherished historical landmark, offering visitors a unique blend of entertainment, leisure, and a glimpse into the past. As you stroll along the Malibu Pier, take a moment to appreciate the incredible journey it has undergone, and the memories it continues to create for generations to come.