[Back to the Past] Seal Beach Pier

Written by on August 26, 2011 in Featured, History, Outdoors - 1 Comment

Now a sleepy little place, Seal Beach was once more lively with its amusement park Joy Zone, rivaling Long Beach and Santa Monica.

Envisioning a “Fun City” and “the Coney Island of the Pacific,” Phillip A. Stanton, the founder of Seal Beach, built Joy Zone in 1916. One of the highlights of this amusement park was The Derby, a wooden roller coaster taken from the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, from which its riders’ screams could be heard even in Long Beach.

At the end of the pier, before Ruby’s Diner came to be there, was a building housing the “Scintillator Lights,” which also came from the Panama Pacific Exposition. At the pier’s entrance was the Jewel City Cafe on one side and a bathhouse on the other.

At its peak, Seal Beach had up to 20,000 visitors a week. However, with the Great Depression, came the end of Joy Zone. The Derby burned down in the 1920s. The amusement park was neglected, in disrepair, and eventually demolished.

While all those highlights are long gone, a remaining trace of that once lively era is the pier. Built in 1906, Seal Beach pier is the second longest wooden pier in California. Over the years, the pier has been under reconstruction a few times, notably in 1938 and 1983. Two plaques on the pier commemorate those moments of history.

Not only is the pier a popular fishing place, it is a nice place to take a relaxing walk and enjoy the view with its benches throughout. There’s just something special about walking along the long wooden pier, perhaps that quiet sense of history lingering about. Or perhaps it is because Seal Beach’s quiet atmosphere is so unlike its neighboring beach cities.

I’ve been the pier a few times, with friends and also alone, to watch the sunset and the waves. It’s a really beautiful place to take photos of the sunset or beach. Whether with friends or alone, the pier is a place to relax and just enjoy the peaceful scenery.

Below are a few photos I took during my few visits to Seal Beach:

Spend a day in Seal Beach and surround yourself in its history. Visit the Bay Theatre and the Red Car Museum, browse the shops along Main Street, stroll down the pier and enjoy the scenery. Enjoy the sleepy atmosphere and imagine how lively Seal Beach once was.

  • Sandy

    I love Seal Beach too, it still has that small hometown beachy atmosphere! Didn’t know the history though, thanks for that. It is also a great place to go Christmas shopping when you are looking for that truly unique gift for the impossible to buy for person!