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Exhibits Honor Manhattan Beach Pier's Centennial

Jul 19, 2020 10:06AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
The iconic Manhattan Beach Pier is 100 years old this month, and two local exhibits honor the pier's history and beauty. 

The city of Manhattan Beach has released a photo gallery of community artwork honoring the pier as part of its "Pierspective" exhibit.

"Pierspective" submissions include 200 works of art from local artists of all ages, in media ranging from watercolors, to photography, to embroidery.

Unique pieces from the exhibit include a painting on a surfboard; a recreation of the old Manhattan Beach Pier using railroad spikes; an image of the pier painted on an eggshell; and a canvas that has been dipped in the Pacific Ocean.

A live virtual exhibition of the submissions will be coming soon.

Meanwhile, the Manhattan Beach Historical Society has released a virtual art gallery of historical pictures and documents relating to the pier.

The Manhattan Beach Pier was officially opened (in its current form) on July 5, 1920.

Some great tidbits about the development of the pier, courtesy of the Manhattan Beach Historical Society:

  • Not everyone wanted a pier. Some felt that it was an unnecessary luxury, and that civic improvements should be made first. Others felt that it should be in the "center" of town, at Marine Ave. A bond election for $75,000 failed in November 1914.
  • In 1916, the town passed a bond for $70,000 to build a new pier at Center Street (now Manhattan Beach Blvd.), and $20,000 for a pavilion at Marine Ave.
  • Construction was hampered by cost issues, lawsuits and injunctions, and storm damage. One contractor abandoned the job; another was replaced.
  • When the pier was finally completed, it was 928 feet long and 25 feet wide.
  • The Chamber of Commerce organized a massive party for the July 5, 1920 grand opening of the pier. It included speakers, a concert, dancing, and fireworks. So many people came to the opening party that there weren't enough room to house them all and many people slept on the beach. 

For more fun facts, take a deep dive into the Manhattan Beach Historical Society's exhibit.

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