SANTA BARBARA — Members of the public are invited to celebrate the 148th anniversary of Stearns Wharf during the month of October.
Residents are encouraged to support the merchants on the pier in celebration of the anniversary. Built in 1872 by John Peck Stearns, Stearns Wharf is the oldest working wood wharf in California. It was built to facilitate the transfer of cargo and people from ships to shore, according to Neil Bruskin, spokesman for The Stearns Wharf Merchants Association.
“Up until the 1870s, Santa Barbara was virtually cut off from the outside world by its natural barriers of the ocean and the mountains. In 1867, John Peck Stearns moved to Santa Barbara and opened a lumberyard at the foot of State Street,” Mr. Bruskin said in a news release. “Mr. Stearns noted that the town needed a long wharf so that Ocean ships could tie up at low tide. In 1872, with the financial backing of Colonel William Welles Hollister, Stearns completed the Wharf and Santa Barbara’s isolation from the outside world was over.”
Over the years, the wharf has survived severe storms, tornados, as well as fires, Mr. Bruskin noted.
It is 2,300 feet long and has an area of 3.8 acres supported by 2,307 pilings. There are currently 17 businesses on the Wharf including three restaurants, a shellfish market, a bait and tackle shop, tourist oriented shops, a Channels Islands exhibit hall and a marine museum.
Patrons are welcome to “share in the magic of Stearns Wharf” and celebrate its rich history throughout next month.
For more information, visit www.stearnswharf.org.
— Mitchell White