Cayucos Pier restoration is coming along

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Reconstruction slated to finish August or September

Cayucos is a little beach town with a big pier that has a history that reaches all the way back to the Chumash and the Aleuts.

Native Americans lived in the area for tens of thousands of years. Major development began with Spanish. In 1867 Captain James Cass settled there. Cass was going to become a farmer but he realized that the spot could become a prosperous shipping port. He and Captain Ingalls built a deep-water wharf, store, and warehouse known as Cass Landing, where they shipped cheese, beef, fruit and produce to San Francisco and Los Angeles.

In 1875 C. H. Phillips, a real estate developer subdivided portions of the area into town lots. In that same year the wharf was turned into a pier and still used for commercial purposes. An abalone canning plant was built half way out the pier in 1915, but eventually the advent of the Southern Pacific Railroad and trucking ended the working life of the pier. In 1920 it became state property. The pier is the oldest one in the county.

The years took their toll on the pier pilings due to winter storms and worms invading the wood. By July 2013, fourteen of the critical pilings were found to be missing while others were seriously damaged. For public safety the pier was closed on July 5, 2013.

Residents and visitors came forth to save the pier and formed the Cayucos Pier Project along with the County of San Luis Obispo. “The project raised $650,000,” commented Greg Bettencourt, contact for the project, “and that is way more than the $100,000 we pledged to San Luis Obispo County.”

Volunteers sold t-shirts raising $80,000. The project placed $300,000 into a community foundation to cover costs for ongoing inspections and maintenance. They also sold over 300 plaques at $1000 to $5000 each to be installed on the pier with the donor names.

Work rebuilding the pier began in October 2014. Associated Pacific Constructors estimates a completion date of August or September.

The pier will retain some of the old pilings located on the land portion. The new pilings start from the edge of the sand and extend out into the ocean.

The historical Cayucos pier will be safe for many years once again allowing people near and far to enjoy fishing from its height or to walk out and view the magnificent coastline.

– Ruth Ann Angus

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