Image of The Week
First Pier At Bay City – May 13, 1906
We’ll be viewing various images of Seal Beach piers over the next few months, but this week we’re looking at what is probably the first image of the original pier built in 1906. Unfortunately, the image only exists as a poor low resolution reproduction in a Bay City advertisement in the March 13, 1906 Los Angeles Herald.
The tiny caption for the photo reads, “THIS IS AN ARTIST’S ADVANCE SKETCH OF THE NEW PIER NOW BEING BUILT AT BAY CITY. THE PIER WILL BE 1500 FEET LONG WITH SAFE, AMPLE FACILITIES FOR LOADING PASSENGERS.” Oddly, there doesn’t seem to be any of the idealization or design for reproduction you normally see in advance artwork advertising new construction. The pier also seems extremely short for sketch promoting its 1500 foot long length. Frankly, this looks like a photograph to me. What do you think?
P.A. Stanton is Philip Stanton, one of the founding fathers of Seal Beach, and we’ll be also be seeing much more of him in the next few months.
The early newspaper stories and ads about Bay City are perfect examples of Southern California boosterism in the first decade of the 1900s as shown in the following examples from the Los Angeles Herald charting the progress of Bay City pier construction in early 1906.
PLEASURE PIER AT BAY CITY
Contract Let for Extensive Improvement at Attractive Coast Resort
Another new pleasure pier is about to be added to those providing enjoyment for Southern California and coast resort visitors. Contracts have already been let to Mr. Mercereau for building a 1500-foot pier at Bay City. This will be the longest pleasure pier in Southern California, the one at Long Beach alone excepted, and Mr. P. A. Stanton, the agent for Bay City, says it will be completed by June 1. (trading and sidewalking of all streets In Bay City not so improved is now in progress. The proposed new hotel of sixteen rooms and a large dining room together with several store rooms on the ground floor, will be constructed at the corner of Main and Central avenue. Plans have already been drawn for this building.
Several handsome new houses are also under construction or planned for early building. Early Inquiries of home, seekers or investors for Bay City lots presage an early and active season for the Southern California beach resorts. – Los Angeles Herald, 4 March 1906
About $28,000 will be expended in building the 1500-foot pleasure pier, the new hotel and store building and for other improvements at Bay City. – Los Angeles Herald, 5 May 1906
PLEASURE PIER AT BAY CITY
Passenger and Freight Depot to Be Erected by the Pacific Electric Company
The first carload of lumber for the 1500-foot pier at Bay City Is on the ground, and the contractor promises to complete the structure within thirty days. The new two-story hotel and store building at the corner of Main street and Central avenue Is well under way, and the passenger and freight depot to be constructed by the Pacific Electric company Is planned for the coming Summer. When contracts now being carried out are completed, over $28,000 will have been expended for street cement work alone In Bay City. – Los Angeles Herald, 6 May 1906
BAY CITY IS BOOMING
Long Stretch of 1500-Foot Pier Is Built— Bath House Open for Business
Rapid progress is being made on the new 1500-foot pleasure pier at Bay City. It already extends eight hundred feet into the ocean, so that the aspect of the water front is materially changed. The pier will be completed within thirty days. The new hotel and store building is about half done and the bathhouse at Anaheim landing is open for business. Although it is still early, P. A. Stanton reports a lively inquiry for lots at Bay City, and predicts a lively season. – Los Angeles Herald, 20 May 1906
The reduction in the round trip rate to Bay City has stimulated public interest in that enterprising beach resort and the improvements now being made foreshadow a busy season. The new 1500-foot pier will be completed in a few days; the hotel is nearly ready for the plasterers and the street improvements well under way. No definite date has been set for beginning work on the new Pacific Electric station, but it in hoped that it will be built during the coming season. – Los Angeles Herald, 27 May 1906
Sales Active at Bay City
A residence building boom is adding to the gayeties of construction at Bay City, where a new 1500-foot pier and a hotel and store building are approaching completion. Mrs. Dwight Whiting, of Los Angeles, has let the contract for a handsome two-story cottage on First street; W. J. Edwards has ordered plans drawn for- a two-story home to be located at Central avenue and Second street: Dr. V. J. Nance will build a two-story cottage at Fifth street and Ocean avenue, and John L. Plummer is preparing to build on Fifth street. This makes four two-story cottages started or planned within a week past.
It has leaked out that Phil Stanton has evolved a plan which is to make Bay City “the best lighted city on the Southern California coast.” This is a pretty big contract, and the outcome is awaited with considerable interest. The Bayside Land company has a habit of carrying out its promises. – Los Angeles Herald, 3 June 1906
Long Pleasure Pier Completed
Dr. H. I. Nance, of 1834 West Twenty-ninth street, has just signed a contract for the erection of a six-room cottage on the corner of Fifth street and Ocean avenue, Bay City, and work will begin Monday. This is the fifth good sized cottage to be started or contracted for within two weeks. The 1500 foot pier at the foot of Main street Is now fully completed and is much frequented by anglers, pleasure seekers and cottagers. Work is progressing on the new hotel. P. A. Stanton reports a largely increased inquiry for Bay City property since warmer weather set in. – Los Angeles Herald, 17 June 1906
We’ll share more historical pictures and photos of Seal Beach as the year progresses. Be sure to check back every Monday for a new Seal Beach image.
– Michael Dobkins
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