AKA: State of California, Department of Parks and Recreation, Malibu Pier, Malibu, CA

Structure Type: built works - infrastructure - transportation structures

Designers: Amoroso, Dennis J., Construction Company, Incorporated (firm); Dennis J. Amoroso (building contractor)

Dates: constructed 1905

23000 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90265

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Born in Cambridge, MA, Frederick Hastings Rindge (1857—1905), came from a prosperous New England textile manufacturing family, attended Harvard University, and migrated to California in 1887. With an inheritance, he bought the Rancho Topanga Malibu Sequit, a 13,316-acre tract awarded to José Bartolomé Tapia and his descendants in 1800. Following the Land Act of 1851, many Mexican landholders could not prove title to their properties. Opportunistic and often unscrupulous Anglo settlers frequently filed competing land claims themselves, and gained title to extensive agricultural estates. In this case, Irish immigrant Matthew (Mateo) Keller (1811–1881) did just that to the Malibu Rancho in 1872. It was his estate that sold the land to Rindge. Utilizing his deep financial reserves, Rindge could expand (to 17,000 acres) and modernize the Malibu Rancho; he built such improvements as a 20-mile-long private railroad that ran from the Pier through the Las Flores Canyon to the Ventura-Los Angeles County line as well as the first incarnation of the Malibu Pier. Rindge used the pier to unload needed provisions from supply ships and to load the hides, fruits and grains raised on his huge farm. Rindge's daughter, Rhoda Agatha Rindge, and her husband, Merritt Huntley Adamson, built the Adamson House to the west of the pier and at one time had a walkway to it. (Adamson House has been property of the State of California since 1966; the pier was obtained by the state in 1983.) The Marblehead Land Company, the Rindge Family's real estate development company, opened the Malibu Pier to the public in 1934, catering primarily to sport fisherman who hooked halibut and barracuda in the waters off of Surfrider Beach. Marblehead went temporarily bankrupt in 1936, and some of its investors assumed control of its assets and made plans to renovate the pier and enlarge it as a recreation spot. They lengthened it to 780 feet and erected a small bait and tackle shop at its end by 1938. With the coming of World War II, the US Coast Guard assumed control of the pier and used it as a lookout post until a strong storm on 02/22/1944 destroyed half of it. Shortly after this storm, a Westwood businessman, William Huber, organized the Malibu Pier Company and purchased the pier for $50,000 with the stipulation that he provide a new observation station for the Coast Guard. Huber created the twin buildings at the end of the pier, one housing a bait-and-tackle shop, the other, a restaurant. Sport fishing from the pier declined by the early 1960s, although deep-sea fishing boats continued to launch from it. Another building at the foot of the pier housed various businesses, including the Malibu Sports Club Restaurant (c. 1966), the Malibu Pier Club (c. 1970) and Alice's Restaurant (1972-1990s). The State of California purchased the deteriorating Malibu Pier from Huber in 1980. Strong storms did significant damage to it in 1983, 1993, 1994 and 1995 necessitating the pier's closure in 1995. Given the amount of repair work needed, (and a legal battle that raged between two contractors hired to make repairs) the State tried to give the pier to the City of Malibu in 1997, but the city couldn't raise sufficient capital to fix the structure and ownership went back to the State. California appropriated $6 million to renovate the pier in the late 1990s-2000s, "...including all-new decking, railings, structural bracing and epoxy and fiberglass coverings for the pilings. Twin buildings at the ocean end of the pier are also being revamped, with porthole windows, 'ship lap siding,' and other original elements left intact." (See Martha Groves, "Old Malibu Pier Catches a Wave," Los Angeles Times, 03/07/2003, p. B3.) This round of renovations concluded c. 2008. (In 2003, the building contractor was the Dennis J. Amoroso Construction Company.) In 2011, businesses operating on the pier were Ruby's Shake Shack, Malibu Pier Club and the Beachcomber Cafe and Malibu Beach Supply Company.

The State of California, Department of Parks and Recreation noted on its Malibu Pier web site in 2011: "In 2009, California State Parks won the Los Angeles Conservancy Preservation Award for its restoration of the Malibu Pier. The conservancy recognized State Parks for showing 'solid stewardship of this beloved public resource by reversing decades of decay while staying true to its historic character.'" (See "Malibu Pier,"Accessed 02/10/2011.)

Malibu Sports Club Restaurant in 1966, then the Malibu Pier Club after a change of owners, and then Alice's Restaurant (yes, named for the song) from 1972 to the closure of the pier in the 1990s

PCAD id: 16133