Santa Monica has had several piers over the years, however the current Santa Monica Pier is actually two adjoining piers that long had separate owners. The long, narrow Municipal Pier opened 9 September 1909, primarily to carry sewer pipes beyond the breakers, and had no amenities. The short, wide adjoining Pleasure Pier to the south, a.k.a. Newcomb Pier, was built in 1916 by Charles I. D. Looff and his son Arthur, amusement park pioneers.
The Carousel was built in 1922 on the Pleasure Pier and features 44 hand-carved horses. It was rebuilt in 1990 inside the Looff Hippodrome. A calliope provides musical accompaniment.
The La Monica Ballroom opened in 1924 and closed in 1962. The La Monica Ballroom became home to Spade Cooley in the early fifties. From 1958 until 1962 it served as a roller skating rink, first as Skater’s Ballroom and then Santa Monica Roller Rink. The speed skating club won many state and regional championships. The bridge to the pier and entry gate were built in 1938 by the federal Works Project Administration, and replaced the former grade connection.
The Looff Pier, then known as Newcomb Pier, was acquired by the city in the 1953. In the 1960s various plans were proposed that would entail removal of the pier. The strangest one called for the construction of an artificial island with a 1500-room hotel. It was approved by the City Council, but citizens formed “Save the Santa Monica Bay” to preserve the pier. The outstanding order to raze the pier was revoked by the city council in 1973. That same year the Carousel and Hippodrome were memorable sets in the film The Sting, although the story was set in Chicago.
Photo taken by Canon IXUS