Initial Closure of Pier July 2013
• 14 critical pilings were missing
• Dozens of seriously damaged and unattached pilings
• Pier closed July 5, 2013 for public safety. Read the story HERE
• Pier stabilized in December 2013 to protect against big winter storms
• SLO County arranges for necessary funding and permits in Spring 2014
• Pier to be rebuild started in October 2014
• Pier restoration complete and opened to the public October 31, 2015
The Cayucos pier was constructed by Captain James Cass, the founder of Cayucos, in 1872 and was rebuilt and lengthened to 982 feet into deeper water in 1876. It was built for about $15,000 using Cambria Pines logs (at $7.00 delivered) for pilings. The pier was an immediate commercial success with steamships from Los Angeles and San Francisco docking several times per week. The pier made Cayucos the commercial hub of the north coast. The steamers carried passengers, took butter, milk, and other farm and ranch products to market and unloaded lumber and various goods. A steamer might load as much as 8-10 tons of butter and 90 passengers from the pier. All of that activity meant that as many as 120 teams of horses were tied to 700 feet of Cayucos hitching posts on Butter Day, the day before departure. The severe drought of the late 1890's weakened Cayucos economically. And although in 1915 the pier received an economic boost when an abalone canning plant was built about half way out, it became less commercially viable through the early 1900's. The railroad and trucking ended its life as a working pier in 1920.
The Pier became state property in 1920 and over the next 30 years once again became central to the economic health of the community. As residents of the San Joaquin Valley discovered Cayucos and its Mediterranean climate the pier became very popular with sport fishermen and has remained popular for generations. Anglers young and old have caught a wide variety of fish including: red snapper, smelt, sea trout, halibut, salmon, rock fish, perch, shark and rays. For those who wanted larger catches and bigger fish, in the 1940's, 50's & 60's party boats used Cayucos as a fair-weather anchorage every summer. They took their customers deep water fishing north of Cayucos, loading and unloading fishermen from the pier.
The Cayucos Pier, beloved by generations of residents and visitors, is a treasure of our local landscape. As an historic link to our past, a source of natural beauty and a place to recreate, contemplate and be inspired, the pier is both the iconic symbol and the center of commercial life.
The Cayucos Pier was closed for public safety on July 5, 2013. Limited and sporadic maintenance since World War II lead to that closure. It did receive emergency repairs for storm damage incurred in 1983 and 1993 but comprehensive structural maintenance has not been done for decades. Most of its pilings, headers and attachments are more than 60 and could be as old as 130 years old. It had 14 crucial pilings missing, dozens of unattached or weakly attached pilings and many, many other pilings weakened by worms, years of storms and pounding surf. Because experts determined that a big storm could cause the pier to collapse the County had it stabilized in December 2013. Rebuild of the pier began in October 2014 and it cost approximately $3,500,000.In these post-Great Recession times funding for expensive community projects is changing. Partnerships between government and community organizations have become an essential strategy of fundraising. Consequently the Cayucos Pier Project (CPP) partnered with SLO County and pledged to raise a minimum of $100,000 to demonstrate community support and commitment as the County applied to various funding sources for the balance of the funds. We raised close to $700,000. Of those funds, $265,000 was given to the County for the rebuild, which included a new lighting system and fire-line. Over $300,000 is in an endowment dedicated to the long-term health of the pier.
If you enjoy and treasure the pier please donate to help ensure that it remains for future generations. Your donation is tax deductible.
A Treasure for all to Cherish
For residents and visitors alike, the pier has become a place to walk and lose oneself in grand views of the sea running to the horizon, spectacular sunsets, uninterrupted coastline, surfers dropping into wind-swept waves and Cayucos nestled between the Pacific and coastal hills. For many of us it is a vehicle that takes us back to younger days: time spent with parents, grandparents and cousins, adventures in growing up, memories of weddings, July 4th fireworks and Thanksgiving day walks.