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Vintage: Crystal Pier

Crystal Pier in 1927

By Emily Burns

Vintage: Crystal Pier

Crystal Pier 1927

On April 25, 1925, Ernest Pickering placed a classified ad in the San Diego Union announcing his plans to build a million-dollar pier in Pacific Beach. Pickering was no stranger to the pier business—he owned a pier in Santa Monica, but it burned down in 1924. The plan for the Pacific Beach pier was born when Earl Taylor, a local realtor, approached Pickering with the idea. Taylor needed an attraction to encourage people to purchase homes in the area. In 1927, “Pickering’s Pleasure Pier” opened to the public. Over the next 10 years, the pier would have multiple owners who would face challenges with the city. In 1936, “Crystal Pier” opened again, but the property would continue to switch hands until 1961. The pier is reportedly now owned by the locally based Allen family, who also own the 32 cottages that make up the Crystal Pier Hotel.

Built for Our Amusement


Price of a home site in nearby Mission Beach in 1924



Number of months in advance required to reserve a Crystal Pier cottage in summer



Length in feet of Crystal Pier



Visitors no longer need a fishing license to fish at Crystal Pier



Total number of piers in San Diego County



Feet of the pier that were ripped away by a storm in 1987

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