Fundraiser to save Cayucos Pier at Elks Lodge
Cayucos Pier was partially closed July 5 due to damage
Fundraiser is Oct. 19, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Paso Robles Elks Lodge
The Paso Robles Elks Lodge is hosting a “Save The Cayucos Pier” fundraiser Oct. 19. The event is a barbecue chicken dinner with beans, salad and garlic bread from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. All proceeds will benefit the Cayucos Pier Project. The Paso Robles Elks Lodge is located at 1420 Park St., Paso Robles, CA.
Cayucos Pier was partially closed July 5, 2013 due to dozens of seriously damaged and unattached pilings. 14 critical pilings are missing from the structure. Supporters have raised over $100,000 already.
Although Cayucos Pier remains accessible, it has been maintained only on a limited basis since before World War II. It last received emergency repairs for storm damage 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 years old and some could be as old as 130.
The pier has 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. Experts have determined that the next big storm could cause the pier to be condemned and closed. It must be rebuilt soon and that effort will cost over $2,000,000.
History of the Cayucos pier
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 for pilings. The pier was a 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 could 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.
A severe drought in 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 1900s. 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.