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August 9, 2005 - CollaboratED

Yesterday, the dedicated staff of edhat.com asked our dedicated subscribers to tell us what they know about Stearns Wharf. As usual, they took the challenge, and shared their knowledge and insights of our fair city. Today’s Edhat is a collaborative effort by all who participated.

Stearns Wharf is the oldest and longest working (wooden) wharf in all of California. A gentleman known as J.P. Stearns, built it in 1872. It was built to bring lumber ashore. Prior to the construction of the wharf, lumber was floated from ships to the beach at the beginning of a high tide.

At one time, James Cagney owned it. There have been a number of fires on the wharf, with the one in 1998 sticking out like a pier in most people’s minds. The fire started at the Moby Dick Restaurant. One dedicated subscriber of edhat.com claims that he was the last person to eat at the restaurant before it burned down. He also claims to have paid with a check that burned before it could be cashed.

There was a smaller fire in 2002 at the Sea Center that has since been rebuilt into the Ty Warner Sea Center. Apparently, the photo Edhat used on yesterday’s contest entry page was of the old Sea Center. Oops.

Many of our dedicated subscribers evidently missed our article last year wherein we counted the planks on Stearns Wharf. In that Edhat we also discussed the difference between a pier and a wharf (and how ours is both).

Locals have many fond memories of Stearns Wharf. The memories seem to fall into three categories – memories of fishing, fear of planks, and things going overboard. In case you thought you or your loved one was the only one suffering from fall-through-the-planks-phobia, think again. We heard from a bunch of moms who have carried their kids over the planks, and from people with moms who carried them.

A couple of years ago when Dr. Laura washed up on our sandy shores, she wanted to broadcast from an office on the Wharf. Being “her kid’s mom”, we wonder if she would have carried her kid over to her office had she gotten the space.

We heard a few fishing stories from our dedicated subscribers as well. It’s legal in California to fish from any public pier without a license, and ours is no exception. Sometimes things got ugly.

And as far as things going from plank to ocean, we heard reports of, an angry man and his motorcycle, valet parking gone bad, and swims to the bar at Brophy’s. One subscriber told us that, not only is it stupid to jump from the wharf; it’s also illegal – even if you have a license.

Some locals don’t often venture into the tourist zone of the wharf, but when they do, they are attracted to activities like throwing peanuts on the floor at Longboards, eating “the best darned steamed clams in Santa Barbara” at the little shack at the end of the wharf, and “the best candy in Santa Barbara”. They call it, a nice place to bring kids to talk, a good place for a late night kiss, and they sometimes go there to check and see if Madame Rosinka is still in business.

Anything else about Stearns Wharf we missed? Well, a subscriber reminded us that they filmed the 1966 Batman TV pilot there.

"Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb!" said Adam West.

Yesterday’s contest was not a contest at all; it was really a drawing. The names of all the subscribers who provided information were assigned numbers, which were written onto a bunch of really small dog biscuits and scattered onto the floor. The Edhat dog, as she embarked on her feeding frenzy, picked out MickiD’s biscuit first. MickiD will be lovin’ it. He wins an Edhat t-shirt.

Click Here to scroll through all the input we got for this story.

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