Stearns Wharf to Celebrate 150th Anniversary

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Source: City of Santa Barbara

Stearns Wharf is more than a nice place to watch boats or fish, it’s a structure that changed the face of Santa Barbara-literally. 150 years ago, Santa Barbara, being surrounded by mountains, was an isolated pueblo. There were no roads into town, there was no railroad. When John Peck Stearns built the wharf in 1872 he not only opened the door to large-scale commerce and trade; he introduced Santa Barbara to the rest of the world.

Since that time, Stearns Wharf has evolved along with the city. It was a vital conduit for a growing fishing fleet. It was the birthplace of commercial diving. It served as a focal point to bring the community together.

Over the years, Stearns Wharf has been battered by storms, scorched by fires, even damaged by a water spout, but through it all, it has persevered because it offers something no other place in town can match-perspective.

In honor of this iconic structure’s 150th anniversary, Stearns Wharf merchants will hold Wharf Wednesdays on the first Wednesday of each month. There will be anniversary specials, a bit of history and lots of fun, family-friendly activities. The commemoration will culminate with a special celebration, complete with fireworks, in October.

Wharf Wednesday specials include:

 Char West

Buy an entrée, and get any small fountain drink for $1.50

Conway Deep Sea Tasting Room

Any 5 bottles of Deep Sea wine for $150;    Buy 4 and get 1 free

Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Buy one Ceramic  Tile and get the second Tile for $1.50

Great Pacific Ice Cream Co

Buy a single scoop cone or bowl, and get the second single scoop cone or bowl for  $1.50

Moby Dick Restaurant

Buy one Happy Hour dish, get one 50% off.  Certain restrictions apply.

Mother Stearns Candy Company

All Truffles $1.50

Nature's Own

Buy a Pink Murex Shell for $1.50

Stearns Wharf Bait & Tackle

Rent 1 pole and get a second pole for $1.50,
Plus an extra cup of bait.


Stearns Wharf Fun Facts:

·       Before the wharf was built, lumber was thrown overboard and the buyers had to pick up their share off of the beach.

·       Up until the wharf was built, buildings in town were almost exclusively made from brick and adobe.

·       For a brief while, Stearns tried using Eucalyptus instead of Douglas Fir for pile replacement. The trial failed miserably.

·       The wharf has had three major fires, been damaged by boats and even lost a 100-foot section to a water spout.

·       Stearns Wharf is 2,300 feet long and has an area of 3.8 acres and is supported by 2,307 piles.

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Channelfog Jan 03, 2022 01:49 PM
Stearns Wharf to Celebrate 150th Anniversary

Unfortunately the wharf is strictly a tourist attraction, of limited use to locals. Woe to those who attempt to tie up their vessel. The orange vested wharf rats used to tell me not to tie my kayak, but I tied, climbed the ladder and had a beer upstairs on many occasions to spite them.
I'll never forget the first time I drove out on the closed wharf. We were going to look at the Char West carpentry job and as we started out, an ultra-light aircraft nose-dived into the sand East of the wharf. The shock wave visible in the glider rig spoke of the impact, which unfortunately was fatal.
I still like the wharf and the cannon!

ZeroHawk Jan 03, 2022 10:04 AM
Stearns Wharf to Celebrate 150th Anniversary

curious...."· Before the wharf was built, lumber was thrown overboard and the buyers had to pick up their share off of the beach."
Not so....the Chapala Pier received the lumber.
" For a brief while, Stearns tried using Eucalyptus instead of Douglas Fir for pile replacement. The trial failed miserably."
I learned about this in school at SMHS back in the 80s. The trees first brought over from Australia had a disease which made their wood harder and useable. Normal Eucalyptus is soft and spindly and pretty much worthless for construction. So they used them as ranch property boundaries.
Love the wharf except for the massive amounts of no fishing signs in the best fishing spots. They keep squeezing us out. No overhead casting, and can only fish on the last 500 ft of the wharf...lame. Halibut and sand bass hang out below the sea center under the parking area where the flag poles are and also behind char west ;)

Sun Jan 03, 2022 10:43 AM
Stearns Wharf to Celebrate 150th Anniversary

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Sun Jan 02, 2022 02:46 PM
Stearns Wharf to Celebrate 150th Anniversary

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