Stearns Wharf's 147th Anniversary

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Stearns Wharf's 147th Anniversary
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Wharf spur under construction Circa 1878​

Source: Stearns Wharf Merchants Association

Come join as we celebrate Stearns Wharf 147th Anniversary

Join us on Stearns Wharf to celebrate the 147th Anniversary during the Month of October.  Visit the merchants and see what specials they have in celebration of the Wharf’s Anniversary.

Stearns Wharf is the oldest working wood wharf in California, it was built in 1872 by John Peck Stearns to facilitate the transfer of cargo and people from ships to shore.  

Up until the 1870s, Santa Barbara was virtually cut off from the outside world by its natural barriers of the ocean and the mountains. In 1867, John Peck Stearns moved to Santa Barbara and opened a lumberyard at the foot of State Street. Mr. Stearns noted that the town needed a long wharf so that Ocean ships could tie up at low tide. In 1872, with the financial backing of Colonel William Welles Hollister, Stearns completed the Wharf and Santa Barbara’s isolation from the outside world was over.

Over the years Stearns Wharf has survived severe storms, tornados, and fires making it the oldest working wooden wharf in California. 

Experience Santa Barbara and Share in the magic of Stearns Wharf; come celebrate the 147th Anniversary of Stearns Wharf during the month of October and ask your favorite merchants for their Anniversary Specials.

Modern Day Stearns Wharf​


The Stearns Wharf Merchants Association represents the merchants and business owners on Stearns Wharf. Stearns Wharf is located at the end of State Street between East Beach and the Santa Barbara Harbor. For more information, visit www.stearnswharf.org.​

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JoeSixPack Oct 07, 2019 07:05 AM
Stearns Wharf's 147th Anniversary

I always considered that Stearns Wharf was originally built and used (and named) as a wharf, but with the lumber and oil industry no longer using it, the wharf evolved to being used as a pier.

Lucky 777 Oct 06, 2019 12:24 PM
Stearns Wharf's 147th Anniversary

Funny no one mentions it is a pier, not a wharf. A wharf is a raised structure on the shore of a sea or the bank of a river. A pier is a wooden structure that protrudes into a sea from the shores.

bradleybennett Oct 06, 2019 05:56 PM
Stearns Wharf's 147th Anniversary

According to Dictionary.com... A wharf is 1. a structure built on the shore of or projecting into a harbor, stream, etc., so that vessels may be moored alongside to load or unload or to lie at rest; quay; pier. 2. Obsolete: a. a riverbank. b. the shore of the sea. My understanding is that the modern definition of a pier is a simple wooden structure for mooring boats and that a wharf is a large pier that has buildings on it - i.e. restaurants, shops etc. Seems to me that it's a wharf.

Lacomus Oct 06, 2019 11:38 AM
Stearns Wharf's 147th Anniversary

Regarding the boats servicing the platforms, I remember the "Packer" using the Navy pier back in 1961.

Flicka Oct 06, 2019 09:54 AM
Stearns Wharf's 147th Anniversary

Beautiful photo. Until the oil spill in 1969 the boats servicing the oil platforms worked off Stearns Wharf.

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