is a pier
in the harbor
at Santa Barbara, California
. When completed In 1872, it became the longest deep-water pier between Los Angeles
and San Francisco
. Named for its builder, local lumberman John P. Stearns
, the wharf served the passenger and freight shipping needs of California
's South Coast for over a quarter century.
When the railroad
finally reached Santa Barbara in 1877, Stearns added an additional spur to the wharf, providing a necessary transport link to his lumberyard and the nearby Southern Pacific Depot
. The spur was damaged by severe storms in the early 20th century and was finally abandoned in 1923.
The Harbor Restaurant was built on the wharf in 1941, marking an end to the shipping and transportation era of the 19th century. The restaurant proved to be the economic backbone of the wharf.
Since its beginning, Stearns Wharf has had several natural and economic disasters, from the big earthquake in 1925 to a fire in 1973 which caused its closing. The wharf stayed closed for six years until restorations were completed in 1981. Yet another fire in the winter of 1998 devastated the last hundred and fifty feet of the wharf, including Moby Dick Restaurant. Though the rest of the wharf remained open during this period, the rebuilding took over two years. The new Stearns Wharf stands today as Santa Barbara's most visited landmark.