Skip to: [ search ] [ menus ] [ content ] Select style [ Aqua ] [ Citrus ] [ Fire ] [ Orange ] [ show/hide more content ]

Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara

Stearns Wharf is a pier in Santa Barbara, California, which, when completed in 1872, was the longest deep-water pier between San Francisco and Los Angeles! I wrote earlier about the excellent dinner and service that we receeived at the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company (not an endorsement) at the end of Stearn’s Wharf when we visited Santa Barbara in July. (The photoblog entry about the return trip is here!)

Stearns Wharf was named for John P. Stearns, a local lumberman, and the wharf served the passenger and freight-shipping needs of California’s South Coast. Stearns added a spur to the wharf when the railroad reached Santa Barbara in 1877. The spur provided a transport link to his lumberyard and the Southern Pacific Depot. Storms damaged the spur in the early 1900s, and it was abandoned in 1923.

The Harbor Restaurant, which was built on the wharf in 1941, became the economic backbone of the wharf and signaled the end of the shipping and transportation era of the 1800s. Stearns Wharf suffered damage in the big earthquake of 1925 and was closed by a fire in 1973. The closure lasted six years during restoration. Another fire, in 1998, damaged the last 150 feet of the pier, including the Moby Dick Restaurant. That time, rebuilding took two years.

Stearns Wharf is now Santa Barbara’s most visited landmark! A Web site that iists the merchants of Stearns Wharf, part of a site devoted to attractions of Santa Barbara (including a “virtual tour” of Stearns Wharf), and the City of Santa Barbara’s Web site section about Stearns Wharf all aid the tourist and visitor! The scientist in me insists upon providing this link to “Near-Shore Real-Time Oceanographic Data” from Stearns Wharf, including ocean temperature (four minutes ago, water temperature was a balmy 64.4 degrees F [18 degrees C]) :-) and a “Tide Forecast Table” for Santa Barbara! There is also this Web page of folksy information.

One piece of information that is critical for SOME of you is that there is an ice cream shop on the wharf! (Or was the last several times that we were there….). :-)

My photography from Stearns Wharf includes these shots of the wharf itself (1, 2), these of a a sailing regatta that occurred during our visit (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8), these of racing outrigger canoes (1, 2), and these of the coast and harbor as the approaching sunset turned the approaching fog pink and boats returned to their moorings (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15).

All in all, quite a lovely and memorable day….

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

You can view higher-resolution photos (*generally* 7-30 megabytes, compressed) at the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Pro Gallery on Shutterfly™, where you can also order prints and gifts decorated with the photos of your choice from the gallery. Apparel and other gifts decorated with some of our most popular photos can be ordered from the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Store on CafePress®. Both Shutterfly™ and CafePress® ship to most international locations worldwide! If you don’t see what you want or would like to receive an email when new photos are up on the site, send us an email at

No Comments to “Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara”

  (RSS feed for these comments)

You must be logged in to post a comment.

InspectorWordpress has prevented 52153 attacks.
Get Adobe Flash player