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Stearns Wharf 150th AnniversaryWaterfront

Stearns Wharf to Celebrate 150th Anniversary!

Stearns Wharf and 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.

Lumber offloaded from tall ships at Stearns WharfOver 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-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. 

150th Anniversary 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.

For more information, contact Chris Bell at 805-618-8642 or go to

Last Updated: Dec 30, 2021
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