In 1908 the citizens of Belmont Heights asked the City of Long Beach to build the neighborhood a pier–a request that was flatly denied. Bruised by the city’s refusal, but determined to build a pier (and fed up with high taxes), the neighborhood decided to break away from Long Beach and soon had formed the new City of Belmont Heights. After just one year, the residents voted to rejoin the City Of Long Beach, which had now agreed to build them their pier in exchange for their tax base. Thus, construction of the pier started in 1911 and was completed four years later. On Christmas Eve of 1915 the much anticipated pier opened to the public. . Newspapers reported that 3,000 to 4,000 people visited the pier the first two days it was open and that 500 to 600 automobiles drove out to the end of the pier (39th place, which extended directly out the pier).
Its official name was the Grand Avenue Pier, but it was also called the Belmont Heights Pier by some and the Devil’s Gate Pier by most; a name which referred to the geologic formation (a natural rock bridge) which in those days extended seaward from the low bluffs at 39th Place. The pier was constructed of wood, was 975 feet in length, 25 feet wide and the middle section of the pier was 110 feet wide. The pier was lit by beautiful ornamental lights and in the middle were two pergolas (an arbor or a passageway of columns supporting a roof). The pier was renovated in 1951 and given a 300 foot extent ion, but having weathered more than 50 years of salt water, sun, rain, and wind, age finally took it’s toll on the wooden structure and a decision was made to build a new pier.
Construction of the new pier started in 1966 just east of the old pier, about the width of 39th Place. The pier is built of concrete and is 1620 feet long. On Sunday, February 19, 1967, the pier officially opened and local newspaper’s reported, “Throngs Hail Opening of New Pier.” To this day, it remains a landmark of local distinction and an endearing monument to Southern California’s coastal roots.
A Belmont Pier master plan was developed that has guided upgrades to the pier including enhanced access for the disabled, upgraded benches and restrooms, parking lot improvements, new lighting and electrical, upscale dining opportunities, fishing, and water taxi service access.