San Diego’s Historical Preservation Group Adds Point Loma’s Piers to ‘Most Endangered’ List

by on November 20, 2019 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach

The Save Our Heritage Organization (SOHO), San Diego’s premier historical preservation group, has added the La Playa Piers along the Point Loma Bayfront to their 2019 list of endangered historic resources.  Here is what SOHO says generally about their yearly list:

SOHO releases a list of endangered sites throughout San Diego County each year to raise public awareness about the valuable historic and cultural resources that are currently threatened with demolition or irreparable alteration by development, deterioration, or neglect.

SOHO has a 50-year track record of saving important historic buildings, sites, and landscapes through advocacy, public education, and negotiation, but there are always properties at risk. While inclusion on the list does not guarantee protection it has proven to be a key component in mobilizing support for the preservation of historic sites by raising awareness and SOHO’s Most Endangered List has become a tool and call to action for residents, business and community leaders, and government officials.

Here’s SOHO’s statement on this year’s list:

As our hectic daily lives seem to flash by, San Diegans are increasingly finding enrichment and inspiration in our historic neighborhoods, buildings, parks, and cultural landscapes—even the bayfront. These places matter deeply to most of us, whether San Diego natives or newcomers. Our historic touchstones tell us stories about people and their times, and record events that are meaningful and instructive today and in the future.

Save Our Heritage Organisation announces its 32nd annual Most Endangered Places list to call attention to places we love that could disappear if we’re not vigilant. And provides actions you can take to help.

The 2019 Most Endangered List includes nine significant landmarks and cultural landscapes that are threatened by development, deterioration, or lack of maintenance. Seven are carried over from last year; two are new. All embody compelling aspects of San Diego’s history and character, such as the nationally important Presidio Park in Old Town, Big Stone Lodge in Poway, and Hillcrest’s commercial core.

Two newcomers to the list are unique contributors to San Diego’s authentic essence. The damaged Pottery Canyon Kiln underscores San Diego’s rich history of immigration and the arts. The six-foot-tall adobe structure is all that’s left of La Jolla Canyon Clay Products Company, which was founded by Cornelio Rodriguez after he moved here from Guadalajara, Mexico in 1928. He and his brothers scooped clay from this La Jolla canyon for decorative pottery sold nationwide and building products, like roof tiles and adobe bricks.

Also added to the list are five historic piers combining function and charm along the La Playa shoreline of Point Loma for almost 80 years. Publicly and privately owned, the piers are threatened with removal by California Coastal Commission regulations, which require public access to the state’s bay- and beachfronts. The pending Port of San Diego’s Draft Master Plan called for demolition, but substantial public opposition based on nautical and social heritage caused Port Commissioners to reconsider and possibly to challenge the Coastal Commission’s order.

Here is [part] the 2019 Most Endangered List:

La Playa Piers, Point Loma Bayfront

For almost 80 years, San Diegans have enjoyed using a few private and publicly owned piers along La Playa’s historic and picturesque waterfront. Likely constructed between the mid-1930s and late ’40s, the five piers are integral to the nautical character, use, and cultural landscape of La Playa and Shelter Island. The privately-owned piers are not on private land, but rather in areas the Port of San Diego governs; residential uses are not permitted. And because not all of the piers are open to the public, the California Coastal Commission—with its primary mission to protect public access to the coastline—is threatening to remove all five.

This controversial issue came to public attention as the Port updates its master plan. Public outcry has produced thousands of written comments on the 2019 Draft Master Plan, calling for the piers to remain in use, as a functional and aesthetic benefit and historic asset to the community and to the region. The Port listened to the residents and is considering altering the draft to maintain the piers in their current state, but the final decision rests with the Coastal Commission.

These piers are not only beloved nautical treasures but also unique historic resources that were in use even before Shelter Island existed. They allow boaters and sightseers rare access to the waterfront and marine life. They contribute to our understanding of San Diego’s waterfront development from the pre-World War II era to the present. SOHO actively supports the residents in their efforts to preserve these landmarks and urges the Port to maintain the piers in the Draft Master Plan. Then, the Port leadership must convince the Coastal Commission to follow their recommendations based on San Diego’s unique character and public demand. La Playa Piers photo gallery

To challenge the language in the Draft Master Plan that calls for the removal of these piers, email the Port of San Diego ( and California Coastal Commission ( urging them to save these historic, neighborhood defining features.

For the rest of SOHO’s list, go here.

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