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The Pike in Long Beach

Entrance to the Pike in Long Beach, 1960

Entrance to The Pike in Long Beach, 1960. U.S. Navy photo from U.S.S. Helena (CA-75) 1960-1961 Cruise Book availalbe from Navysite.de.

By late 1954, the Long Beach Pike amusement pier (opened in 1902; although rides such as a roller-coaster already existed before then) was the leading amusement attraction in the Los Angeles area and the fifth largest in the United States. The Pike drew tens of thousands of summer visitors to its roller coaster, merry-go-round, bathhouse, two pavilions, band shell, and many other smaller attractions. At its peak, it featured 218 concessions.

The Pike in Long Beach, Circa 1890

Looking west from Pine Avenue Pier, circa 1890. Amusement rides already operated along the Long Beach waterfront prior to the 1902 opening of The Pike. Note the tall wooden ride in the foreground and the roller-coaster in the distance. From California Historical Society Collection, courtesy of USC Digital Library.

The Pike in Long Beach With Visitors, Circa 1910

The Pike in Long Beach with visitors, circa 1910. From California Historical Society Collection, courtesy of USC Digital Library.

The Pike in Long Beach, 1922

The Pike in Long Beach crowded with visitors, 1922. From California Historical Society Collection, courtesy of USC Digital Library.

Postcard Showing Long Beach Waterfront, 1937

Postcard showing Downtown Long Beach and waterfront, 1937. The Pike juts into water at bottom. From Los Angeles Almanac Collection.

The year 1955 was a watershed for The Pike. That year, Disneyland opened. The Pike began to lose to the popularity of the new theme park just 17 miles west in Anaheim. In fact, it was said that Walt Disney used The Pike as an example of the type of sleazy amusement zones Disneyland was meant to replace (ironically, Disney's Paradise Pier (now Pixar Pier) in the California Adventure Park is seen as an attempt to replicate the atmosphere of The Pike). The famous Cyclone Racer Roller Coaster (larger than New York's Coney Island Cyclone) closed in 1966. What was left of the original Pike finally closed in 1979.

In 2003, after decades of waterfront redevelopment, Long Beach reopened a new (and less exciting) version of The Pike called The Pike at Rainbow Harbor featuring restaurants, shops, movie theaters and a Ferris wheel.

Cyclone Racer Tribute at the Pike in Long Beach, 2017

Tribute to the Cyclone Racer Rollercoaster once operating at The Pike in Long Beach. Los Angeles Almanac photo.

L.A. Video

L.A. Videos
Revisit The Pike, YouTube

L.A. Video: Revisit The Pike.