Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Avila Beach in San Luis Obispo County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Port San Luis

 
 
Port San Luis - A Gateway Through Time -- Geology panel image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, April 22, 2018
1. Port San Luis - A Gateway Through Time -- Geology panel
Captions: (left) Natural Protection The naturally occurring hooked bay formation provides a perfect site for the Port. The man-made breakwater gives further protection from the elements for commercial and recreational activities within the bay,; (center) Pillow Lava Pillow lava is created by volcanic basalt lava flows that erupt underwater. These flows date from approximately 200 million years ago. (right) Guadalupe Dunes As waves move around the headlands, San Luis Obispo Bay's coastline changes their orientation to the beach. When wave fronts reach the Guadalupe Dunes they are long and parallel to the coast and push sand onto the beach.

Note the Pillow Lava between the two beaches.
Inscription. Click to hear the inscription.   Three panels are located on the Harford Pier outline the history of Port San Luis.

Port San Luis - A Gateway Through Time
Geology

Bays are formed over thousands of years by erosion. Less resistant rock is weathered away by waves over time to form the bay. More resistant rock around the edges of the bay result in headlands, projections of land around the bay into the larger body of water.

Port San Luis - A Gateway Through Time
Fishing and Boating

In the 1500s and 1600s the Port San Luis area was visited by Spanish and Portuguese explorers. Following a bustling period as a trade and passenger port in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Port today supports local fishing and boating ventures.

Port San Luis - A Gateway Through Time
Commerce

By the 1880s Port San Luis served as the gateway for shipping goods and moving passengers to and from the Pacific Rim and Europe. The Port developed into the largest crude oil shipping port in the world by WWII. Today, the Port is used mainly for commercial and sport
Port San Luis - A Gateway Through Time -- Boating and Fishing panel image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, April 22, 2018
2. Port San Luis - A Gateway Through Time -- Boating and Fishing panel
Captions: (left) Port of Entry Around the turn of the 20th century passengers and cargo were frequent visitors to the bustling Port of San Luis.; (center) Commercial Fishing Today approximately 30 commercial fishing boats operate out of Port San Luis and catch crab, rockfish, halibut and salmon.; (right) Recreation in the Bay Recreational activities in the bay include fishing from piers, small personal boating and charter fishing, whale watching, scuba diving, bird watching, and sightseeing.
fishing and other recreational purposes.

Timeline, compiled from the three Harford Pier panels.

200 million years ago -- Pillow Lava is created under the water
18,000 years ago -- Dune formation starts at the end of the last glacial period
1868 -- Whaling begins at Port Harford Station
1878 -- Tidal Wave causes considerable damage to Central Coast
1880 -- Whaling ends
1882 -- Ocean Hotel built at base of Harford Wharf
1888 -- Steamship Queen of the Pacific sinks within 500' of the pier; no lives lost
1889 -- Construction of Port San Luis Light Station begins
1893 -- Breakwater construction begins with stones from Morro Rock and Catalina Island
1900 -- Abalone and commercial fishing starts
1906 -- Union Oil builds first oil pipeline to Avila Beach
1908 -- U.S. Navy's "Great White Fleet" anchors in San Luis Obispo Bay
1913 -- Breakwater construction completed
1942 -- Railroad and pier sold to Elton Tognazzini
1945 -- Fishing trawlers begin operating from the port
1954 -- County residents vote to create the Port San Luis Harbor District
1964 -- Harbor District purchases Tognazzini property and Harford Pier
1974 -- Coast Guard closes Point San Luis Lighthouse
2004 -- San Simeon Earthquake damages breakwater
 
Erected by
Port San Luis - A Gateway Through Time -- Commerce panel image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, April 22, 2018
3. Port San Luis - A Gateway Through Time -- Commerce panel
(center) Cultural Collaboration Captain John Harford, owner of Harford's Wharf, and Ah Louis, a Chinese immigrant, formed a successful business partnership in 1871 to construct a railroad between Harford's Wharf and the City of San Luis Obispo.; (right) Ocean's Bounty Since the early 1900s, Port San Luis has been the launch site for many prosperous commercial fishing enterprises providing county residents with their fill of assorted seafood, including albacore.
Port San Luis Harbor District.
 
Location. 35° 10.257′ N, 120° 45.358′ W. Marker is in Avila Beach, California, in San Luis Obispo County. Marker can be reached from Avila Beach Drive near Diablo Canyon Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3975 Avila Beach Drive, Avila Beach CA 93424, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Port Harford Wharf & Pacific Coast Railway (within shouting distance of this marker); Sailing Ship Anchor (within shouting distance of this marker); Port Harford Pier (approx. mile away); Point San Luis Light Station (approx. 0.8 miles away); Pier Into The Past (approx. one mile away); Pacific Coast Railway (approx. 8.8 miles away); Carnegie City Library (approx. 9.1 miles away); Dr. Rudolf W. Gerber Memorial Park (approx. 9.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Avila Beach.
 
More about this marker. Three panels are located on the Port San Luis (Harford) Pier.
 
Categories. Natural FeaturesWaterways & Vessels
 
Harford Pier image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, April 22, 2018
4. Harford Pier
Harford Pier image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, April 22, 2018
5. Harford Pier
Harford Pier image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, April 22, 2018
6. Harford Pier
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 5, 2018. This page originally submitted on May 5, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 50 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on May 5, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.
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