Avila's Piers History - The Avila Beach aerial photo shows the pier at San Luis
Bay. Harford Wharf - Pier has a long, rich history.
Author and seaman Richard Henry Dana visited Avila Beach's naturally-formed San
Luis Bay to dock and trade with Chumash Indians.
You can stroll on the old wooden wharf and watch sea lions bask in the sun and
seagulls swoop for morsels of bait left by fishermen cleaning their catch. Old
Porte Inn on Harfor Pier is a restaurant serving tasty hot meals, icy cocktails,
an extensive wine selection and million dollar views of the bay. It's a setting
you'll never forget, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and a small mountain that
wraps around the bay, creating the protected cove where the pier sits. The scene
is so serene you can image how life was almost 200 years ago.
Commerce and growth went hand in hand in places such as Port San Luis where a
commercial wharf was built in 1873 by John Harford. He was considered an
enterprising businessman. He needed docks to unload cargo and goods and with
demand for such space high, he decided to build his own pier.
40 miles south in Casmalia was a similar, thriving trade and another set of
wharfs. Harford sold products in San Luis Obispo County and in Santa
Barbara County and shipped items elsewhere. Though the trade was
lucrative, railroads cut into profits as rail lines were rapidly built. In
San Luis Bay, Harford sold his assets to Charles Goodall for $30,000. Goodall
received not only the wharf but all the land stretching from San Luis Creek to
the port. Not so fortunate, the Casmalia wharf lost money and faded into decay.