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Question #1
Q: What is the approximate number of pilings on the wharf today?

A: 4,528 pilings, but only about 5 percent are of the original wharf construction.

Question #2
Q: What was the approximate number of pilings on the wharf when it was first built in 1914?

A: 2,043 pilings, all made out of Douglas Fir and pressure treated with a waterproofing sealant.

Question #3
Q: Approximately how many pilings are removed or replaced during an average year?

A: 30 pilings. The pilings are usually damaged by barnacles, shellfish, boring worms, and storms. Tree debris is also driven into the pilings by the ocean with the force of a battering ram

Question #4
Q: How wide was the wharf when it was first built?

A: 100 feet, although much of today's wharf has been widened to accommodate parking.

Question #5
Q: How long was the wharf when it was first built?

A: 2,745 feet

Question #6
Q: How long is the wharf currently?

A: 2,701 feet. The missing 44 feet of the wharf is still one of the wharf's big mysteries. Nobody knows what caused it to happen but the popular theory is simply that the sites where measurements began changed over the years.

Question #7
Q: How many feet does the wharf stand above the mean high tide?

A: 22 feet. This makes the Santa Cruz Wharf the highest on the West Coast. The wharf was constructed this way to aid in weathering out storms and to avoid damage by ocean waves.

Question #8
Q: What is the depth of the water at the end of the wharf during mean high tide?

A: 35 feet. About the height of a three story building

Question #9
Q: Approximately how many miles of piling is there on the wharf, if each of the pilings were laid end-to-end?

A: 102 miles, or enough to make two triangles between Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Capitola.

Question #10
Q: How much weight can a single piling support?

A: 30 tons. (This is about the weight of 10 pickup trucks.)

Question #11
Q: What animals are found on the wharf pilings?

A: The wharf is a human-made reef. The same animals that live in the rocky reefs and sandy bottoms are found on and around the wharf. These include, barnacles, mussels, anenomies, sponges, tunicates, ship worms, even nudibranchs. Fishes commonly found are shiner, walleye, rainbow, white, and black surfperches; lingcod, flatfish like sand dabs, sand soles, rock sole, halibut, staghorn sculpins, rockfish, anchovies, sardines, and others. Marine mammals include California sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters, and dolphins. Even gray whales will appear in the cove in springtime on their return migration.

Question #12
Q: What are those animals that lay on the crossbeams under the end of the wharf and how do they get up there?.

A: California sea lions. They "haul out" onto the beams by leaping up out of the water to land on their large front flippers. They are also able to walk up rocks with their rotatable rear flippers, unlike harbor seals--the other pinniped seen around the wharf--that have much shorter and inflexible flippers. Harbor seals, by contrast, "wriggle" their way out of the water onto sandy beaches and low lying rocks.

Question #13
Q: Did the 1989 earthquake cause any damage to the wharf.

A: Very little. The main water pipe was broken but repaired in one day. The Wharf is a very sturdy structure because the pilings bend and sway like trees instead of breaking from the forces of waves and earth movement .

Question #14
Q: Did the El Nino winter cause any damage to the wharf?

A: The strong storms of the 1998 El Nino winter broke off 60 pilings. According to construction crew leader Rob Langdon, the 60th replacement piling was hammered in at Bent 162 7E on June 22, 1999.

Question #15
Q: How many wharves has Santa Cruz had over years?

A: Five, with the first one being constructed in 1853. Some people like to count a connecting span between the Pleasure Pier and the Powder Mill that existed for 5 years between 1877-1882 as a sixth wharf.

Question #16
Q: What was the greatest number of wharves at any one time in Santa Cruz?

A: Three. From 1865-1890 -- Potato Wharf, Railroad Wharf, and the Powder Mill Wharf. And from 1906-1907 -- Potato Wharf, Railroad Wharf, and Pleasure Pier.

Question #17
Q: Does the Wharf ever close?

A:It closes from 2:00AM to 5:00AM but otherwise is open 7 days a week. During exceptionally severe storms, it will close temporarily for public safety.

Question #18
Q: For what purpose was the first Santa Cruz wharf built?

A: Shipping potatoes to San Francisco for mining camps in the Sierra Nevada during the Gold Rush.

Question #19
Q: In what year was construction of the current wharf completed?

A: 1914. It was built by the city after the Southern Pacific Railroad Company failed to make needed repairs on the old Railroad Wharf.

Question #20
Q: What was the name of the first vessel to dock at the wharf?

A: The Roanoke, a steamship carrying a load of passengers from San Francisco. Tragically, the Roanoke sank with some of its crew not long after it made its historic visit to Santa Cruz.
Last updated: 6/30/2009 9:57:23 PM