Seaside History

1st Generation Boardwalk: High Definition for the Old Guard

May 29, 2013 | by Nate Burke

Have you been to the movies lately and been blown away by some epic visual effects?  Maybe you were wearing a pair of 3D glasses? Well, before the advent of our high def visual technology and Dolby surround sound, there was only one way to experience grand visual splendor: by visiting it directly. Back at the beginning of the 20th century, transportation was obviously less accessible and personalized and what seemed like small distances to us today were transformed into vast expanses. Being less prone to long distance travel, were our ancestors perhaps slightly visually starved for new and thrilling landscapes? If so, you can imagine the build-up of excitement traveling to Seaside, disembarking from the train and making a beeline straight for the boardwalk on the seashore.

Shown here is a photo of the first generation boardwalk in 1908. The boardwalk started out as a wooden walkway before it graduated to it’s current renovated concrete status in 1921 (now referred to as the Promenade and a full 1.5 miles in length). In the background you can see the old Pacific Pier and salt water natatorium. The boardwalk in its original wooden construction was definitely the best seat in the house. Visitors, exhausted (probably dehydrated too) from travel would arrive in Seaside and swarm directly to this panoramic oceanfront. After a long journey filled with bumps and dust clouds from unpaved roads, they would arrive at the shore, and from the vantage of the boardwalk’s wooden benches their eyes would drink in the high definition beauty, surround sound, and splendor of the Pacific. If you have ever been starved for visual grandeur, park yourself out there on the promenade today, and prepare for beauty that not even Hollywood can create.

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