Stearns Wharf to Celebrate 150th Anniversary

John Peck Stearns

SANTA BARBARA, CA – January 3, 2022

Stearns Wharf is more than a nice place to watch boats or fish, it’s a structure that changed the face of Santa Barbara-literally. 150 years ago, Santa Barbara, being surrounded by mountains, was an isolated pueblo. There were no roads into town, there was no railroad. When John Peck Stearns built the wharf in 1872 he not only opened the door to large-scale commerce and trade; he introduced Santa Barbara to the rest of the world.

Since that time, Stearns Wharf has evolved along with the city. It was a vital conduit for a growing fishing fleet. It was the birthplace of commercial diving. It served as a focal point to bring the community together.

Over the years, Stearns Wharf has been battered by storms, scorched by fires, even damaged by a water spout, but through it all, it has persevered because it offers something no other place in town can match-perspective.

In honor of this iconic structure’s 150th anniversary, Stearns Wharf merchants will hold Wharf Wednesdays on the first Wednesday of each month. There will be anniversary specials, a bit of history and lots of fun, family-friendly activities. The commemoration will culminate with a special celebration, complete with fireworks, in October.

Wharf Wednesday specials include:

Char West
Char West

Buy an entrée, and get any small fountain drink for $1.50

Deep Sea Tasting Room
Deep Sea Wine Tasting Room

Any 5 bottles of Deep Sea wine for $150, Buy 4 and get 1 free

Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Buy one Personalized License Plate, and get the second one for $1.50

The Great Pacific Ice Cream Company
The Great Pacific Ice Cream Company

Buy a single scoop cone or bowl, and get the second single scoop cone or bowl for $1.50

Moby Dick Restaurant
Moby Dick

Buy one Breakfast, get one 50% off.  Certain restrictions apply.

Mother Stearns Candy Company
Mother Stearns Candy Company

Salt Water Taffy, 15 pieces for $1.50

Natures Own
Natures Own Gallery

Buy a Pink Murex Shell for $1.50

Stearns Wharf Bait & Tackle
Stearns Wharf Bait & Tackle

Rent 1 pole and get a second pole for $1.50, Plus an extra cup of bait.

Stearns Wharf Fun Facts:

  • Before the wharf was built, lumber was thrown overboard and the buyers had to pick up their share off of the beach.
  • Up until the wharf was built, buildings in town were almost exclusively made from brick and adobe.
  • For a brief while, Stearns tried using Eucalyptus instead of Douglas Fir for pile replacement. The trial failed miserably.
    • The wharf has had three major fires, been damaged by boats and even lost a 100-foot section to a water spout.
  • Stearns Wharf is 2,300 feet long and has an area of 3.8 acres and is supported by 2,307 piles.

  •  Historical photos credit: Edson Smith Photo Collection
    Aerial photo credit: Chris Bell
    The Stearns Wharf Merchants Association represents the merchants and business owners on Stearns Wharf. Stearns Wharf is located at the end of State Street between East Beach and the Santa Barbara Harbor. For more information, visit

Stearns Wharf