VIDEO: Storms batter California landmark - Soundings Online

VIDEO: Storms batter California landmark

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SS Palo Alto has spent 87 years at Seacliff State Beach in Aptos, California, first as an amusement ship and then as a fishing pier. It has weathered many storms, but its future is uncertain.

The 420-foot ship has slowly deteriorated over the years. Last February, winter storms pushed it onto its starboard side and broke its stern open, and last month a storm tore the stern off.

CBS San Francisco said the ship was purchased from the Navy in 1929 by Seacliff Amusement Corp., which towed it to the beach in Aptos. In 1930 a pier was built leading to the ship, where she was sunk so her keel rested on the bottom. The ship was refitted as a family amusement site with amenities that included a dance floor, swimming pool and cafe.

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California purchased Palo Alto in 1932 and converted it to a fishing pier by adding cement to the superstructure and stripping her fittings. By 1950 the ship had become unsafe and was closed. It has since been occasionally open to the public, but last summer it was closed for repairs.