Pier Fire Destroys Beach Resort In California
Abbot Kinney was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1850. At age 16 In 1874 he became rich in the tobacco business and moved to California in 1880. He was a conservationist who built the first forestry station in Rustic Canyon, California. In 1886 Kinney built a summer home in Santa Monica.
One of Kinney’s former partners sought to cash in on the area’s popularity and built Frasier’s Million Dollar Pier extending 1,000 feet into the ocean. It opened in July 1911 featuring the Starland Theater, a Crooked House and many rides, restaurants and amusements. It also featured Infant Incubators where premature infants received free care by trained nurses showing off the cutting edge medical technology not available in many hospitals.
On September 3, 1912 diners in the Casino restaurant noticed smoke as flames from the kitchen erupted through the roof. A strong late afternoon breeze fanned the flames and over 1,000 visitors fled the pier. The fire consumed the entire five city block business district. 700 fire fighters worked 3 1/2 hours before the fire was out. 225 structures burned, 2 people died, 75 people were injured and 800 people were homeless.