Sometimes it is difficult to recognize the location in an old photograph because the landscape has changed so radically. This photograph is a prime example. It was taken in 1910, at a point just north of China Cove and the William G. Kerckhoff Marine Laboratory in Newport Harbor, looking toward Irvine Terrace. Today the shoreline and hillside are crowded with houses, making it difficult to see any landmarks visible in the 1910 photograph.
The pier – now long gone – was Corona del Mar’s lifeline to the outside world. When George Hart bought 706 acres of Corona del Mar from the Irvine Company for $106,000 in 1904, the contract required Hart to construct a pier in Newport Harbor. One might wonder why the Irvine Company would be concerned with a pier. The answer was probably that the best land route to Corona del Mar was through the Irvine Ranch and presumably the company did not want residents and perspective buyers crossing their land. So, visitors and residents of Corona del Mar had to take a ferry, Flora, from the Balboa Pavilion to the Corona del Mar Wharf. This would be the case for nearly two decades, until Coast Highway open through Corona del Mar.