Pacific Ocean Park closed in 1967, six months before my family moved to Los Angeles.
I was jealous of my friends from elementary school who had been able to experience POP before it closed. To a seven year old boy, it sounded amazing.
Here's a map showing the size and layout of POP from a souvenir brochure.
Sea Serpent roller coaster and Union 76's miniature Ocean Highway
the International Promenade - a mini-world's fair section
Fisherman's Cove section
a final aerial photo of POP and surrounding community
A couple summers ago, I was with my own kids at the beach at Ocean Park and realized that we were standing just a few feet from where this huge seaside amusement park once stood. It's not as if there is something "better" in it's place - today, it's just beach and parking lot. Kind of sad. POP was actually owned by CBS - several of their TV shows were filmed there, including an episode of the old "Get Smart" series. POP closed in Fall of 1967. The photo below is very similar to the view we had from our home: POP closed but still intact.
It took several more years for fires to finally destroy it. The remaining debris and pier pilings were removed in the mid '70's.
I found the website: http://pacificoceanpark.tripod.com/ really helpful in terms of information on POP - and these photos. I also really enjoyed the book Venice California 'Coney Island of the Pacific' by Jeffrey Stanton (it's available for loan in the L.A. Public Library system). It's simply incredible to think 1/10th of the current population of Los Angeles was able to support three large amusement piers within a couple miles of each other.
Looking out to where POP once stood and seeing nothing but empty beach, I'm reminded of our own very brief lives and James 4:13&14- "Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes"
(originally posted 5/11/08)