Posters and Puzzles
Old Orchard Beach Pier
Three versions of the Pier were constructed by people and modified by nature. The first, 1,770 feet (540 m) long, was built of steel in 1898. When the ribbon was cut on July 2, 1898, it was a “global cultural icon,” at 1,825 feet the longest steel pier in the world, created by Berlin Iron Bridge Co. at a cost of $38,000. At its end was the Pier Casino, a ballroom with room for 5,000 dancers. Shortly after its completion a storm reduced its length by 150 feet (46 m). It was rebuilt, but 10 years later, after another storm, the pier was shortened to 700 feet (210 m) and the Casino was moved. In the interwar period, the Casino hosted such acts as Guy Lombardo, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Xavier Cugat and Frank Sinatra. After the war Old Orchard became somewhat downscale, becoming known as a destination for blue-collar partygoers. A fire in 1969 destroyed Noah's Ark, the two carousels, the Whale's Mouth, the Mine Ride, and the Jack and Jill slide. The Casino was demolished in 1970. The current incarnation of the pier was built in 1980 after being destroyed by a blizzard in 1978. The current structure stretches 500 feet (150 m) into the Atlantic Ocean. The wooden walk way is lined with souvenir shops, carnival-style foods, and a night club at the end of the pier.
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