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Coffee With Joan – March 26, 2020

Coffee With Joan

Joan Sullivan is a Artist, Historian & Author. She is a classically trained artist who discovered a love of history through painting who produced “Picture the Past,” a monthly show featuring local ranches and other areas of historical interest which aired locally for over 10 years. Find out more at

March 31, 2020

Richard Stuart Otto, Founder of Baywood Park, built the first Baywood Park Pier between the 1930s and 40s. This pier had a floating dock at the end of it that extended 180-feet out into the bay on First Street just south of the present-day pier. It was referred to as the Duck Pier because of the many duck hunters that came to the area to hunt and fish. The popularity of the pier created a need for buildings on the waterfront.

Through neglect and little or no maintenance the pier was later declared hazardous by the Army Chore of Engineers. After it was dismantled, pilings from the original pier could still be seen at low tide for many years.

A second pier was built in the 1940s at the end of El Moro, a hundred feet east of the present pier. Boats were tied up and rented.

Zelle Diefenderfer, known as the Queen of Baywood Park and a founding member of the Baywood Park Women’s Club, was put in charge of renting the boats by Mr. Otto. She told me she had a bell set up in her house so that when help was needed with the boats, it would ring and she could make herself available and tend to the situation.

She also sold groceries to visitors and shotgun shells to the hunters.

A third pier was built by local residents between the end of First and Second Street before 1955. It was eventually removed because of its flimsy construction.

A fourth pier was 1955. Richard Otto offered to match every dollar raised by the Chamber of Commerce. When enough money was raised it was built. This was the beginning of the current pier.

In 1975, County Supervisor Elston Kidwell was concerned about repairing the pier and $1200 was received by the County Revenue Sharing Committee for the project.

In 1983 a storm destroyed the pier. To purchase the materials, Baywood Park Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Baywood Park Business Committee formed a group and raised $5,628. Local businesses and tradesmen donated time and money to rebuild the pier.

The county waived construction and building fees.
Today the pier is maintained by the Baywood Navy.
And that’s another story.

Reference: Tim Frein, Commodore of the Baywood Navy

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