100 YEARS: The wharves of our country are frequently presented in black & white photos, or sped-up old films, and the people strolling along them are rocking bustles and big flowery hats and bow ties. It's a reminder that the late 19th century and early 20th were enterprising times when it came to developing boardwalks and coastal play places, and shipping spots, too. One of the best-known of the wharves, or at least instantly recognizable for West Coasters, is the one at Santa Cruz. Yep, it helps that the Giant Dipper frequently appears in the background when the wharf is snapped (though not for the first decade of the wharf's life, given that the famous wooden coaster is ten years younger). But the wharf can stand on its own, without recognizable landmarks in its vicinity. It's provided port to plenty of ships over the years, including steamships, and it was the location of a freight warehouse. In fact, the watery stalwart has seen plenty of active duty over its first century, in short, and the city is ready to pay tribute to Santa Cruz Wharf on the occasion of its 100th birthday throughout 2014.
THE BIG BASHES... will arrive in the fall, with fireworks and commemoration ceremonies, but you can get your history on much earlier than that, given that centennial celebrations and talks and such are set to dot the 2014 calendar. A chat at the Santa Cruz Museum detailing the history of the wharves -- there've actually been a few at Santa Cruz -- is set for Saturday, Feb. 1, and a jazzy concert will roll in March. And Santa Cruz Harbor? Well, that's not going to be left out of the convivial doings; it gets a 50th anniversary shindig in April. Wharvian buffs'll find puh-lenty to do throughout the year, truly. Or you can always head down and stroll the landmark, at any time, and ponder its pretty storied past. Surely there are some Santa Cruz residents who've seen it all, and may recall its early construction. Fabled times, indeed.