The SS Palo Alto has had a chequered career. I tend to find ships and boats have a spooky aspect to them and this is certainly one of them. To begin with, the ship was built of concrete. (That alone seems weird to me). It was out of luck from the very start of its life.

It was built in California during the First World War but wasn’t launched until the war ended so it was no longer required for its original purpose; a tanker. It was idle for the first ten years of its life but in 1929 was purchased by an amusements company and towed to the beach at Aptos, California.

There the ship was hoping for a glittering career in the amusement industry offering guests a café, a swimming pool, a dance floor and other popular amenities of the day. However, the unwanted concrete ship was out of luck as its owners went bust just two years later. The ship was abandoned and began to break up.

However, the State of California was the next owners and they did little with the ship other than strip her of all her fittings and just leave it alone.  But locals discovered that the ship was an ideal place for fishing and it soon became a popular fishing pier.

But we know that the ship’s luck just wasn’t going to last. By 1950, its condition had deteriorated further and the public was banned on the grounds of safety. Thirty years later, there was a stab at restoration but again, it was deemed unsafe. Exactly the same thing happened in 2016.

A storm that year, followed by another in 2017 has meant that the ship is breaking up yet again and by now, is beyond hope. However, it’s still a sight worth seeing and, let’s face it, decidedly spooky!

The photograph above was taken in 2012, before the destructive storms.

See the video below from 2017.

Sad, eh? Here’s the ship in its glory days.

palo alto 2


SS Palo Alto

Seacliff Dr,
CA 95003,


JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.
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