SS Palo Alto




SS Palo Alto was a concrete ship built as a tanker at the end of World War I. She was built by the San Francisco Shipbuilding Company at the U.S. Naval Shipyard in Oakland, California. She was launched on 29 May 1919. Palo Alto was mothballed in Oakland until 1929, when she was bought by the Seacliff Amusement Corporation and towed to Seacliff State Beach in Aptos, California. A pier was built leading to the ship in 1930, and she was sunk in a few feet in the water so that her keel rested on the bottom. There she was refitted as an amusement ship, with amenities including a dance floor, a swimming pool and a café. She was a popular site for recreational fishing, but eventually deteriorated to the point where she was unsafe and she was closed to the public in 1950. Following an attempt at restoration in the 1980s, she reopened for fishing for a few years, then closed again. The fishing pier opened to foot traffic once again in the summer of 2016, but later closed for repairs.

I was lucky enough to have walked on to the cement ship when I first moved to Santa Cruz in the 1990’s, while it was still open to the public. Now, with every big storm, it crumble more and more into the sea. This drawing is from the cliff above, a place I would sit and eat my favorite pizza (Pizza 1) and watch the birds and lights of distant Santa Cruz flicker on as the sun set into the Pacific. This 8 inch by 8 inch print comes in a black 12 inch by 12 inch mat ready for framing.

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Print Sizes

8 x 8 Matted (Black) Print