Touching the continent’s end wasn’t enough for the founders of L.A.’s beach communities. The boosters of Santa Monica, Hermosa Beach, Malibu, and Venice had to push a bit farther. The piers they built were for the pursuit of pleasure—fishing in the early morning, ripping around on a thrill ride, or licking a chocolate cone that, here above the surf, garnished with the salty tang of the breezes, approached paradise. Many of these piers, packed with rides and amusements, were our Disneyland before there was one. Today the Santa Monica Pier continues the tradition, its Ferris wheel cresting over the horizon. Malibu also remains as it has since 1905, reaching into the sea as waves crash against its lattice of pilings.