Four Points Bulletin

Travels north, east, south, and west of our Oceanside home base.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography was founded in 1903. It is one of the oldest and largest centers for ocean and earth science research. We signed up for a Scripps tour, which resumed just a few months ago post-pandemic precautions. The tour begins at the Nierenberg Memorial Rose Garden, where the longest standing director of Scripps, William Nierenberg, tended to his roses. Right next to the rose garden, located outside Nierenberg’s office, is the George H. Scripps laboratory, a National Historic Landmark. Not only was this building designed by the famous architect Irving Gill (who also designed Oceanside’s City Hall complex), it is the oldest oceanographic laboratory building in the United States. In the early 1900s, the upstairs was a lecture hall and the downstairs a public aquarium (long before Birch Aquarium was built at Scripps). Just a short walk from George H. Scripps, is the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier (George H. Scripps’ older sister). Ellen Browning Scripps is famous for her philanthropy, donating huge sums of money to Scripps Institution, the San Diego Zoo, the La Jolla Women’s Club, the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and the San Diego Natural History Museum (just to name a few). Not only did Ellen Browning Scripps secure the 170 acre parcel of land where Scripps Institution is located, she also bankrolled its early operating expenses, and she funded the original laboratory, the residence of the first scientific director, as well as the research pier. The Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier is the world’s largest research pier, and this is exactly where our tour today led us to. The pier is generally closed to the public due to its sensitive (and expensive) research equipment, so we were ecstatic that the locked gate was opened for this tour. When I volunteered up the hill at Birch Aquarium I looked out on the pier, not realizing that I would have the opportunity to walk on it. So many discoveries are a result of this pier, its seawater surface temperature monitoring program began in 1916, and is the only one in the Pacific Rim. From here, scientists measure plastic degradation, keep track of plankton in the water column, record aerosol in the air and currents in the water. They even observe ospreys. Hopefully in a few months Hubbs Hall will open up for tours and we can see where even more scientific discoveries are made.

2 thoughts on “Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier, La Jolla

  1. Denise says:

    Thorough, interesting, and envy inducing. FANTASTIC, all of it. Thanks Brady. Wow.

    1. Your turn next!

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