Three versions of the Pier were constructed by man and modified by nature. The first, 1,770 feet (540 m) long, was built of steel in 1898. At its end was the Pier Casino, a ballroom with room for 5,000 dancers. Shortly after its completion a storm reduced its length by 150 feet (46 m). It was rebuilt, but ten years later, after another storm, the pier was shortened to 700 feet (210 m) and the Casino was moved. In the interwar period, the Casino hosted such acts as Guy Lombardo, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Xavier Cugat, and Frank Sinatra. After the war Old Orchard became somewhat downscale, becoming known as a destination for blue-collar partygoers. A fire in 1969 destroyed Noah's Ark, the two carousels, and the Jack and Jill slide. The Casino was demolished in 1970, and a storm destroyed what was left of the pier in 1978. The current incarnation of the pier was built in 1980 and can be seen here
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By: kjfitz


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