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Apr 13 2018

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Rio History: What Ever Happened To …

By STEVE HATHCOCK
Special to the PRESS

In the past few months I have had three people ask me about the “old” pier that was on the beach somewhere north on the Island.

The Gulfside Pier, which was situated in Andy Bowie Park some five miles north of the original Queen Isabella Causeway, was constructed by Cameron County Parks in 1962 and was originally leased to Rudy Kleinman.

Kleinman’s Pier, as it became known, extended 300 feet from the shore where it terminated in a 200 foot T-Head that stood in 18 feet of water.

The structure itself was 16 feet wide, except for an area used by the concession stand and office, which were 32 feet wide by 92 feet long. There was also a covered are with benches located under a roof composed of multi-colored asbestos tiles.

Kleinman lost his lease in 1968 for failing to properly clean and repair the popular fishing spot after Hurricane Beulah struck in 1967.

Over the next year, vandals destroyed the walls of the concession stand throwing the lumber into the gulf. Though there was mention of numerous fish being caught from or near it in 1977 I’m not sure if it ever regained its old popularity. Hurricane Alan struck in 1980 and pretty much wiped out the structure, though there were still some pilings in the water when I arrived in the early 1980s.

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