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Bizarre Facts: Avast Ye, A Pirate Tower Has Been Spotted

LAGUNA BEACH — Victoria Beach in Laguna Beach is home to a not-so-small hidden gem called Pirate Tower. Although the tower does look mysterious and medieval, it was actually built in 1926. While that doesn’t exactly make it young, the tower is definitely not old enough for pirates to have used it. According to, the last pirate to cause trouble in California was in 1818 when Frenchman Hippolyte de Bouchard raided the Presidio of Monterey (a military base) on Nov. 20, 1818. As a result, the revolutionary has been called California’s only pirate.

Instead of being used by pirates, Pirate Tower was actually built for state senator William E. Brown and his family as a private staircase for beach access. The chateaus and castles of France inspired Brown’s wife Mary Eleanor while on a trip to Europe, and once they returned, the 60-foot tower was built to give Mary Eleanor her own little castle here in California. Although the tower strongly resembles a castle, the name “Pirate Tower” has been affectionately given by the locals

Inside the tower is a metal staircase allowing private access down to the beach. However, if you attempt to go inside, you’ll find yourself unsuccessful as it has been locked away from tourists and locals.

After the Brown family built the tower, the property ended up having multiple owners throughout the years. It was sold in 1940 to a retired naval captain, Harold Kendrick.

Kendrick was a lifelong pirate enthusiast and found himself lured to the home because of the tower’s odd, slightly askew shape. Records recall Kendrick as “eclectic and fascinating as the buildings themselves” and describe how he would dress in pirate regalia and invite local kids over for games and stories of the sea, according to

Winners of Kenrick’s puzzles and scavenger hunts received “cold cash,” the chance to grab a handful of money from a change bowl kept inside the refrigerator. The tower often appeared in Kendrick’s tales, and children hankering to buy candy knew to search the many cracks and crevices of the tower for slyly hidden coins. According to the Laguna Beach historic register, “finders were keepers.”

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One thought on “Bizarre Facts: Avast Ye, A Pirate Tower Has Been Spotted

  • Marilynn Taylor

    I saw this info on a Huel Howsers TV show in 2009. Very interesting!



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