Narrow-guage railroad from Port Harford carried ship goods to San Luis Obispo.
Children play at the Avila school house while workmen at left pose for the picture in this undated image. This Avila Beach school was built in 1912.
Photo courtsey San Luis Obispo County Historical Society
Avila Grocery store circa 1925. Photo courtesy of Harold and Nadeen Martin. Copy photo by Laura Dickinson
1960s circa Fossil Point
Tanker at the oil pier in the 1960s.
Sunbathers next to the wall listen to a transistor radio, with oil tanks in background, in Avila Beach in 1964.
Kids play on the merry-go-round at Avila Beach in 1964.
Surfer making the most of an ankle slapper wave in Avila Beach in 1965.
Avila Beach in 1965.
Construction of bridge across San Luis Creek at Avila Beach circa 1966. Pacific Coast Railroad truss bridge No. 5 in background as well as Union Oil tanks.
A lifeguard watches over the crowd at Avila Beach in May 1968. David Ranns/Telegram-Tribune
1969 flooding in Avila Beach. Photo by Michael Raphael
Avila Beach tank farm in November 1994. Photo by Robert Dyer
Contractors skim oil from a pool excavated at Avila Beach near San Luis Creek in this photo from December 1995. The yellow rope with reflective ribbon was to keep bird from landing in the goo. This excavation revealed to the public that a limited excacation would not be possible. Photo by David Middlecamp
Unocal tanks demolished in Avila Beach in December 1997. Lennie Scheck takes down an oil tank that was built in 1924 at Avila Beach. The 1/2-inch steel walls will take two days to demolish; it took two months to build.
Angel Riloquio, bar manager at Mr. Rick's Bar in Avila Beach, walks by a mural paid for by Unocal to upgrade the look of Front Street in March 1998. Photo by David Middlecamp
Bill Price, owner of Beachcomber Bill's, stands in front of his store in August 1998. Photo by Jayson Mellom
Norma Bennet stands in front of her home in Avila Beach in August 1998. Photo by Jayson Mellom
Sandi Thompson of Fresno orders lunch at the Custom House, her favorite restaurant in Avila Beach, in August 1998. Photo by Jayson Mellom
Kevan Hensman of Bakersfield takes a photo of Joan Smith, from Templeton, and Dennis Kimmerle, from Atascadero, in August 1998. Photo by Jayson Mellom
In September 1998, Shirley Goetz holds a T-shirt she designed commemorating the last day of the Lighthouse. The shirts sold out immediately. Photo by Robert Dyer
Judy and Ken Davis of Bakersfield make regular trips to Avila just to go to the Lighthouse. In September 1998, they said they're sorry to see it close. Photo by Robert Dyer
Evelyn Phelan plans on packing away glassware and collectables, but says she'll stick around for the the construction happening just across the street from her home at First and San Miguel Streets in Avila in September 1998. Photo by Robert Dyer
Gil Hernandez, left, talks with Ramona Gast in September 1998 about the housing problems caused by Unocal's cleanup of Avila Beach. Ramona is holding aerial photos of Avila to give to her neighbors.
Greg Jones, kitchen manager for Mr. Rick's, wheels restaurant equipment down the street for cleanup and storage. At left, a sign in the window of Cafe Avila bids farewell. Mr. Rick's last business day is Monday and they will say goodbye with a barbecue and potluck. David Middlecamp 10/9/98
Seen in the window of Mr. Rick's in October 1998: souvenir T-shirts. Photo by David Middlecamp
Archaeologists sift the sandy soil for ancient Chumash artifacts at the old tank farm in October 1998. Photo by Robert Dyer
Archaeologist Kaylee McRae sifts the sandy soil for ancient Chumash artifacts at the old tank farm in October 1998. Photo by Robert Dyer
Archeologists surveying the Avila Beach tank farm look for evidence of ancient Native Americans in October 1998 under the watchful eye of Lei Lynn Olivas-Odom, a representative of the Northern Chumash Council monitoring the site. Photo by Robert Dyer
Mr. Ricks in Avila Beach gets a send-off from a crowd of patrons spilling out onto front Street on its last night in October 1998. Photo by Robert Dyer
Mr. Ricks' last night in October 1998. Photo by Robert Dyer
Jeremy Burns, left, and Robert Tol with Whitaker Construction set up a detour sign at the corner of First Street and San Miguel Street in Avila Beach in October 1998. Behind them crews work to cut pavement over water lines. Photo by David Middlecamp
Trucks dump sand on the beach in November 1998 as a buffer against winter erosion. Photo by Jayson Mellom
Ramona Gast takes a picture of the mobile home destruction in Avila in November 1998. Photo by Jayson Mellom
The Avila Lighthouse and Beach Pub is torn down in November 1998. Photo by Jayson Mellom
Avila locals and members of the media line up to watch the destruction of stores along Front street in Avila Beach in November 1998. Photo by Jayson Mellom
A construction worker stands with his hands in his pockets as a mobile home is destroyed in Avila Beach in November 1998. Photo by Jayson Mellom
Construction crews expose pipeline at the west end of Front Street in December 1998. Photo by Robert Dyer
A rainbow appears in December 1998 as an Avila Beach Fire Department truck sprays water on an excavator demolishing the old Avila Cafe and Mr. Rick's building on Front Street. Photo by Robert Dyer
A project worker watches as an excavator smashes the windows of the old Mr. Rick's building during demolition in December 1998. Photo by Robert Dyer
Test runs were conducted in Avila Beach in January 1999 with a 350-ton articulated dump truck (it can bend in the middle). Trucks like this were loaded with excavated soil and trucked to the top of the hill to the former tank farm. Photo by David Middlecamp
Rick Foss, a surveyor with Cannon Associates, had to put on a wetsuit to take measurements at Avila Beach in January 1999. They were measuring the movement of beach sand for studies connected to the work Unocal was doing to clean up oil contamination. Photo by David Middlecamp
A construction worker helps install a huge tent at Avila Beach in January 1999. Photo by Jayson Mellom
Contaminated sand tent in Avila Beach in January 1999. Photo by Jayson Mellom
On his way to the beach in February 1999, Dale Berry hops over a newly placed barrier. The wall is part of Unocal's project to clean up a 400,000-gallon toxic soup of petroleum products bubbling beneath the coastal town. Photo by Jayson Mellom
An excavator dumps dirt into the back of a truck as the digging begins March 1, 1999. Photo by Robert Dyer
Workers begin digging contaminated soil near the corner of First and San Juan Streets in Avila Beach in March 1999. Photo by Jayson Mellom
Workers with VPS Inc. skim oil that has floated to the surface of water in the excavation hole in March 1999. Orange booms contain the contamination and keep it away from the clean soil being backfilled. Photo by David Middlecamp
An excavator demolishes a house at San Miguel and First streets in Avila Beach in April 1999 while a firefighter keeps a flow of water on the rubble to reduce the risk of fire. Photo by Robert Dyer
Leslie Torres, left, catches some some sun at Avila Beach while John Anderson closes a valve on the beach as trucks of contaminated soil move up the hill in 1999. Photo by David Middlecamp
Workers put up a fence along San Luis Creek in April 1999 to keep people off the beach as construction work expands.
Leanna Rodriguez,left, waits on Bob Lewis at the Avila Grocery in May 1999. Photo by Jayson Mellom
Gerard Parsons photographs the Yacht Club as it is moved from its spot in 1999. Parsons helped build the Yacht Club in what he called "a labor of love." Photo by Jayson Mellom
The Avila Beach Yacht is moved from its spot. Photo by Jayson Mellom
The Avila Yacht Club goes over the bridge in May 1999. Photo by Jayson Mellom
Workers continue to dig up Avila Beach, as seen in this view from the bridge looking south in June 1999. Photo by Jayson Mellom
John VanHouten, an engineering consultant from Orange County, checks the noise levels at Avila Beach in 1999. Photo by Jayson Mellom
Avila Beach resident Susie Johnson tells Unocal security personnel why she is upset about "looky-loo" traffic on San Antonio Street in 1999. Photo by Robert Dyer
Avila Beach in June 1999. Photo by Robert Dyer
Construction crews inspect the Avila Grocery building after it was moved about 30 feet in August 1999. The sidewalk along Front Street is at left. Photo by Jayson Mellom
Avila Beach from the air as Unocal construction continues on Front Street in 1999. Photo by Jayson Mellom
By mid-October 1999, cleanup work was 85 percent complete, according to project managers at the time. Photo by Jayson Mellom
Bill Epstein, left, of San Luis Obispo and Hy Weiser of San Luis Bay Estates do a little sidewalk supervision of Unocal's Avila Beach project in 1999. Photo by David Middlecamp
Most of Front Street is demolished in this image from November 1999. Photo by David Middlecamp
Construction crews prepare forms for pouring concrete at the pier landing area in Avila Beach. David Middlecamp 2/2/00
Cen-Cal workers move the Avila Grocery store into its new spot along Front Street in 2000. Photo by Joe Johnston
Ceramic artists Ginny Vreeland, left, and Tres Feltman check the fit on their hand made tiles in the observation deck of the Front Street Plaza in 2000. Photo by David Middlecamp
Michael Kidd, who owned the Inn at Avila Beach, stands on his roof overlooking the town of Avila in August 2000. Photo by Jayson Mellom
Avila Pizza Pantry, shown in 2002, a laundromat and apartments are among the last of six buildings that Unocal will demolish in Avila Beach. Photo by David Middlecamp
The Avila Beach Pizza Pantry gets demolished in April 2002. Photo by Joe Johnston
Martin Resorts' Avila Lighthouse Suites, in its beginning stages of construction in 2004, on the north end of Front Street. Photo by Joe Johnston
Construction on Martin Resorts' Avila Lighthouse Suites continues along Front street in 2005. Photo by Joe Johnston
The Avila Grocery building, at 356 Front St., under construction in June 2005.
Ray Bunnell, one of the owners of the Avila La Fonda hotel, stands on the scaffolding with painter Hugh Slayden in 2007. The mural, which took about two weeks to paint, is supposedly the largest in the county. Photo by Laura Dickinson
People enjoy Avila Beach during a nice, warm Memorial day weekend in 2007. Photo by Laura Dickinson
Beachgoers take in the rays at Avila Beach in 2009. Photo by Joe Johnston