Special Reports

The evolution of Avila Beach

Here's a view of Front Street and the hills where Unocal's oil tank farm once stood. You can see how the town was transformed when the tank farm shut down and the town was razed and rebuilt. These photos were taken by Tribune photographer David Middlecamp.

Click a thumbnail to see a larger image.

In 1996 ...

Unocal's oil tanks loomed large over the town before the excavation.

In 1998 ...

After the underground oil spill was discovered, Unocal began removing the tanks.

In 2000 ...

The tanks — and most of the downtown — are gone. The seawall is rebuilt.

In 2010 ...

Nearly the entire town has been rebuilt since Unocal cleaned the contamination.

See more photos: Gallery: Avila Beach through the years

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