History of The
Redington Long Pier
The Redington area was formed in the early 1930s
when Charles Ezra Redington purchased the land from David Welch, who at
the time, owned most of the land from Johnís Pass to Indian Rocks Beach.
In 1935, Redington built his first permanent residence in what is now
The wooden fishing pier
jutting into the Gulf was a common sight along the beaches during
the postwar era. At one time, eight piers were counted in the
Redington area. The Redington Long Pier in Redington Shores is the
lone survivor today. The Pier cost $200,000 when it was
constructed in 1962 by Charles Redington.
Erine Torok, an Ohio
native, took a vacation to Florida in 1962 to experience some of
the marvelous fishing he had heard about. This was just in time
when the Redington Long Pier had just been completed two months
earlier. Torok was fascinated by the pier structure, which
stretched 1,021 feet into the Gulf of Mexico. Six years later,
Torok and his wife Wilda sold their dog shop and bought the Pier.
Torok then added the bait house, restrooms, and shelters.
On December 27, 1985, the Pier lost 300 feet when a runaway 250
foot-long barge carrying 5,000 tons of rock plowed into the end of
the wooden pier structure. Fortunately, no one was injured after
this incident. Within the same year, Torok was able to repair the
pier as well as elongate and widen the end of the pier structure.
Torok himself has caught
flounder up to 7.5 lbs, grouper up to 14 lbs, jackfish over 20
lbs, redfish up to 43 lbs, kingfish up to 43 lbs, cobia up to 54
lbs, and even jewfish up to 450 lbs. Torok also caught many
tarpon, the last of which is still mounted on the wall by the bait
house today. The Redington Long Pier has been home for Torok until
he died. People of all ages still come to the Pier today and gaze
at the memorable sign Torok hung at the Pier entrance which reads:
The Gods do not subtract from the allotted span of menís lives
the hours spent on fishing.
After Torok died in 1998, the
management of the Pier then fell into the hands of AmSouth Bank, in
which the Pier began to become badly neglected. Torokís wife Wilda
visited the Pier after Hurricane Gordon, and was appalled by its poor
condition. After seeing how much the Pier had been run down in the two
years since AmSouth took it over, Wilda considered suing AmSouth for
negligence. However, shortly after, the Pier was sold as is in its poor
condition, taking it away from the hands of AmSouth.
After the Pier being badly
neglected for two years, the Redington Long Pier was bought by the
Antonious Family. The Antonious Family went through so much to rebuild
the Pier after AmSouth Bank let it become run down by major hurricanes
and tropical storms.
In order to save the pier, the
new owners has spared at no expense in seeking to preserve this 49
year-old landmark. As a duty to the town, the owners felt obliged to
take out over $2.3 million dollars in loans to complete additional major
renovations and replacements on the entire pier structure. The Antonious
Family hired an engineer to put together a major renovation plan. Over
the last 10 years, repairs and replacements took place as the new owners
had changed more than 40 piles, 2,600 bolts and nuts, 35 beams, 100
cross brassings, and 3,000 boards. The Antonious Family is committed to
daily maintenance of the Pier as well as continuing to work do all that
they can to keep the Pier safe for the public. The Antonious Family
appreciates all the community support as we all together strive to
preserve this soon-to-bee historic landmark, which will be
remembered for future generations to come.