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SS Palo Alto was a concrete ship built as a tanker at the end of World War I. She was built by the San Francisco Shipbuilding Company at the U.S. Naval Shipyard in Oakland, California. She was launched on 29 May 1919, too late to see service in the war.
Since 1930, the Palo Alto has been a symbol of Santa Cruz County, sitting at the end of a pier that juts from Monterey Bay’s Seacliff Beach. During Saturday’s storm, the waves reached a record height: 34 feet. The pounding surf snapped a section of the Palo Alto nearest to shore from the rest of the ship.