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SUNDAY STORY:Our 14 wonders

Newport-Mesa is known for them -- whether famously or infamously -- and many are can't-miss sights.

April 29, 2007|By Amanda Pennington and Alicia Robinson

"The history of the place is what's important, which goes along with the whole area really…. It kind of gives a little quaint feeling down here," Black said. "It's neat. I like it that way."

PEARSON'S PORT

300 E. Coast Highway, Newport Beach

It may not be an iconic landmark that can be seen for miles, but Pearson's Port has been a mainstay in the Newport Beach fishing industry for 35 years.

The small shop, bolted down to a dock under the Pacific Coast Highway Bridge, has had for 35 years some of the freshest fish, lobster, shrimp and crab available — and those who shop there get to know the fisherman who caught it.

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Tom Pearson goes out fishing from Mexico to Monterey about five days a week, weather permitting. His wife, Terese Pearson, holds down the fort, weighing out the goods for customers.

San Clemente resident Charlotte Off said she's hooked on the place. She originally came for the store's fresh seasonal lobster but quickly came back to buy live shrimp — something in high demand.

"It's the freshest fish I've ever had, plus I come in because Terese and Tom are such a kick…. You walk in there and they treat you like family," Off said.

The small shop has evolved over the last three decades, originally being just a walk-up shop built and run by Tom Pearson's dad.

"Our goal is just to continue serving our community," Terese Pearson said.

Now it has a roof that doesn't leak and tanks full of live rock crab, fresh snapper, halibut, salmon, octopus and harpooned swordfish — all caught in the Pearsons' boats.

One thing that hasn't changed over the years is Mother Nature, and the weather determining whether it's ice or seafood that fills their tanks, Terese Pearson said.

"She still has her own agenda," she said, laughing.

ROBINS HALL BELL TOWER, NEWPORT HARBOR HIGH SCHOOL

600 Irvine Ave., Newport Beach

After June 22, Newport Beach will be without what is perhaps its most visible landmark — one that has towered over Newport Harbor High School for 77 years.

The Robins Hall bell tower once served as a landmark for sailors, but now because it was deemed seismically unsafe, the landmark will be torn down.

But it's not the end of an era, Newport Mesa Unified School District Assistant Supt. Paul Reed said. A new bell tower will be built, but the designs are quite similar to the building that stands today.

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