Week 135: San Pedro

June 24, 2018

Walking L.A. #36, San Pedro: Make Way for Gentrification, 3 miles 

Say "San Pedro" and I think "cargo port," but the history of this area at the south end of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, goes waay back. The first Spanish land grant granted in Alta California in 1769 to one of Portola's foot soldiers, San Pedro hit its stride after the first breakwaters connected Rattlesnake Island to Deadman's Island in 1871, forming the beginning of Los Angeles Harbor, eventually the #1 port in the nation. Barbara and I started our hike at the Maritime Museum, the former terminal for auto ferries to Terminal Island before the Vincent Thomas Bridge—(in pic #3 below) behind WWII battleship USS Iowa BB-61—made ferry boating to the island obsolete. Taking in the chilly, seaside air and surrounded by sea gulls, stacks of cargo containers piled in the distance, ships of all sizes docked along the harbor, and boy scouts boarding a ferry for camp, we checked out maritime artifacts (a torpedo, an anchor, a truly scary diving bell) outside the museum, stopped at the very cool American Merchant Marine Veteran Memorial sculpture, then headed up 6th Street into Historic San Pedro. Galleries, shops, restaurants housed in old buildings including the historic 1931 Warner Grand Theater. Circling down to 7th Street's art galleries, we headed back for the real reason we chose this hike today: to say goodbye to Ports O' Call, the charming New England-style seaside village that was once a huge tourist attraction. Sadly, eviction notices hung on the few buildings still standing on the cobblestone path, the last to be destroyed to make room for the new San Pedro Public Market. But the fish markets are still open (OMG, what a selection!) while fishing boats and schooners sleep lazily along the shoreline. Nothing like a deep breath of sea air and the sound of sea gulls to erase stress!

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