Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
San Pedro, Los Angeles, California
The site, at the southern end of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, on the west side of San Pedro Bay, was used by Spanish ships starting in the 1540s. Regular settlement began in 1769 as part of the effort to populate California, although trade restrictions encouraged more smuggling than regular business. When Mexico won its independence, the trade restriction were lifted, and the town flourished, and under United States control after 1848, the harbor was greatly improved under the guidance of Phineas Banning, and San Pedro became a major port of the West Coast.
In 1888, the War Department took control of a tract of land next to the bay, and added to it in 1897 and 1910. This became Fort MacArthur in 1914, and was a coastal defense site for many years. Many other facilities were established in the San Pedro area, and it was a popular port of call for U.S. Navy ships.
In 1906 the city of Los Angeles annexed a long narrow strip of land connecting the city to the coast, and in 1909, the city annexed San Pedro and the adjacent town of Wilmington. The odd shape is still seen in the map of the city.
Port of Los Angeles
Main article: Port of Los Angeles.
San Pedro and Wilmington are the locations of the Port of Los Angeles.
Locations of interest
The Los Angeles Maritime Museum , largest maritime museum in California, is here, as is the museum ship SS Lane Victory , a fully operational victory ship of World War II and National Historic Landmark. Another San Pedro landmark is the Vincent Thomas Bridge, a 1,500-foot long suspension bridge linking San Pedro with Terminal Island, named after California Assemblyman Vincent Thomas. The Frank Gehry designed Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is also in San Pedro. The Korean Bell of Friendship is a massive bronze memorial bell donated by South Korea in 1976 to the people of Los Angeles.
San Pedro was a magnet for European immigrants from various countries for years, reflected in the number of restaurants representing diverse cuisines, especially Portuguese, Croatian, Italian and Greek.
- Charles Bukowski, author and poet, lived there in his later years.
- The Minutemen, influential and eclectic punk rock band, formed there.
- Art Pepper, Jazz saxophonist, born and raised there.
- James Hahn, Los Angeles Mayor, current resident.
- Elmer Batters, nylon/foot fetish photographer.
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