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Friday, March 14, 2008 Maritime Memories

San Pedro is south of Los Angeles annexed to the city in 1909. It's a working class town, with the Port of Los Angeles and its fishing industry.  It's not Hollywood Joe Hill was born and raised here. Live in San Pedro for a decade and you'll understand people do real work.  The town is Croatian, Portuguese, Mexican, Italian, and Greek home to the largest Italian-American community in Southern California, and also the heart of the Croatian community in Los Angeles, seafarers and fishermen from the Dalmatia.  The Croatians were there from the start.  Japanese immigrants pioneered albacore fishing out of San Pedro Bay and their harvesting of abalone off of White Point jump-started the local fishing industry.  Of course they were all tossed out during World War II off to Manzanar.  The bitter poet Charles Bukowski spent has last years in San Pedro.

But more than anything else the town is the sea. Here's the Los Angeles Maritime Museum Berth 84, at the foot of 6th Street, San Pedro, California converted from the 1941 Municipal Ferry Terminal, now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Los Angeles Maritime Museum - Berth 84, at the foot of 6th Street, San Pedro, California - clock tower
Los Angeles Maritime Museum - Berth 84, at the foot of 6th Street, San Pedro, California - ship propeller
Los Angeles Maritime Museum - Berth 84, at the foot of 6th Street, San Pedro, California - ship's bell from the WWII heavy cruiser USS Los Angeles
Los Angeles Maritime Museum - Berth 84, at the foot of 6th Street, San Pedro, California - ship's bell from the WWII heavy cruiser USS Los Angeles
Los Angeles Maritime Museum - Berth 84, at the foot of 6th Street, San Pedro, California - Deep Diving Sphere from 1949
Los Angeles Maritime Museum - Berth 84, at the foot of 6th Street, San Pedro, California - Deep Diving Sphere from 1949
Los Angeles Maritime Museum - Berth 84, at the foot of 6th Street, San Pedro, California - Deep Diving Sphere from 1949
Los Angeles Maritime Museum - Berth 84, at the foot of 6th Street, San Pedro, California - diver outfit in window
Los Angeles Maritime Museum - Berth 84, at the foot of 6th Street, San Pedro, California - prow of the WWII heavy cruiser USS Los Angeles
Los Angeles Maritime Museum - Berth 84, at the foot of 6th Street, San Pedro, California - prow of the WWII heavy cruiser USS Los Angeles
Los Angeles Maritime Museum - Berth 84, at the foot of 6th Street, San Pedro, California - ship's whe

Richard Henry Dana, the author of the famous memoir "Two Years Before the Mast," didn't live here, but he knew the place

    Two days brought us to San Pedro, and two days more (to our no small joy) gave us our last view of that place, which was universally called the hell of California and seemed designed in every way for the wear and tear of sailors. Not even the last view could bring out one feeling of regret. No thanks, thought I, as we left the hated shores in the distance, for the hours I have walked over your stones barefooted, with hides on my head, - for the burdens I have carried up your steep, muddy hill, - for the duckings in your surf; and for the long days and longer nights passed on your desolate hill, watching piles of hides, hearing the sharp bark of your eternal coyotes, and the dismal hooting of your owls.

San Pedro first middle school is named after him.

Louis L'Amour, the Western writer, in Yondering (1980), saying the worst times were when he was "on the beach" - on shore, in San Pedro, between ships and broke

    I slept in boxcars and under piles of lumber, and took jobs no one else wanted. I was 18 and looked 24. There were several times I went three and four days without eating. I didn't beg or steal, just went without. I'd like to recover for my readers what it's really like to be hungry. I have a penchant for stories about survival, lessons in survival. I've been a survivor most of my life.

That's San Pedro.

If you wish to use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me. And should you choose to download any of these images and use them invoking the "fair use" provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976, please provide credit, and, on the web, a link back this site.

Technical Note:

Photographs after March 3, 2008, were taken with a Nikon D200 or a Nikon D70 when noted. All previous photographs were taken with the D70. The lenses used are (1) AF-S Nikkor 18-70 mm 1:35-4.5G ED, or (2) AF Nikkor 70-300 mm telephoto, or (3) AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 55-200 mm f/4-5.6G ED. Photography here is modified for web posting using Adobe Photoshop 7.0.  The earliest photography in the archives was done with a Sony Mavica digital still camera (MVC-FD-88) with built-in digital zoom.

[Maritime Memories]

All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 - Alan M. Pavlik