Thursday, March 31, 2011

March in San Pedro: Part Two

March in San Pedro: Part Two

15 March:

1905: Three rescued from San Pedro yacht Owl off Santa Barbara; crowds watch from wharf as heavy seas prevented rescue for 5 hours; southeast gale destroys every structure on Pismo Beach

1906: Articles of incorporation filed for the Harbor City Savings Bank of San Pedro headquartered in San Pedro, California (No. 45,682; $25,000 capital stock)

1930: Tornado hits Los Angeles and suburbs north of San Pedro; 150 homes lose their roofs; 7 people injured


1954: 100 Red Cross campaigners tour submarine, USS Sawfish (SS-276), at Terminal Island (USCDL, examiner-m22884); the SS-276, a veteran of WWII, was assigned to Naval Reserve training at San Pedro in May 1947; the ship costarred in The Pharmacist's Mate (1950) episode of the Pulitzer Prize Playhouse TV series with Brian Donlevy and “starred” in the 1957 TV docudrama series The Silent Service (see review by The Subcommittee)—costars included the 1960s TV icons Russell “The Professor” Johnson, DeForest “Bones” Kelly and Leonard “Spock” Nimoy; the Sawfish was decommissioned on 04/01/960

16 March:

1889: Passage of A.B. 217 providing for the appointment of pilots at Wilmington and San Pedro

1892: Los Angeles Times (03/16/1892a) summarizes Banning Company improvements at Catalina: the old steamer Falcon is being rebuilt to carry 200 passengers and there will be daily runs from San Pedro after July 1; the Hotel Metropole is being repaired and will reopen in mid June; a 90’ diameter Avalon dance pavilion with an encircling porch is under construction; engineers have improved the water and sanitary conditions; town will be surrounded by fence to keep out stray animals; wharf has had “extensive repairs” and trees are being planted

1892: LA is rife with speculation over planned purchase by Messrs. Carnicle and Hines of Timms Point in San Pedro; unknown backers to pay Mrs. Timms $50,000 ($1.23 million in 2009 dollars using the consumer price index; $9.69 million using the production worker compensation index) by May 1; San Pedro requires a certified check for $10,000 be deposited as bond to receive wharf and tunnel franchise (proposed half mile tunnel to be built under the bluff between Stingaree Gulch and Timms Landing); speculation favors view that purchase is a move against the Southern Pacific by the Santa Fe  (Los Angeles Times, 03/16/1892, p.8; 03/18/1892, p.10) Note: No tunnel was ever built


1900: World Heavyweight Champion, James J. “The Boilermaker” Jeffries (later pegged as “The Great White Hope” when he came out of retirement for the racially charged “Fight of the Century” with the black World Heavyweight Champion, Jack “Galveston Giant” Johnson—see the fictionalized 1970 movie) takes a break from preliminary training in San Pedro for his upcoming bout at Coney Island’s Seaside Arena with former champion James J. “Gentleman Jim” Corbett (Jeffries wins by a knockout in the 23rd round on 05/11/1900) to visit Catalina (Los Angeles Times, 03/17/1900; Piotrowski, 09/30/2010)

1905: Joseph L. Bristow, appointed Special Commissioner for the Panama Railroad and Steamship Company by President Roosevelt, inspects San Pedro for inner and outer harbor improvements needed prior to opening of canal; after inspection, Bristow declares “What a great harbor this will be when the dredging is completed” (Los Angeles Herald, 03/16/1905, p.14; 03/18/1905, p.6)

1905: Another severe storm (see March 12) hits the Los Angeles basin; LA streets flooded; phone and telegraph wires down; rail and streetcar lines closed; French seaman, Louis Legrande (of the Philadelphia coal ship Bangalore under Captain P.B. Blanchard), drowns in San Pedro outer harbor when small skiff is swamped (Legrande had climbed down from the Bangalore to steady the rowboat while Captain Hamilton boarded the ship); Avalon policeman, George Willett, and wife are still missing and believed lost due to prior storm—young couple were in a rowboat off the island when gale hit (Los Angeles Herald, 03/17/1905, p.1; p.4)

1922: Woman shoots husband, Claude M. Hatfield, and self at the Mason Hotel in San Pedro; police also find bootlegging equipment in the late San Pedro restaurateur’s room and note a from his wife to “My dear boy” at the Robal Inn that her husband was back but “everything is all right”; James P. “dear boy” Parker admits only “mere acquaintance” with Mrs. Hatfield; coroner concludes murder/suicide without inquest or autopsy (Los Angeles Times, 03/17/1922; 03/18/1922)

1924: Joint Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and police raid on the IWW; Police squad with drawn guns raids the IWW hall during an Oil Workers Industrial Union meeting; the police order a line-up on the 2nd floor while the Klan trashes the 1st floor (see March 01)


1936: Time magazine report (Time, 03/16/1936) on the 03/01-04/1936 strike aboard the Panama Pacific Line’s SS California (17,833 tons; built 1928; largest commercial ship built in the United States; world’s largest ship with electric propulsion) in San Pedro focuses on the colorful and superficial (passengers and celebrity couple, Adele Astaire and Lord Cavendish; officers threatening arrests for mutiny; seaman calling Secretary Perkins from Long Beach butcher shop; evening gowned Secretary of Labor negotiating with strikers from a phone booth); the SS California strike, led by Joseph Curran, marked the declining influence of the International Seamen’s Union and led to the founding of the National Maritime Union (see also Sapiro and Frank, 1936)

1942: U.S. Navy buys the yacht Cameo (140.7”x23’7”; 8’10” draft; originally built in 1927 at Bay City, MI) from G.L. Machris at San Pedro, California; converted for naval service as a patrol and guard ship and renamed Andradite; serves in San Diego and San Francisco; decommissioned at San Pedro on 01/08/1946 (DANFS)

1952: 30-foot retaining wall in San Pedro collapses on home at 321 W. 3rd St.; sleeping 2-year-old Gloria Ramirez unharmed when her bedroom wall is destroyed (along with the porch and bathroom) (USCDL, examiner-m9729)

17 March:

1803: The Lelia Byrd (the 1st American ship to visit San Pedro; 175-ton brig; 14-24 guns; crew of 17-24; Captains/owners: William Shaler and Richard J. Cleveland) anchors in San Diego; forbidden attempt to buy otter skins results in the “Battle of San Diego” (see Hudson, 1907; Pourade, n.d.; Crawford, 2008; Ogden, 1975)


1863: LA business man, Patrick Joseph McDonald, is born on St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland; McDonald receives his artisan license at age 18 and moves to Chicago (moving to San Diego after 6 years and to Fresno in 1889); in 1895 McDonald moves to San Pedro, California to be superintendent and estimator for the San Pedro Lumber Co. (see January 12); in 1900 McDonald bought the Los Angeles Planing Mill Co. and moved to LA; the company plant at 5th and San Pedro streets burned down on 07/28/1902; only one third of the loss (estimated at $60-75,000 or $9-11 million in 2009 dollars using the GDP per capita index) was insured; the family owned business reincorporated in 1905 with $200,000 in capital stock—building a new 60,000 square foot mill; a couple years later the business expanded into general building and contracting (Los Angeles Examiner, 1912; pg. 263; San Francisco Call, 07/28/1902)

1870: J.W. North distributes circular in Knoxville, TN promoting establishment of Riverside Colony in San Bernardino County

1883: Captain Hackett reports the San Pedro main channel will be dredged to 16’ on the bar by 07/01/1883

1887: Small-pox epidemic: Dr. James Simpson, State Board of Health, declares Los Angeles badly infected with small-pox (40 cases within 4 weeks); Board will post station inspector at port of San Pedro to inspect steamer passengers from LA; Angelenos consider actions unnecessary and object to intrusions by the state (XXX; Los Angeles Times, 03/17/1887) (see March 13, 18 and 19)

1892: Samuel Segrave, chief engineer of the San Pedro excursion steamer Falcon, dies at age 56 of a stomach hemorrhage (Sacramento Daily Union, 03/17/1892)


1900: Report from San Pedro on the Japanese abalone divers near Whites Point published in the Los Angeles Times (03/17/1900); swimmers wear watertight goggles “made of very thin cow’s horn” and use a 2’ long wood handled chisel to detach abalone from rocks—diving 20’ below the surface; it takes 1-2 hours to fill a sack, after which the diver takes a break to restore his body temperature (by 1901 the hard helmets and insulated suits pioneered by Japanese divers in Monterey were in use); the dried abalone meat sells for 40 cents/lb. ($10.50 per pound in 2009 dollars using the Consumer Price Index); Japanese fishermen began the abalone cooperative at Whites Point in the 1890s (Japantowns); another group called “Seo” started an abalone farm at White Point in circa 1901 and in March 1901 (or circa 1898?) 12 Issei employees of the Southern Pacific railway quit the railroad and move from LA to San Pedro to become fishermen (Five Views); when California passed legislation in 1905 banning Japanese from the abalone industry, the White Point fishermen moved to San Pedro, Terminal Island and Wilmington; California abalone fishing goes back 5-7,000 years, but the commercial fishery was established by the Chinese using shoreline pole-fishing in the 1860s-1870s and were replaced by Japanese “saki-barrel” divers (so-called because they used the barrels as floats to rest on between dives) and “hard hat” divers in deeper waters (Cox, 1962; see also Edwards,1913)


1933: Formal dedication of newly completed Admiral Leigh Gymnasium at southeast corner of 10th and Palos Verdes in San Pedro; the 2,000-seat, 85x100’ gym was built by Los Angeles YMCA (see also March 20) for army and navy servicemen at cost of $13,500; program includes speakers, basketball game (USS Vesta vs. USS Tennessee) and music sponsored by the Apollo Club; elimination games for the fleet’s basketball championship will be played nightly for the next 10 days (Los Angeles Times, 03/17/1933, pg. A14)

1952: Rare litter of 12 (average is 6-8) pedigreed Boxer puppies born at Dolphin and Paseo Del Mar in San Pedro to dam Loualad “Ginger” of Dolphin and sire Prince of Wilmington (USCDL, examiner-m9886)

1960: Berth 200A Wharf Fire; $1 million damage

18 March:

1887: State health board members return to LA from San Diego (Los Angeles Times, 03/18/1887) (see March 13, 17 and 19)

1934: Old-time square-rigger, the Pacific Queen (formerly the Star of Alaska), arrives in San Pedro to carry University of California scientists on natural history research mission


1992: After 6 years, the Los Angeles Yacht Club decides to quit waiting for Phase 2 redevelopment of Cabrillo Marina (since 1986 the club had an agreement with the Port of Los Angeles to move from Terminal Island to Cabrillo as soon as Phase 2 was completed) and move back to San Pedro as soon as possible (the club left its 22nd street area anchorage 70 years earlier—see March 01); LAYC opens the new Whaler’s Walk clubhouse on 02/06/1993; Fish Harbor facilities are closed on 04/17/1993 (LAYC) (see also March 03)

19 March:

1868: Groundbreaking in Wilmington for the 1st railroad line in LA County, the Los Angeles & San Pedro (see October 26; January 29; February 01, 06 and 21)

1887: LA small-pox cases now number 45 with 9 deaths; inspector appointed at San Pedro is quarantining everything from LA that “looks the least suspicious” (3 packages currently held); Drs. Orme and Tyrrell return to LA from San Pedro; Dr. G.G. Tyrell, secretary of the State Board of Health, returns to Sacramento on 03/21/1887 from the trip to southern California and reports that as of 03/19/1887 there were 31 current cases in LA (XXX; Los Angeles Times, 03/19/1887) (see March 13, 17 and 18)

1893: Jury takes 40’ to find San Pedro fisherman, Giovanni del Aguila, guilty of assault with a deadly weapon, but headline says “Convicted of Assault to Murder” (Los Angeles Times, 03/19/1893)

1905: Power sloop Leone, under Captain Swensen, returns to Terminal Island after crawfishing camp on Santa Cruz Island is destroyed by storm (quarters, fishing gear and catch lost) (Los Angeles Herald, 03/20/1905, p.9)

1922: San Pedro business property values lag behind those of Long Beach (by 30%), Hollywood (53%) and Pasadena (46%) in study by Security Trust and Savings Bank; most valuable lot in San Pedro is at the southeast corner of 5th and Beacon in the old business center (2nd is in the new business district at the northeast corner of 6th and Palos Verdes); today both locations are mostly parking lots (Los Angeles Times, 03/19/1922)

20 March:

1889: Governor Waterman signs A.B. 217 providing for the reappointment of pilots and defining their duties and compensation at the port of Wilmington and San Pedro Bay

1889: United States Hydrographic office, Washington, D.C., gives notice of important changes to buoys and beacons in San Pedro harbor (Los Angeles Times, 03/09/1889)

1893: two non union sailors arrive in San Pedro on the steamer Corona for the barkentine Eureka but are “unceremoniously hustled ashore by a crowd of union sailors from the shore”; Associated Press reports rumors that union men will board ship tonight to gag watchman and kidnap the entire nonunion crew; Captain Brenner, of the Eureka, goes to LA for the sheriff because San Pedro police won’t protect him; on 03/23/1893 Victor Holinquist is arraigned on charge of having, along with 7 others, induced the seamen to desert the Eureka; bond is set at $400 (Los Angeles Times, 03/21/1893; 03/22/1893; 03/28/1893)


1901: San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad incorporation papers filed in Salt Lake City, Utah ($25 million capital stock); President: Senator W.A. Clark of Butte, MT; 1st Vice President: R.C. Kerens of St. Louis, MO; 2nd Vice President: J. Ross Clark of Butte, MT; 3rd Vice President: T.E. Gibbons of Los Angeles, CA; Secretary: T.F. Miller of Los Angeles, CA; Treasurer: F.K. Rule of Los Angeles, CA


1904: Disabled steamer Grace Dollar (638 tons; built for Robert Dollar of the Dollar Steamship Company by Fulton Iron Works, San Francisco; launched on 05/07/1898; see also Prather, n.d. and Moss, 1991) is towed to San Francisco from San Pedro; ship had lost propeller outside Astoria, Oregon, been towed to port and loaded with lumber, then towed by the tug Astoria from Oregon to San Pedro, where it was unloaded before being towed to San Francisco for repairs (Original source?)

1905: Los Angeles Examiner (03/20/1905, p.4) warns Angelenos that county division act passed by the state legislature may be a scheme by railroad interests to gain control over the harbor by extracting San Pedro and much of the coastline from LA County

1912: Father Patrick J. McGrath is assigned the Mary Star of the Sea parish in San Pedro (after serving in LA, Florence, Downey and Riverside); Father McGrath was born on 11/06/1873 in Ireland, moved to New York at age 16 (studying at Brooklyn for 5 years and in Canada for 9), and ordained as priest for the Los Angeles and Monterey diocese on 06/09/1906; after serving the San Pedro community for 7 years, Father McGrath is transferred to Our Lady of Angels in San Diego (McGroarty, 1921; pg. 138)


1921: Los Angeles Times (03/20/1921) reports 1st direct shipment of California citrus fruits is in route to England (10 carloads of oranges and 100 boxes of fancy lemons); fruit left San Pedro for London via the Panama Canal on the Holland-American liner Eemdyke; 


1922: LA Harbor Chamber of Commerce president, C.J. Colden, receives telegram that $500,000 of YMCA funds are available to build an Army and Navy YMCA in San Pedro (see also March 17) if LA raises $180,000 and local residents raise $20,000; harbor area businessmen will meet next week to plan raising of local contribution (Los Angeles Times 03/21/1922)

21 March:

1943: U.S. Navy oiler Neches (AO-47; launched 10/11/1941; commissioned 09/06/1942) arrives in San Pedro; leaves 4 days late, fully loaded with fuel for the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor; returns a week later and leaves after 10 days to refuel 13 ships in Alaska; returns to San Pedro in late December and takes on a 3-month supply of fuel for ships at Pearl and the Marshall Islands;  on the way back to San Pedro she strikes a mine off the California coast on 05/18/1944 (repairs at San Pedro took 2 months, including 2 weeks in dry dock); she returned to Pearl and joined the convoy for the Eniwetok Atoll and then the Admiralty Islands; on 08/29/1945 she became the first oiler to enter Tokyo Bay, returning to San Pedro on 10/31/1945; the Neches received 9 battle stars for her WWII service (DANFS; History Central)

1952: Rare mountain ducks from the Peruvian Andes quarantined in the Customs Free Trade Zone of San Pedro; ducks imported by local youth for amateur ornithology experiment (USCDL, examiner-m9951)

1967: Prior to his release at 8:15 am for completing his 10-year sentence, 32-year-old Charles Manson begs authorities at FCI Terminal Island, San Pedro to let him remain in prison (request denied); later in the day he asks permission to go to San Francisco (permission granted); while he in San Francisco’s Haight-Asbury district the “Manson Family” is born (see March 14)

22 March:

1891: San Pedro gossips are all agog over antics of well-dressed young runaway couple who arrived on 03/22/1891 from San Bernardino; couple decided to elope when girl’s “hard-hearted parents” objected to prospective groom; justice of the peace and multiple preachers refuse to marry underage girl despite long tearful tale; desperate couple spends the next day trying to hire a tug to take them out for a marriage at sea but all refuse because the weather’s too rough; suspicious Deputy Sheriff Anderson telegraphed San Bernardino Sheriff and is awaiting a reply (Los Angeles Times, 03/24/1891)

1893: Respected San Pedro Justice of the Peace, 65-year-old J.M.S. Johnson, commits suicide in barn with pistol shot to the head for an unknown motive (but financial difficulties are assumed); act committed a few hours before he was to appear in court to make an accounting of his guardianship of the person and estate of Eddie Anderson, a minor (Los Angeles Times, 03/23/1893)

1902: New steamer Hermosa (150’ long; 28’ beam; 14.25’ depth of hold) launched by Wilmington Transportation Co. on Terminal Island to replace the old steamer of the same name hauling freight and passengers between San Pedro and Avalon


1928: Commissioning ceremonies for LAFD Fireboat No. 3 (38’4” length; 10’2” beam; 800 gpm pump capacity); boat was launched by the Fellows and Stewart Shipyard in Wilmington on 03/15/1928; decommissioned on 07/28/1967

1932: Admiral Frank R. Schofield, Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. fleet (commenting in San Pedro on recent war games off the California coast), announces that battleships are still supreme and the future of the Navy relies on surface ships not airplanes (see February 04, 22, and March 10)


1936: 25 planes greet the explorer Lincoln Ellsworth (05/12/1880-05/26/1951) on arrival in San Pedro from Australia after he completed the 1st trans-Antarctica flight in the Northrop Gamma Polar Star (Model 2B; built in Inglewood, California in 1933; donated to the Smithsonian Institute in April 1936); successful flight of 2,200 miles with pilot Herbert Hollick-Kenyon, from Dundee Island at the NE tip of the Antarctica Peninsula to Little America on the NE edge of the Ross Ice Shelf (1200 miles were over previously unexplored territory thereafter claimed by the United States), was his 3rd attempt; leaving on 11/23/1935, the pair had to make 4 stops and endure multiday storms on the ice before running out of fuel 16 miles from their destination on 12/04/1935; 11 days later (on 12/15/1935) they finally reached Little America by foot on their 3rd attempt; a month later (on 01/16/1936) they were recovered by the expedition’s ship, the Wyatt Earp


1941: Movie star James Stewart (05/20/1908-07/02/1997) begins life as a private in the U.S. Army at Fort MacArthur, San Pedro, California; sworn in with 41 others at the induction station on 3rd street in LA, Stewart is assigned as squad leader, and the new recruits take the Pacific Electric bus to Fort MacArthur (watch the United News and Universal newsreels—see also the efootage version); the 32-year-old Steward was originally drafted in 1940 but was rejected because he was 5 pounds under the minimal standard of 148 lbs.; after working with a trainer, he tried to enlist in the Army Air Corp twice before he was accepted; Stewart left the service as a colonel after flying 20 bomber missions over Germany; he became a Brigadier General in the Air Force reserve on 07/23/1959 (Wikipedia; Los Angeles Times, 03/24/2011; Jimmy Steward Museum

23 March:

1891: Pacific Fish Company begins operations at San Pedro and Wilmington; W.S. Spencer will manage enterprise for consortium of Eastern capitalists; operations established in an old warehouse at former railroad terminus in Wilmington; most San Pedro area fishermen have contracted to deliver catch at a set price and company expects to hire several hundred for processing operations (Los Angeles Times, 03/22/1891)

1921: Charges against San Pedro grocer, John Boganoff, for violation of Volstead Act dropped when prosecution witness, Louis Reyes (who claimed to purchase whiskey from Boganoff), admits to being on parole for previously stealing a barrel of wine in San Pedro and Professor Arthur R. Maas testifies that whiskey purportedly purchased by Reyes did not match the whiskey in Boganoff’s home (Los Angeles Times, 03/24/1921)

1922: Missing 17-year-old Ida Sadler found with 2 soldiers in San Pedro; she 1st tells the tall tale of a kidnapping and escape but later admits she was just tired of school, “I wanted excitement, so I decided to run away and go to San Pedro for a good time” (Los Angeles Times, 03/24/1922, p. II10)


1934: US Coast Guard B-class cutter USCG Hermes (WPC-109; 165’ length; 25’3” beam; 7’8” draft; originally designed to follow liquor-smuggling mother ships beyond U.S. territorial waters during Prohibition) arrives at new home base in San Pedro (launched on 02/23/1932 and transferred to San Pedro on 02/17/1934); assigned to Bering Sea Patrol in 1939, she is again based in San Pedro during WWII (assigned to WESTSEAFRON for anti-submarine and search & rescue patrols—also for escorting convoys along the west coast); moving across the bay to the 11th Naval District, Long Beach, on 09/11/1945, the Hermes left California for Hawaii in 1947 before being decommissioned on 11/02/1948

1945: Troops embarkation: Los Angeles, CA (Long Beach); General Leroy Eltinge; 23rd Signal Construction Battalion; units of SACO (Naval Group China); Red Cross workers; unescorted to Melbourne; Calcutta, India (via 2 day stop in Melbourne, Australia)


1953: “Former President Harry S. Truman, having left office just two months earlier, visited Los Angeles Harbor on March 23, 1953 and left a couple of days later. He and his family arrived in Wilmington aboard the SS President Cleveland, on their way to Hawaii.” (Dennis Piotrowski, 10/25/2009)


1956: Boy Scout Explorers explore rigging on 42-foot drydocked barkentine, Porpoise, on “Adventure in Advancement Day” at the Cabrillo Beach Explorer Base (USCDL, examiner-m22037)

24 March:

1868: After much opposition, the bond measures to fund the Los Angeles and San Pedro railway (see March 10) is barely passed by the city and county of Los Angeles; LA City final vote:  297 For, and 245 Against; LA County final vote: 700 For, and 672 Against

1889: Los Angeles Times (03/24/1889) reports on San Pedro men, women and children frolicking in the surf to collect cargo flotsam from the downed coal ship Respigadore

1892: Initial reports of sailor troubles in San Pedro: Captain N.M. Harding of the America fires all of his crew after unloading cargo and taking on ballast at San Pedro; discharged crew members all belonged to the Coast Seamen’s Union; crew stays on ship anchored in the roadstead 1.5 miles from shore; steamer Corona arrives on 03/25/1892 from San Francisco with new nonunion crew; they are met on deck by old crew and armed union members from San Pedro; one union man is injured (by pistol blow to head or grazed by bullet); unable to return to the Corona because its captain ordered his men to shoot the first man who stepped aboard, the new crew leaves with the old crew and the union men in boats waiting alongside; union men fire a victory salute as they leave; Deputy Anderson goes to LA for warrants charging old crew with mutiny; 20 men believed arrested (Los Angeles Times, 03/26/1892a; 03/26/1892b) (see March 25, 26 and 28)


1917: 14” diameter gun-tube (weighing 110,000 pounds) for the new “state-of-the-art” port fortifications at San Pedro’s Fort MacArthur (established 10/31/1914) are a “tourist attraction” at the downtown LA yards of the Salt Lake railway; when each gun arrived in San Pedro it had to be slowly and painstakingly snaked up San Pedro hill (sometimes moving only a few feet in a day) to the Upper Reservation using housemover dollies which left increasingly deep gouges in the pavement; the land for the Upper Reservation had been purchased in 1910 from William G. Kerckhoff and George H. Peck for $249,000—about $31.6 million in 2009 dollars using the nominal GDP per capita index; the four 14” gun-tubes were mounted on disappearing carriages at Batteries Osgood-Farley and Leary-Merriam (built at a cost of $462,788, or $83.4 million in 2009 dollars using the relative share of GDP index); each of the 14” guns could fire a 1,560-pound projectile 14 miles; the number 2 gun at Battery Osgood-Farley was mounted on 06/30/1917 and by the time the number 1 gun was installed on 07/31/1923 the installations were already obsolete; the big guns were rarely fired, due to the damage they caused to San Pedro homes and businesses, before they were cut up for scrap in the mid 1940s  (Fort MacArthur Museum; Thornton, 2010; Fort Wiki; CSMM; Berhow, n.d.)

1918: Elliot & Horne Co. of LA to build giant (one block square) workingman’s hotel at Beacon and Santa Cruz streets in San Pedro for shipyard employees; 3-story building to have 292’ frontage with stores on Beacon and a capacity of over 1,200 residents (at 2 per room); completed plans include 1,000-seat dining room, billiards and pool hall, reading room, barber shops, bowling alleys, social hall (70x90’) and clubrooms; construction is expected to begin in 2-3 weeks (Los Angeles Times, 03/10/1918; 03/24/1918) (see March 07)

1922: Los Angeles Times reports (03/24/1922) “Pig” Earley, of the USS Arizona, conned by pretty girl; young flapper promises date if young gob (sailor) buys magazine subscription; arriving at the agreed San Pedro meeting place, Pig finds 6 more sailors (with the same tale) but no girl

1943: USS Lesuth (AK-125; ex William M. Gwin; launched 04/17/1943; commissioned 11/01/1943) is laid down by California Shipbuilding Corporation, Wilmington, California; leaves San Pedro with a full load of cargo on 11/14/1943 (DANFS)

1952: San Pedro cats at 3702 Dolphin St. use fish bowl for water dish—ignoring goldfish (USCDL, examiner-m10052)


1955: San Pedro Community Ballet to perform three original ballets at Dana Junior High School (USCDL, examiner-m18995)


1956: Mother (52) and daughter (35) reunited in San Pedro after 26 years; daughter was placed in an orphanage at age 9 and told her mother was dead (USCDL, examiner-m22004)

25 March:

1830: William Wolfskill becomes a naturalized Mexican citizen; leaves from San Pedro on visit to the United States in January 1832

1857: Phineas Banning (of Banning & Wilson) wines and dines U.S. military (Col. Thomas T. Fauntleroy, Pacific Division commander; Col. Soward and lady; Major Lee; Capt. Jones; Lieutenants Saunders and Allston) and local notables (Capt. Stevens, Collector of the Port; Judge Hartley of Yolo County; Capt. Seely of steamer Senator; and LA businessmen) at San Pedro (Los Angeles Star, 03/28/1857, p.2)

1892: San Francisco reports of Sailor troubles in San Pedro: Non-union crew of 18 sailors (escorted by Deputy U.S. Marshal Charles Thorrald) for the whaling tender America arrives in San Pedro aboard the steamer Corona (left San Francisco on 03/22/1892); greeted by boats of the Coast Seamen’s Union the new crew leaves the America and are charged with desertion; some union sailors try to board the Corona but are driven back (one is clubbed on head and cut in 2 places, another is shot in neck); union men deny charges that they shot 30 rounds at the America after the fight; warrants are sworn out for incitement to mutiny; Deputy Marshal Thorrald and the Corona return to San Francisco on 03/30/1892 with tales of the troubles; the crewless America remains at anchor in San Pedro (San Francisco Call, 03/24/1892; 03/26/1892; 03/31/1892) (see March 24, 26 and 28)

1893: Coroner’s inquest concludes crushed and severed remnants of an unidentified man run over by a train in LA to be a San Pedro Portuguese fisherman accidentally killed while stealing a ride home between 2 boxcars after a day’s recreation in town (Los Angeles Times, 03/24/1893; 03/25/1893)


1903: The Wireless newspaper is established on Santa Catalina Island; 1st newspaper in the world to receive all of its press notices by wireless telegraph (Western Electrician, 04/25/1903, pg.29; 06/27/1903, pg.503; Brick and Clay Record, 05/1903, pg.213; Williamson, 1903)


1905: San Pedro receives a Carnegie grant of $10,375 ($204,000 in 2009 dollars using the GDP deflator index) for a new public library (opened 06/05/1906); designed in the Classical Revival style by architect H.V. Bradbeer and/or the firm of Edelsvard and Saffell; the library was recognized by the American Library Association for its service to ships during WWI; in circa 1922 the building was lowered and received a new foundation and partial basement when (Beacon street is lowered and/or) the Harbor Blvd. cut removed half the hill beneath it (reducing Plaza Park to a mere sliver); the library moved to a new building in 1924; the structure subsequently housed the Chamber of Commerce and then the Seamen's Library before it was demolished in 1966—replaced by the neglected Maritime Industry Memorial (whose remnants are currently used as “housing” by the homeless) (Carnegie Libraries; PCAD; McKinzie, 2007)


1915: U.S. submarine F-4 (SS-23; ex Skate; 142’7” long; 15’5” beam; 12’2” draft; laid down 08/28/1909; renamed F-4 on 11/17/1911; launched on 01/06/1912; commissioned 05/03/1913; assigned 1st Submarine Group, Pacific Torpedo Flotilla, San Pedro; moved from San Pedro to Hawaiian waters in August 1914) sinks in 51 fathoms off Honolulu after battery explosion; entire crew of 21 dead; rescue hopes shattered on 03/xx/1915 when F-4 slips chains and re-sinks after being raised 50 feet; 5-hour deep sea dive record set seeking remains; ship finally raised on 08/29/1915 using pontoons; investigating board concludes corrosion of battery tank’s lead lining allowed sea water to seep into the battery compartment, resulting in a loss of control (F-4 also had a battery explosion on 03/06/1915); hull crushed when ship strikes a coral reef and inner shell of oil tanks collapsed due to inferior design specifications  (Pigboats; NavSource NavyHistory)

1957: EEC established

26 March:

1886: Washington, D.C.: San Pedro Bay ordered resurveyed to plan outer breakwater to create deep water port; House version of pending river and harbor bill includes appropriations of $85,000 for “Wilmington” improvements (Los Angeles Times, 03/28/1892)

1888: City of San Pedro incorporated (see March 01)

1892: San Pedro sailor troubles: Seven of the America’s original 18-man crew are brought to LA from San Pedro and charged with mutiny (charges are later dismissed) and held on $2,000 bail each in the LA County Jail; further troubles in San Pedro are expected after union sailors threaten longshoremen if they continue ballasting work on the America; one of the charged crewmen, James Charles Lindsell, corrects early accounts of the San Pedro incident: crew 1st told they were discharged when Deputy Marshal Anderson arrived in the evening of the 24th to escort them off the ship; they agreed to leave at 6 am the following morning so they wouldn’t arrive in a strange town at night; Anderson returned with a lighter in the morning while they were still packing; by the time they were ready to leave the lighter had left to make room for the Corona which had arrived with the new crew; when the new crew boarded and were told of the situation (old crew signed on for $40/month and new crew for only $25/month—$973 vs. $608 in 2009 dollars using the consumer price index) they left with the old crew on the lighter which had moved to the other side of the ship; some sailors from ashore tried to board the Corona but quit after a warning shot and one of them was struck on the head with a pistol by a petty officer (Los Angeles Times, 03/27/1892) (see March 24, 25 and 28)

1902: Walter Louis Davenport (born in Soquel, California on 10/20/1867) marries Maude Saunders of Valle Vista; Davenport began work in the lumber industry at age 16 in a Santa Cruz sawmill; after working in San Francisco for 12 years Davenport visited San Pedro in 1903 and decided to stay; joining the Lumber Surveyors’ Association of Southern California in September 1903 he was made its East San Pedro agent in January 1904 (Guinn, 1907, Vol. 2; pg. 1,564)

1918: San Pedro Marine Band performs for the opening of the inaugural meeting of the Motion Picture War Relief Association (Motion Picture World, Vol. 30?)


1954: San Pedro's community ballet dancers will “'whirl off into space” in performance of Dark Star at high school auditorium; ballet costumes will include “fantastic creations” for a space rocket trip to Mars (USCDL, examiner-m20413)

1956: 500 Girl Scout Mariners hold annual Easter week training in seamanship at Cabrillo Beach (USCDL, examiner-m22423)

27 March:

1865: Banning and his partners (trustees of the LA Pioneer Oil Co.) receive all rights, titles and interests to any and all Brea, petroleum, rock oil, and other oleaginous substances in the Rancho San Pasqual (of Pasadena?)

28 March:


1888: Bank of San Pedro ($50,000 capital stock) articles of incorporation filed; Directors: George H. Peck, Jr., C.K. Drane, James Cuzner, G. Esleman, and William G. Kerckhoff

1892: San Pedro sailor troubles aftermath: Two more union sailors are arrested at San Pedro on charges of inciting to mutiny for inducing the nonunion crew to leave the America; in LA court the mutiny charges are dismissed from all 9 but they are still held on bail for conspiracy to detain the vessel; charges of desertion against 12 members of the new crew (also arrested in San Pedro) are dismissed when Captain Harding learns they did not leave willingly; ballasting work on the America is postponed due to bad weather; on 03/29/1892 the Sheriff receives request for a posse to guard longshoremen during renewed ballasting; several deputies will arrive in San Pedro on 03/30/1892 (Los Angeles Times, 03/29/1892; 03/30/1892) (see March 24, 25 and 26)


1903: Former Mary J. Short, wife of Wilmington hardware merchant Peter Carl Peterson, dies in Wilmington, California; Peterson (born in Copenhagen, Denmark in1863) immigrated to the U.S. at age 31 in 1867; after living in Philadelphia and Cincinnati, Peterson served 5 years in the 5th U.S. Calvary at Camp Grant, AZ then moved to Wilmington, California and worked for the Banning Brothers and Southern Pacific companies for 6 years; Peterson bought several Wilmington residences for rental income and invested his earnings in several ranches; in 1905 Peterson built on Canal Street the 1st “modernly constructed” (balloon frame?) 2-story building in Wilmington (Guinn 1907, Vol. 2; pgs. 1,604-1,605)

1915: 65-year-old Mrs. Minerva Morris of LA is killed in a hit-and-run accident at 53rd and Moneta avenue; 5 years later, Mrs. Euphrasia Van Camp publicly accuses her husband, Frank Van Camp (head of the Van Camp Sea Foods Co. in San Pedro), of the crime in her divorce suit; due to the statute of limitations, Van Camp cannot be prosecuted for manslaughter unless he had been out of California for over 2 years; Van Camp denies actually hitting anyone on their drive from San Pedro to LA and blames the then Miss Molle (now his wife) for their racing away from the scene; eye-witness accounts appear to support the wife’s charge (Los Angeles Times, 03/05/1920)


1915: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (1913-1920; appointed by Woodrow Wilson), visits the San Pedro submarine base and goes for a “joy ride” in K-7 (SS-38; launched 06/20/1914 at Union Iron Works, San Francisco); submerges to 60’ and spends 30 minutes under water (New York Times, 03/29/1915; U.S. Navy, 1915, Vol. 9, pg. 27)

29 March:

1897: San Pedro and Santa Monica report the strongest gale known in many years

1905: 1 am fire in San Pedro cigar store (Allen & Bailey’s) at 5th and Beacon spreads to adjoining businesses (including W. Hunter & Co. haberdashery, R.X. McArthur real estate, and 2nd floor lodging house); three 2-story wooden buildings destroyed ($8,000 partially insured loss); 3 people severely burned: 2 delivery/messenger boys, Fred Hansen (died 6 hours later) and Joaquin Christensen (recovery expected), and rescuer Fireman C.H. Alexander (hands were severely burned) (Los Angeles Herald, 03/29/1905, p.1; 03/30/1905, p.1)

1909: Los Angeles Consolidation Committee formed to develop plan for consolidation of San Pedro, Wilmington and Los Angeles and creation of the Los Angeles Harbor

1917: 4th Company, Coast artillery, Artillery Corps re-designated the 1st Company at Fort MacArthur; re-designated 1st Company, Coast Defenses of Los Angeles on 08/31/1917

1943: 10 Waves report for duty at San Pedro as communications specialists


1945: Attack transport USS Niagara (APA-87; launched in Wilmington, CA on 02/10/1945 by Consolidated Steel Corp.) commissioned at San Pedro, California (NavSource; DANSF)

30 March:

1867: Alaska Purchase Treaty signed; United States agrees to pay Russia $7.2 million

1911: Dead man discovered alive in San Pedro; Lewis L. Thornton had identified the body of a suicide as his own then disappeared, but he is discovered alive in San Pedro by the police when he reappears to claim his lost dog; real identity of suicide remains unknown (New York Times, 03/31/1911)

1942: Lt. General DeWitt issues Civilian Exclusion Order No. 2; all Japanese Americans and resident aliens are ordered out of the San Pedro and Long Beach area by 12 noon on Sunday, 04/05/1942; voluntary evacuation ends and forced exclusion begins—the next step will be forced internment (see also February 25)

31 March:


1899: 1st of the barges for transporting stone from San Clemente and Catalina to San Pedro for breakwater construction is launched in San Pedro; largest vessel of its kind ever constructed on the Pacific coast

1916: Los Angeles Times (03/31/1916) reports conviction of San Pedro laundryman, Zing Lee, for smuggling 3 Chinese contrabands; Lee was the last of 265 defendants prosecuted by office of Charles T. Connell under the anti-smuggling law (office achieved over 90% conviction rate with at least 1 or more defendants convicted in every case—though Woo Wei was released on appeal by a precedent-setting ruling forbidding conviction through entrapment); federal courts are now free of Chinese smuggling cases for the 1st time in years

Also in March:

1806: Juan Jose Dominguez (of Rancho San Pedro) owes the Santa Barbara Presidio 300 pesos (to be paid in tallow or cattle)

1854: Expenditures by Lt. E.O.C. Ord (see March 5) exceeds the U.S. Coast Survey’s budget for fiscal year 1853/54

1855: Fare from San Francisco to San Pedro: $25; Fare from San Pedro to Los Angeles: $5 ($128 in 2009 dollars using the consumer price index or $1,920 using the production worker compensation index)

1862: All troops drilling at Camp Latham transferred to Camp Drum, Wilmington

1863: Francis Mellus (see March 04 and 09), business associate of Alexander and Banning, and W.T.B. Sanford (Banning’s brother-in-law, contractor and partner of George Carson in cutting the San Fernando pass 9 years earlier) are appointed commissioners to assess the new toll road through the San Fernando Pass (see December 28) ) (HSSC Quarterly, 1948, pg. 117)

1887: John Wilkinson Buckley (born 11/01/1864 in Martinez, California) is hired by the San Pedro Lumber Company of San Pedro at age 23 (after 4-5 years as a ranch hand in Contra Costa and 5 years as a street car conductor in San Francisco); by 1895 Buckley is promoted to yard foreman and in 1896 he is elected to San Pedro’s board of trustees, serving as President for 4 years; Buckley also served on the county central committee of the Republican party and was a member of the F&AM San Pedro Lodge No. 332, the Oddfellows, the Knights of Pythias, and Royal Arcanum, Buckley and his wife, the former Anna Ott of Antioch, California, lived at 125 Orizaba Street in San Pedro (Guinn, 1907 Vol. 1; pg. 920)

1902: Edward H. Bautzer (born 01/31/1876 in Linn, MO) appointed San Pedro Postmaster by President Theodore Roosevelt; Bautzer moved to San Pedro, California in circa 1898/99 and became the proprietor of the San Pedro News Company while also working as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times; Bautzer is a member of the Knights of Pythias and a charter member of the BPOE (Elks) San Pedro Lodge 966 (Guinn, 1907 Vol. 2; pgs. 1,906-1,907)

1905: The San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad from Salt Lake City to southern California is completed; LA now has 4 transcontinental rail lines

1917: 1st regular army troops stationed at Fort MacArthur

1942: 23-year-old actress Carole Landis serves as USO hostess at the Convoy Cabaret (a restaurant near the San Pedro docks) for the crews of destroyers anchored in the bay (Fleming, 2005, pg. 124); after several failed marriages, affairs, and illnesses (caught entertaining troops in the Pacific), the gifted but critically ignored Landis commits suicide on 07/05/1948

1949: Union Oil Company Tank Farm Fire, Berth 129 (there was another one in February 1950)


1988: Fireboat No.4 (renamed Bethel F. Gifford; see The Fireman’s Grapevine, July 1961; April 1962) fights 300’ wharf fire at Berth 77 (off Nagoya Way at Ports O’ Call Village, north of the Restaurant); 26 fire companies and 4 additional fireboats fight blaze for 2 hours (loss estimated at $1.5 million; no injuries)


2000: Retired Los Angeles Fireboat No. 1 (commissioned 1919; $33,000; 65’ long; 17.7’ beam; 39.65 gross tons; 2,000 gpm pumping capacity; rechristened Archibald J. Eley in 1965), sinks in the Budd Inlet at Swantown Marina in Puget Sound, Washington and gets stuck in the mud; it was being used as a houseboat

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  2. I live at Beacon St. and I had a dream of solving homelessness in San Pedro. Starting with the "homeless" people that live close to the post office in Beacon. As I parked by what I saw "US Army and Navy Center" across the post office to drop off a VA survey, I searched online and came across this website. Interesting to note that this was an Army and Navy YMCA. It is beside to what I believe is the Department of Mental Health. Beacon is an interesting street, great valuable resource and I would like to be directed to the various houses (i.e. Beacon house and institutions and what their mission is.
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