Saturday, April 23, 2011

April in San Pedro: Part One

April in San Pedro: Part One


01 April:


1866: E.R. Erickson is born near Fahlm, Sweden; emigrates to Minneapolis, MN and learns the butcher trade before moving to San Pedro, California in 1889; in San Pedro he works for George Hinds and James Dodson, then J.L. Griffin; in March 1902 he (and partner Abbott) buys the market managed by Griffin; in April 1905 Erickson becomes sole proprietor of the San Pedro Market on Front Street near 5th  (Guinn, 1907, Vol. 2, pg. 1,905)

1887: Board of Health refuses to lift quarantine of ships from San Pedro due to the continued risk of a small-pox epidemic—despite local objections to the economic hardships imposed (see March 13 and 17-19)


1918: Construction begins on Southwestern Shipbuilding Company facilities (completed on 06/21/1918 in a record-breaking 78 days) at the southern end of Terminal Island (on the east side of the Main Channel across from the wholesale fish market and Southern Pacific Slip); company co-founded by William F. Howard and J.A. Talbot (who were also co-founders of the Western Pipe and Steel Co. in LA with Talbot and several others) in March 1918; 65-acre site includes about 50 acres of land raised above the high tide line with sand pumped from the bottom of the Main Channel (the area was originally part of the old sandbar between Rattlesnake and Deadman’s Island on which Lindskow built the first harbor breakwater almost half a century earlier in the early 1870s—see March 02); firm receives contract for twenty-three 8,000-ton ships for the emergency fleet corporation; the first ship, the West Carnifax, is launched on 10/19/1918 (keel laid 07/17/1918) and the second, the West Caruth (later sold and renamed MV Seisho Maru), on 12/31/1918; the yard continued to operate on a reduced scale after WWI but the yard area was reduced with the extension of Seaside Avenue and the widening of the Main Channel in the 1920s; on 01/01/1922 it was bought by Bethlehem Steel (or leased in 1921 and bought in 1925?) which added a 15,000-ton sectional design floating dry dock transferred from the old Union Iron Works of San Francisco; Bethlehem continued to expand and modernize facilities up through WWII;


The facilities were extensively remodeled during the cold war and were sold to Southwest Marine, Inc. of San Diego in 1981 (or 1983?) after the demise of the American steel industry in the 1970s; POLA’s plans to demolish Southwest Marine, one of LA’s “most prolific screen icons” (see also Teamster Local 399 NewsReel, May 2009) and the last of LA’s large shipyards, triggered both preservation efforts and a doomed plan to rebuild onsite—see the Los Angeles Business Journal (03/15/2010), Dredging Today (12/13/2010) and Press-Telegram (01/27/2011) (McGroarty, 1921, Vol. 2, pgs. 223-224; POLA, Berth 240; see also April 16 and March 08)

1940: Pacific Fleet battleships leave their home in San Pedro for Hawaii to conduct annual exercises; after the war games President Roosevelt orders the fleet to stay at Pearl Harbor; the battle fleet never returns to San Pedro


1946: Tsunami hits San Pedro; tide jumps 2.5 feet due to the 7.8 earthquake in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska; research shows that San Pedro is most susceptible to locally produced tsunamis; the probable cause of a major tsunami hitting San Pedro is a large underwater landslide caused by an offshore earthquake—the resulting tsunami would hit within 5-15 minutes; the potential tsunami inundation area identified in the current Emergency Response Plan for Los Angeles County includes the entire ports of Long Beach and LA; contrary to popular belief, the harbor’s permeable breakwaters would have no effect on the force of a tsunami (see the Tsunami Inundation Maps for Torrance-San Pedro and Long Beach; the LA County ERP Tsunami Annex; and  AFE, 2005 for an overview of harbor tsunami hazards)


1958: 42-year-old John T. Gilbride, general manager of Todd Shipyard, San Pedro, has been elected corporate president of Todd Shipyard Corporation (USCDL, examiner-m15579); Todd Pacific Shipyards (bought by Vigor Industrial of Oregon in February 2011), was founded in 1916 as the William H. Todd Corporation with the merger of Robins Dry Dock & Repair Company of New York, the Tietjen & Long Dry Dock Company of New Jersey, and the Seattle Construction and Dry Dock Company of Washington; the Los Angeles Division (see table) on the West Basin side of Smith Island (north of the Vincent Thomas Bridge) in San Pedro was originally Los Angeles Shipbuilding & Dry Dock (established in 1917 as an emergency yard and bought by Todd in 1945; see also November 11)


The rundown east end of the San Pedro yard was featured (as McKinley & Son Shipyard) in the climax of the 1971 movie Escape From the Planet of the Apes; the film site is now part of a 45-acre landfill being compacted by a giant controversial mound of dirt; the entire shipyard was closed in 1989 and the location is now the Berth 100 West Basin Container Terminal

02 April:

1887: Sunken ship Kennebec was successfully raised at San Pedro


2005: American Public Transportation Society Association conference attendees take a Metrolink special from Union Station on a tour of the Alameda Corridor (see Wikipedia and RAILindustry articles); they leave the station at 8 am and take the old Southern Pacific line south to north Long Beach, then down to Terminal Island, over to Wilmington, and ending at 6th Street in San Pedro at 9:20 am (see Elsongs on SkyscraperCity and Elgenson at Trainweb; see also April 12)

03 April:

1925: U.S. fleet of 96 ships-of-the-line leave San Pedro on way to Hawaii via San Francisco


1942: 1st 500 forced evacuees of Japanese descent from the San Pedro and Long Beach area are removed to the Santa Anita assembly center on 04/03/1942 where they are joined by another 882 from LA and housed in pre-fabricated dwellings on the race track parking lot; 4 trains carrying 2000 women and children (both aliens and citizens) previously left LA for Manzanar on 04/01-02/1942; another 890 leave Long Beach-San Pedro on 04/04/1942 and the last 1,000 leave by special interurban trains and auto caravans before the midnight deadline on 04/05/1942 (Los Angeles Times, 04/01/1942, pg. A1; 04/03/1942, A1; 04/04/1942, 5; 04/05/1942, pg. A1; calisphere images) (see also February 25; A More Perfect Union; Santa Anita Pacemaker)

1952: City Recreation and Playground Department frogman demonstrates gear at San Pedro Chamber of Commerce annual luncheon; table centerpiece is flowered replica of a purse Seiner made by Mrs. Sam Rendazzo (USCDL, examiner-m20447)

04 April:

1850: Los Angeles is incorporated as an American city when articles of incorporation are approved by Governor Peter H. Burnett; Alpheus P. Hodges is elected LA’s 1st American mayor

1870: State legislature authorizes the board of supervisors of all affected counties to subsidize the Southern Pacific railroad by up to 2% (of assessed property value?)

1871: H.N. Stone is born in Greencastle, IN; Stone enters the drug business at age 16 and moves to Los Angeles in 1894; in 1897 Stone opens a drug store on Front Street near 6th in San Pedro; by 1907, his drug store also served as the ticket offices of the Independent Steamship Co. and Salt Lake Railway Co.; Stone is also the local agent for the Sunset Telephone Co. (Guinn, 1907, Vol. 2, pgs. 1,780-1,781)

1897: Los Angeles Times (04/04/1897, pg. 28) publishes Navy Board majority report recommending San Pedro for LA’s deep-water port (see March 01); Senator Frye of Maine vows to block construction (Los Angeles Times, 04/05/1897, pg. 5); 2 years later all of Los Angeles celebrates the start of construction with a grand jubilee (see April 25-28)

1946: Minesweeper USS Refresh (AM-287; 184’6” long; 33’ beam; 9’9” draft; launched 04/12/1944) returns to San Pedro after service off Okinawa, the East China Sea, and Japan; the Refresh is designated for transfer to China on 04/29/1946 and leaves San Pedro on 09/17/1946; she is decommissioned at Subic Bay, Philippine Islands on 09/17/1946, delivered to the Chinese on 06/30/1948, and renamed Yung Chang (NHHC)


1947: Popular Bud Abbott and Lou Costello film, Buck Privates Come Home (aka, Rookies Come Home; Universal-International Pictures; directed by Charles T. Barton; filmed 11/18/1946-01/23/1947),  released (04/11/1947 in NY);  location shooting featured Fort MacArthur, San Pedro, CA as the Fort Dix Separation Center, Burlington County, NJ; film is noted for being Abbot & Costello’s only sequel (capitalizing on their highly successful 1st film, Buck Privates, of 1941; the 2 slapstick comedies bookend the WWII experiences of returning GIs—one focuses on their induction and training and the other on their separation and return to civilian life); film is most known for including the issue of post-war refugees, the innovative use of a 16mm military camera in the midget race car chase sequence, and the FBI’s view that it was subversive and promoted class-consciousness; the successful film grossed $2,365,000 in 1947 ($31,986 in the 1st week), making it one of Universal’s top ten money-makers (number 8) for the year (IMDb; TCM; AFI; Wikipedia; Nollen, 2009, pgs. 137 -148; Furmanek and Palumbo, 1991, pg. 148; Reid, 2005, pgs. 25-26; Sbardellati, 2006, pg. 190; Greco, 1999, pg. 14; Boy’s Life, May 1947, pg. 31)


1952: “New” Coast Guard Cutter Lowe (WDE-425, ex Destroyer Escort DE-325; 306x36.58’; 10.42’ draft; 1,253 displacement; launched 07/28/1943; decommissioned 09/20/1968) leaves San Pedro for Pacific Ocean weather station under the command of Lt. Commander Lloyd Anderson (USCDL, examiner-m10231)

1968: Martin Luther King, Jr., assassinated

05 April:

1942: USS Drayton (DD-366; 1,500-ton displacement; 341’4” long; 35’ beam; 9’10” draft; launched 03/26/1936) arrives in San Pedro (after escort duties from Pearl to the Christmas Islands and Fiji) for training exercises and West Coast patrol duty before returning to the Pacific Campaign on 08/01/1942; the Drayton would go on to receive 11 battle stars for her WWII service (NHHC)


1952: Fisherman’s car is recovered from the Main Channel after “falling” off of wharf at the foot of 1st Street in San Pedro the night before (USCDL, examiner-m10109)

1956: Mrs. Anna Seidenberg receives Woman of the Year award from Woman’s Division of San Pedro Chamber of Commerce for originating GI Mail Call (USCDL, examiner-m12765)

2006: Port of Los Angeles wins the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Excellence award in the clean air technology category for its Alternative Maritime Power (AMP) program—the 1st air quality program in the world focused on reducing the in-port emissions of container ships

06 April:

1917: Declaration of war against Germany; United States enters World War I

1927: Alleged San Pedro lodging house liquor party ends in tragic Harbor Blvd. head-on collision with San Pedro notables E. Percy and Martha Ingmire; Percy (a Union Oil Co. official and prominent San Pedro civic leader) dies of injuries and wife is not expected to survive; 6 more are injured (2 probably fatally); undercover Fresno prohibition agent, George H. Hudson, and Frank Farley, driver of the party car, claim they had arrested the seamen from the steamer Pomona and were taking them to jail in LA; the 3 seamen admit everyone in the car had been drinking but deny they were ever arrested (Bakersfield Californian, 1927-04-06 transcribed in GenDisasters, 04/13/2010)

07 April:


1884: San Pedro Presbyterian Church files articles of incorporation; church is built on the edge of Vinegar Hill southwest of Happy Valley at the corner of Palos Verdes and 7th streets overlooking Stingaree Gulch (from which the sounds of dance-hall revelry would drift up to disturb evening services); the above images are from the 1893 birds-eye view lithograph by Bruce Wellington Pierce, the LA draughtsman and artist;





B.W. Pierce (1859-1947) produced 10 birds-eye lithographs between 1886 and 1894 (including 2 of Los Angeles); the San Pedro lithograph is the only one that he self-published; it was cropped and reprinted by George H. Peck & Co. in circa 1905 (I also have a vague memory that the cropped version was reprinted in the 1970s by Security Pacific Bank)  (Reps, 1984, pgs. 111, 199; Wikimedia; KJA Posters)


1887: Los Angeles has 56 cases of small-pox with 9 deaths in past month (see March 17 and 19, and April 13)

1904: California Promotion Committee businessmen visit San Pedro on excursion to southland


1913: California Red-Light Abatement Act signed by Governor Hiram Johnson; property owners are now liable for the activities of their renters; Red Light Injunction and Abatement Law ends all legal prostitution within the city of Los Angeles (including San Pedro); in addition to the facilities above and behind the saloons and dance halls of Happy Valley and Stingaree Gulch downtown, San Pedro also had a redlight district north of town (centered on Palos Verdes between 1st and Santa Cruz) identified as “Paradise Valley” on the 1893 Pierce lithograph (see above) and “Female Boarding” on the 1902 and 1908 Sanborn maps (later Sanborn maps of San Pedro did not label such structures); the various “cabins” in the Paradise Valley district were probably used as cribs; the entire area was razed in the 1940s for the Rancho San Pedro Project (see Dunae, n.d.; Kneeland, et. al., 1917; MacPhail, 1974; McKanna,1989; Rutter, 2005; Simmons, 1989; and Southworth, 2005 for overviews of similar areas of the period)


1933: The original King Kong (a.k.a. Kong; The Beast; The Eighth Wonder; Filmed 06/1932-02/1933; co-directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack; starring Fay Wray, Robert Amstrong, Bruce Cabot, and the innovative stop-motion magic of Willis O'Brien) is released; San Pedro’s harbor doubles for New York and the uncharted waters of the open ocean in the freighter scenes and inner Cabrillo Beach (costumed with native village, trees and mountains by a mat painting on a glass plate) becomes the first home of Kong when it used as the location for the Skull Island landing scene (San Pedro is replaced by Honopu Beach, Kauai Island, Hawaii in the 1976 remake and Auckland, New Zealand in the 2005 version) and Kong’s capture; the other 1933 locations for the home of Kong was RKO’s Culver City back lot (using the village from King Vidor’s 1932 Bird of Paradise and the giant wall from Cecil B. DeMille’s 1927 The King of Kings) and Griffith Park (the Bronson Canyon caves); the 1st time the San Pedro shore was used as a film location was 23 years earlier in 1910 for D.W. Griffith’s The Unchanging Sea  (see Shooting San Pedro Centennial);  (IMDb; TCM; AFI; WGML; Wikipedia)




Most famous line uttered on Cabrillo Beach: “He's always been king of his world, but we'll teach him fear. We're millionaires, boys! I'll share it with all of you. Why, in a few months, it'll be up in lights on Broadway: Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World!

1937: 4 Navy fliers killed in bomber crash 40 miles off of San Pedro; 2 fast scout bombing planes have head-on crash during maneuvers over fleet training grounds



1941: Barnacle Bill (directed by Richard Thorpe) is released (according to IMDbTCM and AFI claim the movie didn’t even start production until mid April); the movie is both set and filmed in San Pedro at Fish Harbor on Terminal Island; film follows the antics of Bill, a loveable ne’re-do-well fisherman played by the Academy Award winner Wallace Beery (while fishing off Catalina in 1916, Berry also made the fishing record books by catching the largest black sea bass—a record he held for 35 years), the kind-hearted spinster daughter (played by the popular character actress Marjorie Main, who costarred with Berry in 6 films and played "Ma Kettle" in 10) of the cantankerous San Pedro ships’ store-owner (played by the classic character actor Donald Meek), Bill’s estranged 12-year-old daughter (Virginia Weidler—still fresh from her major successes in The Women and The Philadelphia Story) and his fishing buddy Pico Rodriguez (Leo Carrillo, the native Californian, best known for The Cisco Kid, who appeared in over 90 films—mostly as a stereotyped Latino with a faked accent) pitted against the forces of a corrupt saloon girl (Hollywood newcomer Connie Gilchrist), an evil refrigerator boat-owner (popular bad guy and tough cop Barton MacLane), and an ocean storm



2009: Coast Guard monitors entry and unloading of container ship, YM Taichung (Length: 260,88m; Width: 32,25m; Depth: 19,30m; gross tonnage: 40952 ton; deadweight: 55497 ton; Cargo particulars: Capacity: 4132 teu, Reefer capacity: 500 teu), that lost 14 containers of cargo at sea in heavy weather about 1000 nautical miles west of San Francisco on April 5th; 26 damaged containers are still on board; the Taichung, scheduled to arrive at around 9 pm, had to provide a written plan to the Coast Guard for the safe handling and unloading of the damaged containers and a Coast Guard response team met the ship at the dock to monitor cargo operations; once docked it took about 24 crane hours to discharge the bay with the damaged containers, “There was stuff falling out all over the dock from them. It was very interesting to watch as well." (USCG, 04/07/2009; CGN, 04/08/2009; MB-S, 04/09/2009; Cargo Law, May 2009)

08 April:

1876: According to J.A. Muir (09/14/1892), the bark Nick Biddle (loaded with lumber and anchored in 5 fathoms ESE of Deadman’s Island) dragged in a southeast gale, parted her chains, and was wrecked southwest of Anaheim Landing; according to A.A. Polhamus (09/10/1892), the very old and well-insured bark Nicholas Biddle got underway after discharging her deck load and stood out to sea, standing east, but stayed almost an hour longer than instructed—when warned by locals that he would be beached if he did not go about to the southwest, the captain told them to “mind their own affairs” and the ship was struck and wrecked (hitting land 12 miles east of San Pedro)

1934: 113 naval vessels (3,700 officers; 44,000 men) leave San Pedro and San Diego for the Atlantic Ocean (see April 10)

1943: USS Waynesburg (PC-777; 173’8” long; 23’ beam; 10’10” draft) commissioned and gets underway for attachment as a training ship at the Small Craft Training Center, Terminal Island, San Pedro, California; the Waynesburg left San Pedro in late September 1945 for the Atlantic Fleet and inactivation but remained in service on the east coast as a training ship for the Navy and the reserves until she was struck from the Navy list on 04/01/1959 (NHHC)


1950: ILWW’s Harry R. Bridges convicted of perjury and conspiracy after 4½ month trial in San Francisco

1952: 14-year-old Richard Torgersrud escapes with black eye and bruises after near-tragic accident with truck while riding his bike in San Pedro, California (USCDL, examiner-m10439)


1953: Major General Hobart J. Gay reviews 47th Brigade honor guard as he assumes command of Third Corps and Fort MacArthur, San Pedro, California (USCDL, examiner-m22728)


2008: The Avalon Blvd. Mexican Fan Palm Trees in Wilmington (221-227 N. Avalon Blvd.) are declared Historic-Cultural Monuments by the city of LA

09 April:

1865: General Robert E. Lee surrenders at Appomattox Courthouse

1899: Jubilee Committee emphatically disavows the offensive button by an unknown artist commemorating the forthcoming Free Harbor Jubilee celebration (see April 25-28) (Los Angeles Times, 04/09/1899)

1906: Joe Weldt (see April 22) wins election (reelection?) as San Pedro treasurer in a tight race (457 to 403) with Ben Davis, Sr.; in the same election, the Good Government ticket (James Weir, W.C. Hill and Karl Stromsen) defeated the Citizen’s ticket (Frank Burns, E. Mahar and Sam Storer) for seats on the San Pedro board of trustees; the candidates for clerk and marshal ran unopposed in the otherwise very heated election (Los Angeles Herald, 04/10/1906, pg. 2)

1906: East San Pedro merchant Pauline Mary Sorenson Armbruster (daughter of Daniel Sorensen; widow of Frank Armbuster) marries E.T. Scholler (a resident of San Pedro since 1903); the new Mrs. Scholler was raised in Anaheim and married Armbuster in 1887 (Armbuster died in a Colorado mining accident 10 years later); in 1903 Mrs. Armbuster moved back to California with her 2 children and opened a general store at the Salt Lake depot on Terminal Island which was later burned out; the newly married couple now operate another general store in East San Pedro (Guinn, 1907, Vol. 2, pgs. 2,004-2,005)


1917: Mutual-Signal “serial”, The Railroad Raiders (IMDb; TCM; SFSA; PSFL), is released; for Episode 9 (“A Leap for Life”) star Helen Holmes (Hollywood’s 1st female action hero who did her own spectacular stunts—giving her a claim as the 1st stunt women) drove a car at top speed off the docks of San Pedro 4 times before she successfully made the 30’ leap onto a barge; the New York Dramatic Mirror called the stunt “the most sensational performance of the year in motion picture adventure drama” (Armitage, 2003, pg. 134; Bean, 2001, Drew,1997)






This wasn’t the first time she drove a vehicle into the harbor; 2 years earlier, in Episode 26 (“The Wild Engine”) of her previous serial The Hazards of Helen (1914-1917; 119 episodes;), she rode a motorcycle off the railroad tracks at the old San Pedro bascule bridge (over the entrance to the West Basin) in a mad dash to stop a runaway train and save the day (download page); in Episode 13 she captures a robber and wrestles him off the top of the train and into the water from the same bridge (watch the restored print online at the NFPF); while other women in the early cliffhangers were placed in danger by the villains and had to be rescued by the hero, Helen was usually the hero who put herself in danger to rescue others or capture the bad guys


2011: Grand reopening of Peck Park Canyon (aka, Mira Flores Canyon) cancelled due to the unusual heavy rains in March; the $4.8 million enhancement project (see the 2006 concept report or the 125-page 2009 mitigation study) for the 3-mile canyon which stretches from Summerland and Western in Peck Park down into Dunn Canyon and Leland Park overlooking Gaffey Street (a southern offshoot of the canyon stretches to Elberon Ave., bisecting Upland Ave. and Crestwood Street) was funded by the 2004 Proposition O water bonds; the groundbreaking ceremony for the project was on 03/22/2010 and the opening is rescheduled for May 7 (Littlejohn, 03/28/2011)

10 April:

1934: 100 warships (with 35,000 men) leave California for extended maneuvers on the Atlantic coast (see April 08)

1957: Charles Manson is caught trying to escape from FCI Terminal Island, San Pedro, California; transferred to the low security Coast Guard unit prior to his 04/22/1958 parole board hearing he is caught in civilian clothes trying to hotwire a car in the parking lot; 5 months later he is released on 5 years parole; in June 1966 he is returned to Terminal Island for processing prior to his release on 03/21/1967 for completing his 10-year term (see March 14 and 21)

11 April:

1887: Los Angeles Times (04/11/1887, pg. 1) reports on a recent row at a San Pedro dance-house; Constable Weldt is shot while trying to arrest a drunken sailor; Weldt escaped injury (the bullet passed through his coat between his arm and his left side) and the sailor escaped arrest

1898: President William McKinley requests a declaration of war against Spain

1951: General Douglas MacArthur (son of Lt. General Arthur MacArthur) is relieved of command by President Truman

12 April:

1861: The American Civil War begins when Confederate forces fire on Fort Sumter, South Carolina

1903: George Huntington Peck dies in Pasadena at the age of 84; survived by 2 sons (John H.F. Peck of LA and George H. Peck of San Pedro) and 2 daughters (Mrs. Albert Gibbs of South Pasadena and Mrs. John E. Jardine)


1918: Army troops from the newly completed Fort MacArthur (named after Lt. General Arthur MacArthur in 1914) parade down the streets of San Pedro; in Europe, the Battle of Hazebrouck begins and Franco-American troops repulse continued attacks in the Apremont Forest of France while Zeppelins raided the Eastern and Midland Counties of England (7 are killed and 20 injured in the last Zeppelin raid on England to cause casualties)


1952: Pacific Electric Car crashes into parked Harbor Belt Line lumber train on the Wilmington Road near Associated Oil dock in San Pedro; dazed PE motorman pinned in compartment but misses being crushed by mere inches (USCDL, examiner-m10442)


1996: San Pedro Municipal Ferry Building (now the Los Angeles Maritime Museum) listed on the National Registry of Historic Places

2002: Grand Opening of the Alameda Corridor (see map; The Alameda Corridor celebratory video: Part One and Part Two; see also April 02)

2003: Port of LA Fire Station No. 112 dedicates 4 new fireboats; includes the new 105’ Los Angeles Fireboat No. 2, the Warner L. Lawrence (the world’s most powerful fireboat; launched 01/17/2003 by Nichols Boats of Freeland, Washington)


2005: San Pedro based U.S. Coast Guard Cutter George Cobb (WLM-564; 175’) rescues Rick Saunders from overturned dingy 6 nautical miles southeast of Angels Gate; Saunders was spotted by crew during a routine patrol of the area (USCG)


2011: San Pedro’s Port of Los Angeles High (the 6-year-old school, with 850 students located in a converted office building on 5th Street below Centre next to the new POLA Police Station, is the only maritime studies charter school in the United States) wins the coveted California Distinguished Schools designation (Pamer, 2011)

13 April:

1862: Colonel (later Brigadier General) James Henry Carleton (CSMM biography) and an army of more than 2,000 California Volunteers leave Camp Drum to begin the longest and most difficult march of the Civil War (from New San Pedro through Temecula and Arizona to New Mexico and the Rio Grande Valley in west Texas); Confederate forces under General H.H. Sibley abandon invasion of New Mexico and retreat to El Paso; Carleton remains to conduct a harsh and relentless campaign against hostile Mescalero Apaches, Kiowas, Navajos and Comanches (CSMM; Schreier, ed., 1976)

1887: Small-pox cases reported in Los Angeles, San Diego, Ontario, and San Bernardino Counties; state medical inspectors stationed at San Pedro, San Diego, Mojave, Colton, Barstow and Indio board all trains and examine all passengers from Los Angeles or Mexico


1892: Dominguez heirs sell their estuary tract (the 1,700 acres in San Pedro Bay at the former mouth of the San Gabriel River that included Rattlesnake Island) to the Los Angeles Terminal Land Company (Los Angeles and Terminal Island Railroad Company) for $300,000 ($55.5 million in 2009 dollars using the nominal share of GDP index); within a year the island has a railroad terminus, depot, roundhouse, wharf, beach resort, and plots for vacation homes; company renames the overgrown sandbar Terminal Island to make it more appealing to vacationers, east coast financiers and the U.S. congress (Megowan, n.d.; Kielbasa,1997; Grenier, n.d.)

1901: San Pedro, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake Railroad Company files with the State of California as a foreign (Utah) corporation (No. 32,954; $25 million capital stock)


1955: 25-year-old “girl bookie” is booked at the San Pedro jail; Vice Squad found 2 phones, racing forms, scratch sheets, and markers in married suspect’s Wilmington home (USCDL, examiner-m21994)






1984: WWII era Rosie the Riveter themed movie, Swing Shift (with Goldie Hawn, Christine Lahti, Kurt Russell, Fred Ward and Ed Harris) is released; film locations included Fort MacArthur (seen in the above trailer) and elsewhere in San Pedro; scenes were also shot in Long Beach (bicycling sequence; Navy pier with USS Lang and the USS New Jersey in the background) and Portuguese Bend (trailer park scene) (IMDb; TCM; AFI)


14 April:

1828: Abel Stearns becomes a naturalized Mexican citizen

1844: Andrew W. Ryan is born near Kilkenny, Ireland; at age 8 his family moved to Burlington, IA; while still a teen Ryan went west with friends on a mule team to Virginia City (the group later walked to Visalia, CA before splitting up); Ryan went on to LA and became a roustabout (longshoreman or wharf laborer) in Wilmington before being employed by Banning as a driver freighting goods to the mines of Mexico (or New Mexico?); after 6 months he bought a farm near Downey where he was elected Justice of the Peace (serving 6 years); after moving to Los Angeles, Ryan was elected LA County assessor in 1875 and became a member of the city council in 1877; in 1884 he was employed by the LA City Water Co. (staying there for 18 years) and by 1906 the semi-retired Ryan was a Vice President of the State Bank and Trust Co. (Guinn, 1907, Vol. 2, pgs. 1,080-1,081)

1865: John Wilkes Booth assassinates President Lincoln at Ford’s Theater


1875: Ralph Arnold is born in Marshalltown, Iowa; at about age 5 his family moves to Pasadena, California; he completed his BA (1894), MA (1900), and PhD (1902) at Leland Stanford, Jr. University; while working as a Field Assistant (1900-1903) for the U.S. Geological Survey he completed his influential PhD dissertation,





The Paleontology and Stratigraphy of the Marine Pliocene and Pleistocene of San Pedro, California (Memoirs of the California Academy of Sciences, Vol. 3, 1903)—based on fieldwork begun at age 11 in 1886 when he started accompanying his father, Delos Arnold, on his numerous visits to the fossil beds of San Pedro (the exposed bluffs and cliffs of San Pedro—especially those at Point Fermin, Deadman’s Island and Timms Point were popular sites for amateur and professional paleontologists); Arnold continued working for the Geological survey as a Geologic Aid (1903-1905), Paleontologist (1905-1908), and Geologist (1908-1909) before going into private practice—mostly for oil companies in California and Latin America (PRL, 1915, Vol. 2, pgs. 182-183)


1899: San Pedro gamblers hope to reap rich profits from the expected crowds attending the Free Harbor Jubilee festivities (see April 26-27) (Los Angeles Times, 04/14/1899)

1916: San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake railway stockholders vote to remove “San Pedro” from the corporation’s name (San Pedro became part of Los Angeles in 1909 and no longer had a separate identity)


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