Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May in San Pedro: Part One

May in San Pedro: Part One

01 May:

1841: 1st emigrant wagon train for California leaves Independence, MO


1843: Thomas Oliver Larkin (Wikipedia; Wandering Lizard; California Views) is appointed the American Consul in Monterey; in 1845-1846 he serves as a confidential U.S. agent and solicits covert assistance from Abel Stearns (see November 11; December 22) of Los Angeles and San Pedro

1863: News of the Ada Hancock explosion in San Pedro (see April 27) took 3 days to reach San Francisco; but dispatches from San Francisco to New York regarding the explosion only took 1 hour (notice of disaster was 1st published in the New York Times on 05/03/1863 with a follow-up story on 05/31/1863—apparantly based on a “hard copy” of a San Francisco newspaper)  

1863: Funeral services at Trinity Church in San Francisco for Captain T.W. Seeley, of the steamer Senator, killed in the Ada Hancock explosion (see April 27); body arrived in San Francisco on the Senator on 04/30/1863 and was interred at the Lone Mountain Cemetery (Daily Alta California, 05/01/1863; 05/02/1863; SFgenealogy)

1882: Petition to create the San Pedro School District is granted by the Los Angeles Board of County Supervisors (Los Angeles Times, 05/02/1882, pg. 3)

1884: Record high tides reported at San Pedro and Santa Monica

1896: San Francisco Call (05/01/1896, pg. 1) reports that the LA Chamber of Commerce has collected affidavits proving that petitions to Washington, D.C. favoring Santa Monica over San Pedro Harbor submitted by the representatives of Collis P. Huntington (see May 03; see also Leland Stanford, January 10) and the Southern Pacific railway contain hundreds of fake names and forgeries—including that of Colonel H.G. Otis, editor of the Los Angeles Times and a leader in the pro-San Pedro faction; the perpetrators of the fraud, designed to divert millions of federal dollars, cannot be prosecuted under the then current laws (San Francisco Call, 05/02/1896, pg. 6; see May 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 14, and 21)

1904: LA coastlines ravished by severe gale (wind exceeded 40 mph); 6 men in 2 small boats from San Pedro (bound for the fishing banks off Portuguese Bend) are missing; small sailing vessel is rescued outside the breakwater by a power launch (foot of Captain Carl Jorgensen, in charge of the rescue boat, is crushed by machinery when thrown by rolling seas and will be amputated); wharf No. 2 and lumber bark Gardiner City at Redondo seriously damaged (ship lost masts and rigging and pounded against wharf); schooner Charles D. Falk almost lost at Redondo (survived with only a lost rudder); vessels at Port Los Angeles used the mile-long Southern Pacific wharf as a shelter from the wind and seas (San Francisco Call, 05/02/1904, pg. 1)

1905: Completed San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake railway opened (see also October 22; December 17)


1906: Jessie J. Knight purchases the Pony Livery & Transfer business in San Pedro (which has the largest barn in San Pedro and one of the largest outside of LA); in addition to dealing in horses and mules, Knight also contracts for street grading; in 1905 he and his brother (of the Don Knight Billiard and Pool Parlors at 111 E. 6th Street, San Pedro) bought a large grading outfit and secured the contract to grade Front, Wall, 8th, and Centre streets); born in Provo City, UT on 09/12/1865, Jessie Knight worked as a merchant, blacksmith, farmer, lawyer (with a BA in law from the University of Michigan), and miner in Utah and Nevada before he coming to San Pedro in 1905; Knight still owns a wagon and agricultural implements business in the city of his birth, mining interests in State Line, NV, and the Knight-Roberts Mining Co. of Rock Canon (Guinn, 1907, Vol. 1, pgs.677-678; SPFD, 1905)

1910: Ex San Pedro newspaper man George M. Blair takes charge of running the Corona Independent in Riverside County; born in Lynn, Indiana on 07/12/1884, Blair graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University and worked in the newspaper industry before moving to San Pedro, CA, where he bought the San Pedro Tribune (founded in 1906); Blair returned to Iowa to marry Helen Jukes on 06/02/1906, bringing his bride back with him to San Pedro; later, after selling the Tribune, Blair worked for the Independent until he bought enough stock to take over its management  (Holmes, 1912, pgs. 686-687; according to the Library of Congress he was publisher of the Corona Independent from 1914-1917); contemporary newspaper directories only list the San Pedro Tribune for the years 1907 and 1908—listing the publisher as the Tribune Publishing Co. (which is also listed as publishing the Los Angeles Tribune from 1887-1890); Z.W. Craig is listed as editor in 1907 and George M. Blair in 1908; it’s possible that Clark F. Waite bought the Tribune and/or the San Pedro Times, since both newspapers disappeared from the directories in 1909, the same year Waite’s San Pedro Pilot began publication

1911: Title to the harbor tidelands of San Pedro and Wilmington are granted to the City of Los Angeles by the State of California with approval of Title 284, Act 1991



1916: Ashes of Joe Hill (the union activist, troubadour, and martyr) are scattered to the winds by Wobblies across the country and the globe; Hill 1st joined the IWW at San Pedro, California around 1910 (where he served as the local secretary for a few years) and was executed at Salt Lake City on 11/19/1915) (Red Flag; YouTube; IBEW; AFL-CIO)


1923: 2,000 attend IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) sponsored street meeting in San Pedro at 4th and Beacon; speakers were the recently arrested strike leader Leo Stark (later arrested for criminal syndicalism on 07/11/1923 with 26 other IWW members) and Rev. Fred R. Wedge (of the Terminal Island Congregational Church) (see May 13, 15 and 23)

02 May:


1860: LA’s Republican politician, John C. Cline is born in Ballarant, Australia of American parents; after returning to Maryland, his family moved to Michigan and then Los Angeles in 1869; after working on a railroad survey for the Southern Pacific on the Yuma-Port Ysabel, Mexico line, Cline returned to LA where he became a deputy city surveyor, deputy county assessor, township constable, deputy sheriff, and LA County Sheriff (1893-1895 and 1915-1923); in 1899 he was appointed collector of customs for the districts of Los Angeles—which included the ports of San Pedro, Santa Barbara and Port Los Angeles (in return for being the 1st organizer in California for McKinley’s successful presidential campaign) and was re-appointed to the position by President Theodore Roosevelt (he was also a leader of the Teddy’s Terrors political club); Cline organized LA’s 1st club of Caballeros—the popular equestrian contingent in LA’s annual Fiesta parade; Cline was Grand Marshall of the Fiesta parade for 2 presidential visits, McKinley’s in 1901 and Roosevelt’s in 1903; in recognition of his efforts supporting the San Pedro Harbor, Cline was also Grand Marshall of the Free Harbor Jubilee parade in 1899 (see April 25-27) (Guinn, 1907, Vol. 2, pgs. 527-528; McGroarty, 1921, Vol. 2, pgs. 38-40)

1888: J.H. Goldsmith of Los Angeles, editor and publisher of the San Pedro Clipper and “old-time Sacramentan” is delegated to the Republican State Convention in Sacramento (Sacramento Daily Record-Union, 05/02/1888, pg. 5)

1903: Peter H. Swartz dies at age 60 and is buried at Wilmington, CA; Swartz moved to San Pedro, CA in 1888, a year after his arrival in California from Ohio; he worked for the Southern Pacific Lumber Co. then started his own contracting and building business; Swartz served as San Pedro constable for 4 years and was engaged in real estate when he died; he is survived by his wife and daughter, who live in the family home at 9th and Palos Verdes, and a son who resides in Mexico (Guinn, 1907, Vol. 2, pgs. 1894-1895)


2009: Early morning fire at 251 W. 11th Street in San Pedro is extinguished by the Los Angeles Fire Department at dawn on a foggy Monday; although the building was sold for $100,000 five months later, two years after the fire the small 2-story art-deco apartment building (6 units; 8 bedrooms; 3 bathrooms) built in 1919 is still vacant and boarded up

03 May:


1888: Collis P. Huntington, Vice President of the Southern Pacific Railroad, states: “Our coal steamers from the north will make regular trips to San Pedro.  That, I am convinced, is the best port of Southern California, far better than San Diego, because more accessible, and it is also well protected.”; Note: a few years later he claims the opposite when trying to divert federal appropriations for harbor improvements from San Pedro and Wilmington to the property he controlled in Santa Monica (Sacramento Daily Record-Union, 05/03/1888, pg. 4; see also May 01, 07, 08, 09, 11, 14, and 21)


1940: Movie Saps at Sea (a.k.a., Crackpots, Jitterbugs, Two's Company) is released (opened in New York a week earlier); directed by Gordon Douglas and starring Laurel and Hardy (Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy), with Ben Turpin (in his last role prior to his death on 07/01/1940); produced 10/23-11/24/1939 with inserts filmed on 12/06/1939; the marina and boat exteriors were shot on location in San Pedro harbor (both in the bay and apparently at Watchorn Basin, now the new Cabrillo Way Marina); this was Laurel & Hardy’s last film for Hal Roach; the title is a spoof of the 1937 film, Souls at Sea, starring Gary Cooper and George Raft; in the movie, Hardy has a nervous breakdown working at a horn factory and is prescribed a restful sea air cure; they rent an old boat to sleep on while still moored at the dock; that night a wanted murderer hides onboard and a goat chews away their mooring; they awake at sea hijacked by the murderer and are rescued by the Harbor Patrol after Hardy subdues the villain while in a horn-induced craze (IMDb; TCM; AFI; Wikipedia)


1944: Light minelayer USS Aaron Ward (DM-34; ex DD-773; launched 05/05/1944 by Bethlehem Steel Co. at San Pedro, CA; commissioned 10/28/1944; decommissioned 09/28/1945) receives extensive damage in intense Kamikaze attack west of Okinawa; crew receives Presidential Unit Citation for keeping ship afloat and downing several planes (NavSource; NHHC)

1962: Outer Harbor collision between tanker Texaco Texas and the World Centurion


1978: The Morgan House (now the YWCA of the Harbor Area), designed by Julia Morgan (the 1st licensed female architect in California, most known for the Hearst Castle in San Simeon), in San Pedro is declared a Historic-Cultural Monument No.186 by the city of Los Angeles (OHR; BOL)


1978: The USS Los Angeles Naval Monument in John S. Gibson Jr. Park (and LA Maritime Museum lawn), San Pedro, CA is declared Historic-Cultural Monument No. 188 by the city of Los Angeles (HCM Report); the monument to heavy cruiser CA-135 was dedicated on 12/01/1977; Anchors on loan from the U.S. Navy; Mainmast and mooring bitts donated by Joseph S. Schapiro; Capstan cover donated by San Pedro Bicentennial Committee; Ships bell was donated on 12/16/1960 and is not listed on the monument’s dedication plaque; 16” armor piercing projectiles and 68’ 50 caliber gun barrel in front of the monument are from the battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62)

1984: To publicize the new film, The Bounty (released on 05/04/1984), starring Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins as Fletcher Christian and Captain Bligh, the replica of the HMS Bounty used in the movie sails into San Pedro “like an apparition from the 19th Century” (Los Angeles Times, 05/03/1984; 05/06/1984a; 05/06/1984b)

04 May:

1889: Port pilot David W. Weldt writes a letter to Los Angeles Times complaining of misrepresentations made by opponents in his law suit; Weldt wins his test case (Weldt v. The Holden) on 09/11/1889 when the court decides the harbors of San Pedro and Wilmington are parts of a single port (Los Angeles Times, 05/07/1889, p. 6; 09/12/1889, pg. 2)

1944: Submarine patrol craft USS Dutton (PCS-1396; launched 08/07/1943 by South Coast Co., Newport Beach, CA; commission on 03/29/1944; redesignated AGSC-8 on 07/29/1946; decommissioned on 08/26/1949) leaves San Pedro for Saipan; during WWII the ship participated in the Marianas operations, the landings at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, and received 3 battle stars (NHHC)


1951: Movie Roaring City (part 2 of a trilogy with Danger Zone and Pier 23) is released; Director: William Berke; Stars: Hugh Beaumont, Edward Brophy and Richard Travis; movie takes place in San Francisco; based on the 1947 radio show Johnny Madero, Pier 23 (download or listen to the 2 surviving episodes on Internet Archive) starring Jack Webb which was a rip-off of Pat Novak for Hire (Jack Webb starred in the 1946 1st season; then returned to the character in 1949—download episodes on Internet Archive);  2nd of 3 1-hour movies (released in quick succession on 04/xx/1951, 05/04/1951 and 05/11/1951) consisting of 2 stories each designed to be split into 6 episodes for TV syndication as a 30’ mystery show; the 3 movies were an experiment by Lippert Pictures designed to exploit (rather than oppose) the rising dominance of television; portions of the film were shot in San Francisco; “San Pedro California” is listed by IMDb as a plot keyword (IMDb-1; IMDb-2; IMDb-3; TCM-1; TCM-2; TCM-3; AFI-1; AFI-2; AFI-3; see also the Stanford, 2005 essay on boxing movies)

05 May:

1896: Los Angeles Congress of Labor passes resolutions favoring appropriations for San Pedro Harbor and opposing appropriations for Santa Monica

1908: San Pedro torpedo flotilla joins the reunited Atlantic battleship fleet off Monterey, CA after battling heavy seas and strong headwind; the screens of the bridges and every loose article about the decks washed away; all men on board seasick (New York Times, 05/05/1908)


1910: Biograph motion picture The Unchanging Sea (see user reviews on Kngine and overview in Shooting San Pedro Centennial 1910-2010) is released; the 14’ short was based on a Charles Kingsley poem (“The Three Fishers”) and directed by D. W. Griffith; starred Arthur V. Johnson and Linda Arvidson with Mary Pickford in a supporting role; William Christy Cabanne was hired as a marine consultant for the film and became so enamored of the movie industry that he quit the military to become Griffith’s assistant and an accomplished director (Quinlan, 1983, pg. 44); while most sources only list Santa Monica as a filming location, the IMDb lists San Pedro and Santa Monica and in a biography of Mary Pickford, Windeler (1973, pg. 60) lists Santa Monica and the nearby Port Los Angeles as the filming locations (IMDb; TCM; AFI; Wikipedia; PSFL; Harrill, n.d.);

1923: Shipowners import 200 nonunion workers to break IWW strike in San Pedro; Commander Eric L. Barr, of the San Pedro submarine base, requests permission to use Navy personnel to protect the strikebreakers; 4 more Wobbly (IWW) “chiefs” are jailed by the police (Los Angeles Times, 05/05/1923)


1944: Second USS Comfort (AH-6; launched 03/18/1943 by Consolidated Steel Corp. in Wilmington, CA; 2 WWII battle stars; sold for scrap on 10/02/1967) is commissioned at Terminal Island after conversion into a hospital ship by Bethlehem Steel, Co. in San Pedro, CA; the Comfort became the 1st ship jointly manned by Army and Navy personnel and left San Pedro on 06/21/1944--returning in December with wounded evacuated from Leyte, The Philippines;


The unarmed Comfort returned to the Pacific Theater and was struck by a Japanese suicide plane (see color footage of kamikaze attacks; newsreel of damage on USS Comfort on CriticalPast or 3’18”, 3rd in set of 6 in collection on YouTube) on 04/29/1945 at Okinawa (29 dead—6 doctors, 6 nurses, 9 army medical corpsmen, 1 navy crewman, and 7 patients; 48 wounded) and arrives in San Pedro for repairs on 05/28/1945; arrives in Subic Bay on 09/05/1945 to serve as station hospital ship and returns to San Pedro on 12/11/1945; after one more voyage the Comfort is decommissioned at San Francisco on 03/04/1946 and transferred to the Army (NHHC; NavSource; HyperWar; Wikipedia; HullNumber; ShipScribe; WetCanvas; Talking Proud; WWII Timeline; Condon-Rall and Cowdry, 1998; Harper, 2001)


1976: Calvary Presbyterian Church (now Memory Chapel), 1146-1160 N. Marine Avenue in Wilmington, CA is declared Historic-Cultural Monument No. 155 by the city of Los Angeles (HCM Report; Wikipedia)

06 May:


1926: Los Angeles city voters approve a $400,000 ($65 million in 2009 dollars using the relative share of GDP index) bond issue for the construction of a new fireboat (named the Ralph J. Scott; designated Fireboat No. 2), a new fire station to house it (Fire Station 112; Berths 226-227, Terminal Island—the original station on the east side of the Main Channel is now a container terminal, the current station is on the west side of the channel at 5th and Harbor Blvd.), and auxiliary apparatus; Los Angeles Shipbuilding and Drydock Corp. in San Pedro (the shipyard’s location on Smith Island is now a container terminal) is awarded the $214,000 contract to build the state-of-the-art fireboat designed by L.E. Caverly (design dated 01/31/1925); completed fireboat is launched on 10/20/1925, christened by Mrs. Ralph J. Scott on 10/25/1925, and commissioned on 12/02/1925; on 05/05/1976 Fireboat No. 2 and Firehouse 112) in San Pedro are declared Historic-Cultural Monuments by the city of Los Angeles; on 07/22/1986 Fire Station 112 was demolished to clear space for a new container terminal; on 06/30/1989 Fireboat No. 2 was designated a National Historic Landmark (National Register of Historic Places, Reference No. 89001430); the $1.2 billion San Pedro Waterfront Project, authorized by the Port of Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners on 09/30/2009, includes the construction of a new $6 million museum (designed by Hodgetts + Fung) to house the Ralph J. Scott as part of the Downtown Harbor Project (see the 03/18/2010 PowerPoint or view Video) (LAFire; see also October 20; December 02)

1947: Rescue and Salvage ship USS Clamp (ARS-33; launched 10/24/1942 by Basalt Rock Co., Napa, CA; 4 WWII battle stars) is decommissioned and placed in reserve at San Pedro, CA (transferred to the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay, Benecia, CA on 10/25/1962); the Clamp was commissioned on 08/23/1943 and left San Pedro on 09/30/1943 for Pearl Harbor and the Ellice Islands; on 11/10/1943 she drove off 5 separate air attacks while conducting combat salvage operations at the Gilbert Islands; the ship also participated in the Okinawa, Marianas, and Iwo Jima campaigns (NHHC; NavSource)




2005: Highly honored movie Crash is released (view trailer at DailyMotion or on YouTube); Directed by Paul Haggis; Starring Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Jennifer Esposito, William Fichtner, Brendan Fraser, Terrence Howard, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Thandie Newton, Ryan Phillippe, Shaun Toub, and others; film had a $6.5 million budget and grossed $98.4 million; film includes several Wilmington locations (South Bay Liquor Mart at 1014 Wilmington Ave.; east C Street, near Broad Ave.; brick building at the northwest corner of Avalon Blvd. and C Street); emotional climax (where Matt Dillon rescues Thandie Newton from a burning car) was filmed on Gaffey Street in San Pedro (near the intersection of 36th Street, across from the entrance to Angels Gate Park); movie won 3 Oscars (Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Editing) at the 78th Academy Awards; also nominated for: Best Director; Best Original Song; and Best Supporting Actor (Dillon) (IMDb; TCM; AFI; Wikipedia; SSH; BOM; The Movie Spoiler)


1995: Billboard article by Deborah Russell reports that San Pedro musician Mike Watts, director Spike Jonze, Sony Music and MTV are being sued by the Union Pacific Railroad for a humorous music video filmed in a San Pedro model railroader’s club (Billboard, 05/06/1995, pg. 42)

07 May:

1887: The sails of Captain Sawyer’s 4-masted ship, the Ocean King (see May 13), are blown away in a gale; ship catches fire (probably from the galley stove); ship was en route to San Pedro from Nanaimo laden with coal; ship is abandoned and crew rescued by the fishing schooner Angel Dolly of San Francisco under Captain Tubbs; 25 saved; survivors transferred to US Coast Guard steamer C.P. Patterson and brought to Port Townsend, Washington; the Ocean King of Boston had been the largest American ship afloat (Bruzelius.info; Wright, 1895, pg. 350; Daly Alta Californian, 09/20/1887; Sacramento Daily Record-Union, 05/14/1887; 1875 incident on the Pacific: Gare Maritime)

1896: Paragraph in River and Harbor Bill regarding deep-sea harbor in southern California passed-over without action as suggested by Senator Frye because the location is a “matter of contention”; majority report of the committee chaired by Frye favors Santa Monica (although experts had rejected the Santa Monica location where Senator Frye has vested interests—Frye would be personally enriched if the appropriations went to Santa Monica instead of San Pedro as the experts recommended); majority report ignores the expert recommendations and Frye’s maneuver keeps the location of LA’s deep-water port an open question (New York Times, 05/07/1896; see May 01, 08, 09, 10, 11, 14, and 21)

1912: Esperanza Oil company completes deal to build 170-mile pipeline from the Midway field to San Pedro (see February 28); $4 million bond issue to be secured for the 8-inch steel pipeline; General Pipe Line will distribute oil through southern California and the southwest states and connect with oil carriers at San Pedro for Honolulu and the Orient (San Francisco Call, 05/08/1912, pg 5)

1912: Steamer Roanoke collided with and destroyed the San Pedro Entrance Light; structure rebuilt and the light reinstated at cost of $502.60; work on constructing the $36,000 (appropriated on 03/04/1911) San Pedro breakwater light and fog signal station (Angel’s Gate) is expected to be completed sometime in May 1913 (USDCL, 1913, pgs. 604, 609)

1940: Headquarters of the U.S. Pacific fleet moved from San Pedro, California to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii over the objections of most Naval officials (Parker, 1994, pg. 36); President Roosevelt felt the move would create a deterrent to Japanese aggression against American interests in the Pacific—the Navy felt the move would make the fleet vulnerable; Admiral James O. Richardson, who became Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in January 1940, “bitterly voiced his objections” until he was relieved of command and replaced by Admiral Husband E. Kimmel in January 1941; less than a year later, history would prove Richardson correct (see December 07)


1952: Junior Chambers of Commerce choose Princess Los Angeles (B: Eloise Koch) to be World Trade Week Queen; the Queen’s honor court will be Princess Long Beach (A: Joyce Niederberger), Princess San Pedro (C: Bianca Detert, Miss Harbor Day), and Princess Wilmington (D: Jane Stevenson); World Trade Week will start on 05/18/1952 and end on 05/25/1952, San Pedro’s Harbor Day (USCDL, examiner-m11096)


1952: Navy heavy cruiser USS Rochester (CA-124; launched 08/25/1945; commissioned 12/20/1946; decommissioned 08/15/1961) arrives at Long Beach, CA after 2nd tour in Korea; seamen join waiting loved ones for 30-day leave; the Rochester returned to Korea in November 1952 and received 6 battle stars for her Korean War service (USCDL, examiner-m11405; NavSource; USS Rochester Association; NHHC)

08 May:

1891: The arms running schooner Robert and Minnie captured by U.S. Marshal in San Pedro but all arms and ammunition missing; believed transferred to the Chilean Italia at Santa Catalina or San Clemente Island; U.S. warships sail south to capture the Italia (New York Times 05/11/1891; see May 11)

1896: Senator White (see February 21 and 23) begins his speech (finished on 05/09/1896) supporting San Pedro for LA’s port; River and Harbor bill Senate committee majority report favors Santa Monica; White denounces “the influences employed to discredit the San Pedro plan” (New York Times, 05/09/1896; see May 01, 07, 09, 10, 11, 14, and 21)

1911: Collector Pendleton of the San Pedro custom house requested a federal cutter to fight the growing tide of drugs (mostly opium) smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico; smugglers use small fast launches to run from southern California ports to Mexico and back in a few hours; many of the most successful drug runners are local fishermen but drugs also come by steamers which drop the contraband overboard for small boats before they reach port; a customs house is also requested for Catalina Island, which is used as a smuggling base; on 05/25/1911 San Pedro Immigration Inspector Connell was told the Treasury Department will send a fast steaming torpedo boat to patrol the San Pedro to San Francisco coast and to chase smugglers and white slavers (San Francisco Call, 05/09/1911, pg 7; 05/24/1911, pg. 13)


1952: Fleet oiler USS Passumpsic (AO-107; launched 10/31/1945; commissioned 04/01/1946; decommissioned 07/24/1973) Captain William K. Parsons hauls seaman in Korean rickshaw 8 blocks at Todd Shipyard (see April 01) in San Pedro to a Red Cross bloodmobile to promote Korean War blood drive; in return, the ship’s crew donated 107 quarts of blood to match the ship’s identification number; the Passumpsic would earn 9 battle stars for her Korean War service; she also performed several tours of duty in Vietnam  in 1966-1973 (USCDL, examiner-m11128; NavSource)


1952: San Pedro merchant Ira D. Kaye (born in Brooklyn, NY in 1917) campaigns for President of state Junior Chamber of Commerce at the delegate convention held on Santa Catalina Island (USCDL, examiner-m9911; USCDL, examiner-m11082); in November 1956 he become the 3rd American to hold the top Jaycee post when he was named international President at the JCI World Congress held in Wellington, New Zealand (US Jaycee Foundation); Ira Kaye co-founded (with his brother and cousin) Union War Surplus, which became a San Pedro landmark for 63 years (the store opened on 11/21/1946), after serving at Fort MacArthur during WWII (Random Lengths); in 1963 he founded Lark International Ltd (a knitwear exporting firm—see Apparel World—which has grown into a worldwide network of over 20 subsidiaries) and moved to Hong Kong (receiving an MBE in 1992); he was the founding President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong; he also expanded into motion pictures (founded Lark Cinemas, owned 50% of Media Asia, and introduced UA Cinemas to Hong Kong in 1985), paging networks, property, restaurants,  and other ventures—including a dairy farm (Trappist Dairy); he was the inaugural recipient of CineAsia’s humanitarian award in 1998; Ira Kaye died at age 82 on 06/06/1999 (Hollywood Reporter; International Management; Asian Wall Street Journal Weekly)


1955: Los Angeles Examiner reports on San Pedro High School preparations to host delegates to the California Association of Student Councils Southern California Conference, May 12-13, 1955 (USCDL, examiner-m20405)


09 May:

1869: Leslie A. Miller is born in Whitneyville, ME; the Miller family moved to Minnesota in 1876, where Leslie learned the lumber trade working for his father; in 1896 Leslie moved to Seattle where he was a commercial salesman of cigars and tobacco; in 1902 he moves to San Pedro, California and became a superintendent for the Whiting Lumber and Supply Co.—which changed its name to the National Lumber Company on 03/29/1905 (Guinn, 1907, Vol. 2, pgs. 1726-1727)

1896: Senator White finishes his presentation on the superiority of San Pedro for LA’s deep-sea port; Senator Jones of Nevada offers to abandon the silver interests and vote to allow admittance of DuPont to his seat in the Senate if he will agree to support Santa Monica instead of San Pedro—like Senator Frye, Senator Jones has large personal interests in Santa Monica (New York Times, 05/10/1896a; 05/10/1896b; see May 01,07, 08, 10, 11, 14, and 21)


1898: Wilmington (population 800) businessman George Hinds dies at age 64; Hinds immigrated to America from Ireland at age 17 and served in the Union Army during the Civil War; he left the service in 1868 at Wilmington, California, where he continued to reside until his death; he became a partner in the firm of Vickery & Hinds, which dealt in livestock and ran a Wilmington meat market (the firm opened additional meat markets in San Pedro, Long Beach and Los Angeles); he served on the LA county board of supervisors from 1874-1876 and was re-elected a decade later but resigned when President Cleveland appointed him collector of customs on 08/23/1886; he is survived by his wife, the former Mary Kennedy of Pennsylvania (Anon., 1889, pg. 496; Guinn, 1901, pgs. 456-457)

1899: Three Fishermen employed by the San Pedro Canning Factory are arrested on their return from Santa Cruz Island by Deputy Sheriff Hopkins and Game Warden C.A. Loud for violating state and county game and fish laws (5 others were arrested several days earlier); about 10 tons of crawfish caught after the season closed on May 1st were returned to the sea; the defense appears to reject the state’s jurisdiction over the waters of the Channel Islands, because the islands themselves are independent principalities and outside of the states’ jurisdiction (San Francisco Call, 05/10/1899, pg. 4)

1934: International Longshoremen’s Association strike on the Pacific coast begins; in San Francisco Harry Bridges (see April 08) was chairman of the rank and file strike committee; initial strike by 12,000 men grows to 35,000 when 8 more unions join the ILA action (Rainen, 1991, pgs. 64-65; Wikipedia) (see May 14 and 15)

1944: Net Layer USS Satinleaf (AN-43; ex YN-62; commissioned 04/08/1944; decommissioned 04/04/1946) arrives in San Pedro for shakedown; leaves San Pedro on 06/13/1944 for Pearl Harbor, New Guinea, Australia, Leyte Gulf, and Borneo; returns to San Pedro on 01/04/1946 and moves to Tiburon, CA on 02/13/1946 for inactivation (NHHC; NavSource)

10 May:

1837: The Panic of 1837 began when all the banks in New York City suspended specie payments; the panic was the second worst depression in the history of the United States and lasted until 1843

1891: Major P.H. Downing, customs collector at San Pedro, dies

1896: Senators tell the New York Times that the clause favoring Santa Monica in the river and harbor appropriations bill was advanced by selfish motives and strengthened by the exercise of “forbidden and abhorrent forces”; Times claims Senators go about “whimpering to acquaintances” that the Santa Monica lobbyists “swarm in the senate lobbies and committee rooms, and even invade the senate corridors and Marble Room, in defiance of the stiff rules of the Senate” (New York Times, 05/11/1896; see May 07, 08, 09, 11, 14, and 21)


1912: Aeronautics and defense industry pioneer Glenn H. Martin of Santa Ana makes what was then the longest (and fastest) cross water flight in aviation history—a 68-mile round trip from Balboa or Newport Bay to Catalina and back; flight to Catalina took only 37 minutes; Martin landed at Avalon beach, received a $100 prize and picked up a sack of mail for the 51 minute return flight (San Francisco Call, 05/11/1912, pg. 9); with his inspiration fueled by the Dominguez Air Meet 2 years earlier (see January 10), Martin founded the Glenn L. Martin Co. in 1912 which merged with the original Wright Company 4 years later, forming the Wright-Martin Aircraft Company; in 1917 he left Wright-Martin and founded a second Glenn L. Martin Co.; in 1961 he merged his company with American-Marietta Corporation to form the Martin Marietta Corporation which, in turn, merged with the Lockheed Corporation in 1995 to form Lockheed Martin (the giant aerospace and defense contractor) (Wikipedia)

1941: Longest voyage (4,600 miles, 17 days) to save a vessel in maritime history; salvage ship Peacock (of the Merritt-Chapman Scott fleet) from San Pedro, California to the Nukulailai Islands in the South Seas to free the Steel Maker from a reef

1944: Submarine chaser USS Petoskey (PC-569; launched 01/22/1942; commissioned 05/09/1942; decommissioned 11/11/1946) leaves San Pedro, CA for inactivation overhaul at the New York Naval Shipyard and placement in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, Green Cove Springs, FL (NHHC; NavSource)

See Also May in San Pedro: Part Two and Part Three







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