Saturday, July 2, 2011

May in San Pedro: Part Three

May in San Pedro: Part Three

21 May:

1896: River and Harbor Bill agreed to by the U.S. Senate—excepting the appropriations for a southern California deep-sea harbor; new conference ordered to resolve the San Pedro vs. Santa Monica question—which called for another commission (New York Times, 05/21/1896; 05/22/1896; 05/23/1896) (see May 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 14)

1912: Silent movie Rivals (IMDb) is released; Director: Colin Campbell; Stars: Hobart Bosworth, Tom Santschi and Phyllis Gordon; filmed on Santa Catalina Island

1946: Landing craft repair ship USS Chimaera (ARL-33; ex LST-1137; launched 03/30/1945; fully commission on 08/07/1945) arrives in San Pedro from Green Cove Springs, FL; leaves San Pedro on 09/17/1946 for Pearl Harbor and Tsingtao, China; left China for return to San Pedro on 10/14/1947 where she was decommissioned on 03/08/1948 and assigned to the Pacific Reserve Fleet, San Diego Group (NHHC; NavSource)


1971: 3rd film in the Planet of the Apes franchise, Escape from the Planet of the Apes (a.k.a. The Secret of the Planet of the Apes) is released; directed by Don Taylor and starring Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, and Bradford Dillman with Sal Mineo, Natalie Trundy, Eric Braeden, and Ricardo Montalbán; the film’s climax takes place at the Todd Shipyard in San Pedro (see April 01) (IMDb; TCM; AFI; WGML; Wikipedia)

22 May:

1902: Wireless stations at Avalon on Catalina (see March 25) and Point Fermin in San Pedro are almost completed; equipment for the LA station is en route from Denver; the new wireless system will be the 1st of its kind on the Pacific Coast

1923: Los Angeles Times (05/22/1923) reports that 3,000 posters entitled "Strike Still on at San Pedro Water Front" will be distributed by the IWW at a Liberty Hill evening meeting on 05/23/1923; Upton Sinclair will be a speaker at the meeting; harbor police claim to have secret information about the meeting and a copy of the poster (see also May 01, 13, 15 and 23)


1937: Movie The Go-Getter (IMDb; TCM; AFI; Movie Mirrors; Time, 06/14/1937) 05/22/1937; Locations unknown; directed by Busby Berkeley; starring George Brent, Anita Louise, Charles Winninger (as Cappy Ricks); Based on the short story "The Go-Getter" by Peter B. Kyne in Hearst's International-Cosmopolitan; "The Go-Getter" was also published in Peter B. Kyne's book Cappy Ricks Comes Back (New York, 1934). It was one of a series of stories Kyne wrote around the character of Cappy Ricks; (see also May 24); the character of Captain Ricks was based on the real-life Captain Robert Dollar, the famous lumber and steamship magnate (see March 20)


1955: Dr. Elton Spires (San Pedro Chamber of Commerce president; Board of Harbor Commissioners member), John S. Gibson, Jr. (Harbor District Councilman; see April 15 and May 30), and Lloyd Menvig, (Board of Harbor Commissioners president) cut ribbon in opening ceremony for the new Hacienda Road in San Pedro which leads to the new golf course and the new San Pedro Hacienda community hotel (see March 01) and connects Western Avenue with Miraleste Drive (USCDL, examiner-m12416)


1960: Tsunamis caused by the Great Chilean Earthquake (largest quake of the 20th century; measured at 9.5) hit the California coast; in the LA and Long Beach harbors of San Pedro Bay 300 small craft are set adrift, 30 sunk, and 245 landing slips destroyed; yacht smashed into bridge piers (which?); harbor current of 22 km/hr snapped and washed out pilings; 1,000s of liters of gasoline and oil spilled from overturned boats; several buoys and navigational aids swept away at Terminal Island; Coast Guard landing tide gage washed out to sea (recovered 5.6 kilometers away) (Dennis Piotrowski, 03/07/2010); prior tsunamis to hit San Pedro and Wilmington were on 08/13/1868 (1.8 meters), 05/10/1877 (1-1.7 meters), and 11/22/1878 (1 meter) (CGS); see April 01 for the harbor’s current Tsunami Inundation Zone designated by the California Emergency Management Agency; see Moffatt & Nichol (2007) for a tsunami hazard assessment for the 2 San Pedro Bay ports


1990: The First Baptist Church in San Pedro (see April 26) is declared Historic-Cultural Monument No. 505 by the City of Los Angeles


1992: Movie Far and Away (IMDb; TCM; AFI) is released; directed by Ron Howard; starred Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, with Thomas Gibson, Robert Prosky, and Barbara Babcock; film was shot in Ireland, Montana, Oklahoma, and California; the shipboard scene was filmed in the San Pedro Channel off Santa Catalina Island


2003: Dedication of the American Merchant Marine Memorial Wall of Honor, in San Pedro, CA on Maritime Day; MM&P (International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots) President Capt. Tim Brown was the guest speaker: "In WWII, 7,000 merchant seaman [listed on the Wall of Honor] were lost along with 700 merchant vessels. 144 cadets were lost, some making a maiden voyage. There were 567 merchant seamen captured and held at POW camps and eventually repatriated to the US. Sadly, 63 merchant seamen died while prisoners of war of the Japanese. 141 merchant seamen were awarded the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal.” (Wheelhouse Weekly, 05/29/2003)

23 May:

1898: Horace Hiller dies at age 53; Hiller was born in Hudson, NY on 03/18/1845; at age 14 he left for NYC to work for an uncle; he then spent several years in Illinois, with time out for service in the Union Army, before moving to Los Angeles where he was soon employed by the lumber dealers of Perry & Woodworth (staying 14 years); he then worked as bookkeeper for the water, gas, and electric light companies before managing a large lumber yard (which?) in San Pedro for 2 years; returning to LA, he started the Los Angeles Lumber Company and was one of the organizers of the Los Angeles Sewer Pipe Company (Guinn, 1912, Vol. 2, pgs. 423-425)

1912: Los Angeles Board of Public Works proposes a new route for an auto-truck highway to the San Pedro waterfront; Works Board route goes east down 4th Street, south on Front and Beacon to 14th Street, and southeasterly on San Pedro Street to the Huntington Concession and the new city docks; proposed route is an alternative to the Pacific Ave.-14th St. route supported by the Harbor Commission and proposed in the initiative petition currently before the voters; Harbor Commission initially wins internal squabble and San Pedro property owners request entire Pacific Ave. route be paved—but 43 San Pedro businessmen and property owners submit a petition supporting the Beacon St. route and the conflict continues (Los Angeles Times, 05/23/1912, pg. II2; 05/24/1912, pg. I16; 05/25/1912, pg. II2; 05/30/1912, pg. II2; 06/01/1912, pg. II3; 06/06/1912, pg. II2; 06/11/1912, pg. II3; 06/14/1912, pg. II2; 06/27/1912, pg. I7; 07/02/1912, pg. II12; 07/06/1912, pg. II2; 07/10/1912, pg. II2)

1923: Meeting in the IWW union hall (later the Maritime Social Club building) in San Pedro at 12th and Centre St. (see March 01 and Also in March) leads to the founding of the Southern California Chapter of the ACLU (see also May 01, 13 and 15)


1923: Los Angeles Times (05/23/1923) reports that the (now lost) highly successful silent movie The Isle of Lost Ships (IMDb; AFI; Wikipedia; AllMovie), released 03/18/1923, was dedicated to the navy fleet in San Pedro; in the movie, filmed on location at Catalina, the hero and heroine escape on a derelict submarine (borrowed from the San Pedro base?); the film (which influenced both Ann Rand and Alfred Hitchcock) was directed by Maurice Tourneur and starred Anna Q. Nilsson, Milton Sills and Frank Campeau; according to the New York Times (05/14/1923), “some of the scenes of a storm at sea are as good as any if not better than have been put into other pictures. The rising of a submarine to the surface after it has been freed from the weeds by a man shot out of a torpedo tube is impressive”; movie was remade in 1929 (see IMDb-2)


1924: The “Great White Steamer” SS Catalina (see May 16) is christened; ship was specially built for William Wrigley to serve his Santa Catalina Island (bought from the Banning brothers) as a passenger ferry to Avalon from San Pedro, CA;



The above video, posted on YouTube by the Catalina Island Museum (another copy on YouTube is posted by Cruising the Past), is a tribute to both the Catalina and the Avalon (see May 31), which operated together in the 1920s-1950s

1946: Salvage vessel USS Gear (ARS-34; ex BARS-4, HMS Pacific Salvor; launched 10/24/1942 by Basalt Rock Co., Napa, CA; bought by US Navy on 09/21/1942 and commissioned on 09/24/1943; decommissioned at San Pedro on 07/06/1945) returns to San Pedro after service at Pearl Harbor, Gilbert Islands, Marshall Islands, Guam, Saipan, Marianas, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Ulithi, Portland, and Alaska; the Gear remained in San Pedro until she was decommissioned and assigned to the San Diego Group, U.S. Pacific Reserve Fleet; on 02/24/1953 she was reactivated and assigned to the Merritt Chapman Scott Corp. for Navy towing and salvage service at San Pedro, CA; she was struck from the Naval Register on 04/30/1981 and sold for scrap on 07/01/1982 (NHHC; NavSource; Wikipedia)

1958: Devastating fire at the 10-acre Hancock Oil Co. refinery in Long Beach, CA threatens to engulf 860,000-gallon tank of poisonous tetraethyl lead after 14 large tanks blow up; 2 workers die and 3 injured; Air Force Base and 400 patients from the Long Beach General Hospital are evacuated (Lethbridge Hereald Alberta, 05/23/1958 transcribed in GenDisasters, 06/06/2009)


1997: Blockbuster sequel, The Lost World: Jurassic Park (a.k.a. Jurassic Park 2, Lost World; budget $73 million; worldwide gross $618.6 million; filming dates: 09/04/1996-12/20/1996), is released; the San Diego InGen wharf scenes were filmed on location at San Pedro’s Southwest Marine (see April 01) on Terminal Island; the shot of the T-Rex boat crashing into the dock was a composite of a model boat and dock with background plates filmed in San Pedro (IMDb; TCM; AFI; WGML; Wikipedia; BOM; JPL; JPD; Duncan, 1997, pg. 140)

24 May:

1887: LA rumors that Jay Gould has purchased Rattlesnake Island in San Pedro are given credence by the announced proposal to extend the Union Pacific to Los Angeles

1890: Captain J.F. Janes (see March 14; April 17 and 26; Also in May; December 22), “puissant editor of the double-headed publication” San Pedro Shipping Gazette and City Front Gazette, reveals details of recent filibustering plans and past adventures to the Los Angeles Times (05/24/1890, pg. 6; see also 05/22/1890, pg. 3, 05/22/1890, pg. 4, 05/24/1890, pg. 6b, and 05/29/1890, pg. 4)


1913: Double-deck city pier collapses in Long Beach, CA; 400 people (mostly women and children) celebrating British Empire Day (Queen Victoria’s birthday anniversary) fall 40’ when decayed timbers fail under weight of 10,000 celebrants and the upper floor gives way; up to 200 are injured (50 seriously) and 33 killed; the injured and killed were crushed or skewered by the shivered timbers; too many people were crowded together at the entrance to the 10-year-old city auditorium due to a delay in opening the doors; panic spread up and down the beach—blocking police and rescuers (New York Times, 05/25/1913 transcribed in GenDisasters, 01/04/2008; see also Los Angeles Times, 05/25/1913, pg. I1; 05/25/1913, pg. I10; 05/25/1913, pg. I1; 05/25/1913, pg. I9; 05/26/1913, pg. II2; 05/26/1913, pg. II2; 05/27/1913, pg. II1; 05/28/1913, pg.II10; 05/29/1913, pg. II1; 05/30/1913, pg. II1; see March 12 for images of the rebuilt auditorium in the 1920s)



1937: Movie Affairs of Cappy Ricks (IMDb; TCM; AFI; Wikipedia) is released; directed by Ralph Staub and starring Walter Brennan (with a fun over-the-top performance in his 2nd film portraying the title character—the 1st being 1935’s Cappy Ricks Returns), Mary Brian, Lyle Talbot, Frank Shields, and Frank Melton; unidentified location shots are probably Catalina and/or San Pedro with stock footage shot in the San Pedro Bay and/or Channel (San Pedro was used for location shooting in the prior film); Production Dates: Match 12 - late March 1937; download or watch online at Internet Archive; another film about the character Cappy Ricks (based on a well-known west coast business celebrity), The Go Getter, was released only 2 days earlier (see May 22)

25 May:


1952: USS Los Angeles (see May 03 for the USS Los Angeles memorial in San Pedro) docks at San Pedro, CA for the annual Harbor Day celebration (USCDL, examiner-m11501)

2001: Lackluster blockbuster movie, Pearl Harbor (IMDb; TCM; AFI; WGML; SS; TPT-1; TPT-2; Wikipedia), is released; key scenes were filmed in San Pedro, Long Beach and Rancho Palos Verdes; some shipboard shots were filmed on the SS Victory Lane, the Queen Mary plays herself (with Long Beach doubling for New York in the background) and a NY nightclub; the Point Vicente Lighthouse in RPV (where Ben Affleck “returns from the dead”) pretends to be in Hawaii;


Scenes of the Japanese high command were filmed at the Upper Reservation batteries of Fort MacArthur where Battery Osgood-Farley was partially filled with water to create a naval planning “playground”;


The Warner Grand building on 6th Street in San Pedro plays a Honolulu cinema, the Black Cat Diner, and a barber shop (with the Kai Kai Korner Crossroads across the street)

2005: The U.S. Coast Guard’s portable Integrated Anti-swimmer System (IAS) based out of San Pedro, CA designed to detect under water threats to high value vessels and port infrastructure is found to have no significant negative impact by the Environmental Reviewer (FONSI)


2007: Movie Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (IMDb; TCM; AFI) is released; the Black Pearl pirate ship is home ported in San Pedro during the filming of sea sequences in the San Pedro Channel (see videos of the Black Pearl in San Pedro in 2006 and 2007 posted on YouTube);

26 May:


1925: The lumber schooner Ludlow (4 masts; launched 07/19/1900 at Port Blakely, WA; named after Port Ludlow, WA; 900,000 board feet capacity) catches fire at Gulfport, MS and is declared a total loss (valued at $65,000); the Ludlow was the 96th ship built by the renowned Hall brothers (for John A. Hooper of San Francisco) and made her maiden voyage from Tacoma, WA to San Pedro, CA; the Hall Brothers Shipyard (1874-1903) built 108 classic wooden sailing vessels for the west coast and Hawaii trade routes renowned for their beauty, craftsmanship and speed (see White, 2008)

1943: US Navy fleet oiler USS Cache (AO-67; ex Stillwater; launched 09/07/1942; commissioned 11/03/1942; decommissioned on 01/14/1946; struck from the Navy list on 03/31/1986) arrives in San Pedro, CA for repairs after service at Bora Bora, the Society Islands, and Noumea; after returning to the South Pacific the Cache is severely damaged by a torpedo on 01/22/1944 and returns to San Pedro for permanent repairs; following repairs the Cache served in Saipan, Guam, Palau, the Philippines, and Luzon in 1944; in 1945 she served in the Luzon, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa operations; the Cache was assigned to the Maritime Commission after decommissioning, but was reacquired by the Navy on 02/10/1948 and operated in the Transportation Service and Military Sea Transportation Service (reclassified as T-AOT-67 on 10/10/1949) on a noncommissioned status until May 1972; the Cache received 8 battle stars for her WWII service (NHHC; NavSource; T2 Tanker; HG&U)


1946: Salvage lifting vessel USS Gypsy (ARSD-1; ex LSM-549; launched 12/07/1945; commissioned 03/18/1946; decommissioned on 01/21/1948; recommissioned on 08/08/1948) arrives in San Pedro; leaves San Pedro on 06/14/1946 for Operation Crossroads atomic tests—for which she witnessed the 07/25/1946 Baker Test, recovered beached and damaged craft, and did underwater work on test ships; the Gypsy returned to San Pedro on 12/10/1946 for extensive repairs; after re-commissioning she worked out of Guam and Pearl Harbor—leaving for Inchon, Korea on 01/09/1953; after her Korean service (for which she earned 3 battle stars) she participated in Operation Castle—witnessing the 2nd thermal nuclear explosion in history at the Bikini Atoll on 03/01/1954 and recovering test equipment; the Gypsy then returned to Pearl Harbor (arriving on 04/18/1954) and the west coast (arriving in Long Beach, CA on 05/04/1955); she was decommissioned on 12/23/1955 at Astoria, OR; in 1967 she was berthed in the reserve fleet at San Diego, CA (NHHC; NavSource)

27 May:

1874: Prostitution is outlawed in LA’s new central business district


1921: Los Angeles Times (05/26/1921, pg. III4; 05/28/1921, pg. II10) reports that the officers and men of the Submarine Base in San Pedro honored Captain and Mrs. Chauncey Shackford at the Long Beach Hotel Virginia; 5,000 invitations were issued and each attendee received a miniature 8 oz. brass souvenir favor (5.5” long) of the German U-boat UB-88 made from metal salvaged from the submarine; UB-88 was later sunk in target practice off San Pedro on 01/03/1921 (see January 03; UB88.org)

1912: New York archeologist, Professor George Mason, finds evidence of aboriginal cave dwellers on Catalina Island near Eagles Nest (Los Angeles Times, 05/27/1912, pg. I12)



1935: Shipboard comedy-thriller Murder in the Fleet is released; Directed by Edward Sedgwick (see also Grost, n.d.); Starring Robert Taylor, Jean Parker, Ted Healy, Una Merkle, Nat Pendleton; Jean Hersholt, Arthur Byron, Frank Shields, and Donald Cook; film served as a vehicle to launch Robert Taylor’s career as a leading man and marked the screen debut of the vaudeville team of John Hyams and Leila McIntyre (parents of Leila Hyams); the entire film was shot in only 18 days (03/28/1935-04/17/1935) with George Seitz directing the second unit on location at San Pedro, CA;


Much of the film takes place on a fictitious cruiser, the USS Carolina (not to be confused with the actual 1906 Coast Guard cutter USCG Carolina or the 1812 schooner USS Carolina); false reports that it was filmed on a real US Navy light cruiser has fueled doomed attempts to identify the ship by Navy and movie buffs; according to correspondence between the navy and the studio (referenced in Suid, 1996, pgs. 35-36) the navy initially denied all cooperation but then allowed a few newsreel-type shots of the cruiser USS Louisville, but reserved the right to censor the final film prior to release (after the release the navy denied any cooperation at all, saying the studio probably used stock footage from their library); see the original trailer on TCM (IMDb; TCM; AFI; FSM3D, 02/04/2011; New York Times, 06/03/1935)

1937: LA policeman, W.H. Redding, shoots an unarmed longshoreman, William “Big Bill” Greg, in a San Pedro café after the boisterous Greg made “uncomplimentary remarks” (International Juridical Association Monthly Bulletin, Vol. 6, 1937, pg. 6)


1994: Articles of incorporation filed for the Southern California Marine Institute (SCMI) located at Fish Harbor, Terminal Island (820 S. Seaside Ave., San Pedro, CA); the 1st planning session between CSU’s Ocean Studies Institute, USC, Occidental College, the Tatman Foundation, and Cabrillo Marine Aquarium to create a regional marine studies institute had been held in San Pedro in July 1993 after multiple budget cuts necessitated the merging of resources to fund a joint facility shared by multiple educational institutions; today the SCMI is a strategic alliance between 11 major universities in southern California—8 from the CSU system (represented by the Ocean Studies Institute, a consortium of the Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Northridge, Pomona, San Bernardino and San Marcos campuses), USC (Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies), UCLA, and Occidental College; in 2009 the Port of LA and the Annenberg Institute released the visioning study for a new $430 million 28-acre marine research complex (projected to be the largest urban marine research institute in the world) in San Pedro centered around the SCMI and the world’s largest salt water wave tank; in December 2010 the Notice of Preparation was released for the City Dock No. 1 Project and on 01/13/2011 the project’s Environmental Impact Report was presented to the public (see presentation PDF)

28 May:


1843: S.A. Cline is born in NY state; he became an apprentice in the cooper’s trade at age 14; after serving in the Union Army he worked in the Pennsylvania oil industry and Michigan stone quarries; after moving about the east and Midwest (marrying Elizabeth Case in Iowa in 1874), he moved to Los Angeles with his family in 1896 and to San Pedro in 1898 at age 55; the Clines had 3 children—Fred, Harry and Edith; both sons are married, live in San Pedro, and are members of the San Pedro Volunteer Fire Department (Guinn, 1907, Vol. 2, pg 1929; SPFD, 1905)

1845: James Swinford is born in Glasgow, Scotland; at age 10 he went to sea as a cabin boy working the African-Mediterranean trade; in 1864 he immigrated to Pennsylvania and in 1868 moved to San Francisco; for several years he worked as a bridge builder for the Southern Pacific line; he then worked as a steamboat engineer before joining the Pacific Coast Dredge Company and moving to San Pedro in 1882; after 15 years as machinery superintendent he resigned to start his own lime and cement business (which he sold about a year later) (Guinn, 1907, Vol. 2, pg. 2271)


1852: Letter to the Coast Survey in Washington, D.C. reports that the survey steamer Active, under Lt. James Alden, Jr., transported the U.S. mails for the Pacific Mail Steamship Company when its steamer, the Californian, was disabled at San Pedro (Appendix No. 27, p. 125, Coast Survey Report of 1853)


1860: Thomas Edward Gibbon is born in Prairie County, AR; mostly home schooled, Gibbon started teaching at age 19 and on 05/22/1883 (a week before his 23rd birthday) he was admitted to the bar in his home state; in 1888 he moved to Los Angeles for health reasons; in 1891 he organized the Los Angeles Terminal Railway Company (see February 26 and March 01) for St. Louis investors—becoming its Vice President and General Counsel; the Terminal railway bought the existing lines from LA to Pasadena and Glendale and built a new line to the harbor in San Pedro; the company purchased Rattlesnake Island from the Dominguez family—renaming it Terminal Island, built new docks and a resort, and opened the east side of San Pedro Creek (now the Main Channel) to coastal and international trade; after the successful campaign for a free harbor in San Pedro, in the 1890 he was made the 1st Vice President of the Harbor Jubilee committee (see February 18; April 25-27);


In January 1901 he organized the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railway Company for Montana Senator William A. Clark (see May 01 and October 22) and associates which acquired the Terminal Railway and built a line connecting it to Salt Lake City, UT—creating the Salt Lake Route (see March 01 and March 20) and the Los Angeles Limited between LA and Chicago (see December 17); in 1905 he was one of the directors of the State Bank of San Pedro; in 1907 Gibbon and associates bought the Los Angeles Daily Herald (he was its president and editor for 3 years); while on the Police Commission (1898-1899) he worked with LA Mayor M.P. Snyder to originate the rule limiting the number of saloons in the city (resulting in the vehement resistance to LA-San Pedro consolidation by the San Pedro saloon owners); after consolidation in 1909 (see March 29; ), at the request of the LA Chamber of Commerce, Gibbon was made a member of the Board of Harbor Commissioners—serving as president for 4 years; while on the commission he proposed the tide lands law suit (see May 01) which gave LA City control over several hundred acres surrounding the harbor; his activities with the railways, in the free harbor fight, and on the harbor commission (including the plans for harbor development and a municipal railway system) makes Gibbon the strongest contender for being the true father of the modern Port of Los Angeles—now the most important in the nation (Guinn, 1912, Vol. 3, pgs. 544-547; McGroarty, 1921, Vol. 2, pgs. 51-53; San Francisco Call, 04/26/1899, pg. 3-4)

1889: Articles of incorporation filed for San Pedro Electric Light and Power Company; $100,000 capital stock with $50,000 subscribed; Directors: James H. Dodson, E.E. Peck, D.R. Clay, James W. Hellman and W.L. Crain

1946: Battle damage repair ship USS Sarpedon (ARB-7; launched 08/21/1944; commissioned 11/16/1944; re-commissioned 03/19/1945) returns to San Pedro, CA for inactivation (she 1st visited San Pedro on 05/22/1945 en route from the east coast to the Pacific Theater); she is decommissioned on 01/29/1947 and placed in reserve at San Diego, CA (NHHC; NavSource)


1960: Groundbreaking ceremony held at 650 N. Harbor Blvd. in San Pedro for the new $29 million ($778 million in 2009 dollars using the relative share of GDP index) harbor bridge project spanning the Main Channel (later named the Vincent Thomas Bridge) with Governor Pat Brown, Assemblyman Vincent Thomas (primary promoter of the project), Senator Richard Richards and Lt. Governor Glenn M. Anderson (USCDL, examiner-m18297)

29 May:

1889: Albert G. Barton appointed United States Postmaster in San Pedro

1897: J.A. Weldt (see April 09 and 22) foils thief busily filling a large basket of goodies at the Taylor & Co. merchandise store in San Pedro after closing time; thief escapes, but goods are recovered (Los Angeles Times, 05/30/1897, pg. 27)

1912: 365 American refugees from Mexico arrive in San Diego on U.S. Army transport Buford; 41 disembark at San Diego, 160 are bound for San Pedro, and 163 for San Francisco

1929: International controversy triggered in San Pedro when U.S. dry agents buy beer aboard the German cruiser Hamburg

1934: 2 officers of the Grace line’s Santa Lucia are assaulted at a Wilmington terminal during the longshoreman’s strike


1942: Ill-fated early film noir, Moontide (IMDb; TCM; AFI; Wikipedia; SBR), is released based on the 1940 novel by lawyer/actor/author Willard Robertson set in San Pedro, California during the 1920s; in the movie San Pedro is renamed San Pablo and the “Swede” is changed to a Frenchman called “Bobo” for the Hollywood premier of French star Jean Gabin (who later joined the Free French Forces after being fired by RKO for refusing to work without his girlfriend, Marlene Dietrich); Moontide co-starred Ida Lupino, with support from Thomas Mitchell and Claude Rains; the main set for the movie (a bait barge moored to the Federal breakwater) had to be recreated in a large tank within a soundstage when the military authorities banned the scheduled location shooting in San Pedro due to post Pearl Harbor security restrictions (Bisen, 2005, pg. 86); 2 weeks into the film’s production director Fritz Lang was replaced by Archie Mayo; movie includes a short drunken “dream sequence” designed by surrealist Salvador Dali (see clip on YouTube)


1946: One of the world's most powerful icebreakers, the USS Edisto (AG-89; keel laid 05/15/1945; commissioned 03/20/1947; reclassified AGB-2 on 01/28/1949; transferred to the Coast Guard on 10/20/1965 and reclassified WAGB-284; decommissioned 11/15/1974) is launched by Western Pipe and Steel Co. in San Pedro, CA; assigned to Boston, MA she left San Pedro on her shakedown cruise to the east coast on 04/11/1947; after her 1st  trip to the Arctic Circle via Greenland she returned to Boston and left on her 1st  Antarctica expedition on 11/01/1947 for the Second Antarctic Development Project (Operation Windmill; see Nutt, 1948: Abstract; PDF); for over 2 decades she made many notable expeditions and rescues in both locations (NHHC; NavSource; Wikipedia)

30 May:

1850: Memorial filed with the county clerk of Los Angeles requesting a customs house at San Pedro and the designation of San Pedro as a port of entry (see also November 10 and February 15)

1887: Official announcement that the Union Pacific Railway has completed purchase of Rattlesnake Island in San Pedro for terminal purposes; price not reported

1912: Dredger San Francisco discovered ablaze in San Pedro by watchman (Los Angeles Times, 05/30/1912, pg. I2)


1941: In the Navy (starring Abbott and Costello, Dick Powell, the Andrew Sisters, and Claire Dodd, with Shemp Howard and The Condos Brothers) is released; location shots filmed in San Pedro and San Diego; Dedication: “To the United States Navy and to the Officers and Enlisted Personnel of the San Diego and San Pedro Bases. This picture is dedicated in grateful appreciation of their invaluable cooperation.” (IMDb; TCM; AFI; see also Hollywood Movie Musicals By John Howard Reid, pg 77-?; Reid, 2006)

1945: Todd Shipyard Fire, Berth 104


1951: John S. Gibson, Jr. wins harbor area councilman election and receives congratulations from his campaign manager, A.T. Leavell, and a kiss from his wife (USCDL, examiner-m1054)


1951: Gold Star mothers, Blue Star mothers, Navy wives and mothers, and Girl Scout Mariners throw flowers from deck of coast guard cutter Morris during Memorial Day services in the outer harbor off San Pedro's Cabrillo Beach (USCDL, examiner-m1076)


1952: San Pedro Memorial Day services are held in the outer harbor on the Coast Guard Cutter Morris by the Gold Star Mothers, Navy Mothers Club and Fleet Reserve Auxiliary and at Green Hills Memorial Park by the San Pedro Association of Patriotic Societies (USCDL, examiner-m11654)


1952: 19-year-old UCLA freshman Jeri Miller wins the Miss Welcome to Long Beach contest at the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium; finalists (left to right) included Helen Weir of Santa Ana, Dolores Tregarthen of San Pedro, Jeannette LeVere of Bell—Maywood, Loubelle Lewis of Hollywood, Jean Klaus of Westwood Village, Laura Johnson of North Long Beach, Julie King of South Gate, Audrey Kofahl of Seal beach, and Lorraine Hudson of Norwalk (USCDL, examiner-m11670)


1958: Associated Patriotic Society of San Pedro hold Memorial Day services on the US Coast Guard Cutter Morris at Berth 90; in Long Beach services are held on the Navy light cruiser USS Roanoke off the Magnolia Pier (USCDL, examiner-m16612)

31 May:

1865: Joseph Fellows is born in Staffordshire, England; family immigrated to America and arrived in Iowa in 1873 then settled in Minneapolis, MN; Fellows began learning the boat building trade at age 14, which he pursued in Spokane, Portland and Seattle before becoming yard supervisor at the San Francisco Launch Company; in 1898 he moved to San Pedro to build the 60’ yacht J.C. Elliott; in 1899 he established his own business (with J.T. Pugh, the well-known boat designer) on Terminal Island (known as the Joe Fellows Yacht and Launch Co. of Wilmington in 1915, then Fellows & Stewart, Inc. of Wilmington in the 1920s—the main yard was at Berth 206 in 1936; see Phone Directory; see also Los Angeles Times, 05/19/1912, pg. I9), building yachts, launches and sailboats; Fellows was a cofounder of the South Coast Yacht Club (see March 01 and 03) and by 1907 his firm had designed and built many successful racers (including the Venus, the Minerva, the Minerva II, the Mischief, the Myth, and the Monsoon) (Guinn, 1907, Vol. 2, pgs. 1888-1889); the classic yachts (including Stan Laurel’s Ida May built in 1926), yawls, speed boats, and cruisers built by Fellows & Stewart in the 1920s and 1930s are still in high demand today;


In the 1940s-1950s the firm also built sub chasers (SC-1005—the ex PC-1005—and SC-1006 were laid down on 04/13/1942, SC-1007 on 05/04/1942, and SC-1008 on 05/08/1942), rescue, passenger and tug boats for the Navy and Army; they also built fireboats for the Long Beach (Fireboats No. 1 and No. 2 in 1954) and LA Fire departments (Fireboat No. 3 in 1928) (LAFIRE; Shipbuilding History; RCGroups; Treadwell, 2000; NavSource; Splinter Fleet) (Note: Joseph’s descendent, Richard Fellows of San Pedro, rebuilt Red Car No. 1058 in the early 1960s—see RPN)

1866: San Pedro and Los Angeles entrepreneur Jonathon “Don Juan” Temple dies in San Francisco at age 97; Temple was born in Reading, Massachusetts on 09/25/1768; Captain/trader in the Sandwich Islands in 1825 and a LA merchant (at Spring and Main) in 1827; opened a general store in LA with George Rice in April 1828; built the original Temple Block which was later rebuilt by his bother F.P.F. Temple); bought the Casa de San Pedro from Abel Stearns in 1845 (with his partner David W. Alexander); built the LA City Market in the mid 1850s; bought out Don Pedro Dominguez’s interests in the Dominguez Ranch (later bought by J. Bixby and now Long Beach city);made a fortune selling cattle to miners during the Gold Rush and by leasing the Mexico mint

1887: Wreck of the Kennebec is raised at San Pedro and anchored off Long Beach


1920: Chartered launch Barbara is wrecked by explosion in mid channel on trip from San Pedro to Catalina—3 injured; despite multiple signals of distress, the Captain of the Catalina steamer Avalon (see also May 23) refused to stop and help the survivors—ship’s porter says the captain thought it was a movie stunt; survivors are later rescued by a passing boat, the Cabrillo (Los Angeles Examiner, 05/31/1920)

Also in May:

1809: Sea otter trader and smuggler from New England, Captain William Shaler (who published his 1808 journal) anchors the Lelia Bryd (which in 1805 became the 1st American ship to visit San Pedro, CA) at Santa Catalina Island for repairs; after 6 weeks he anchors the ship in San Pedro for trade with the Pueblo de Los Angeles and the Mission San Gabriel (see Ogden 1975)


1850: Territory of Utah is organized as part of the 1850 Compromise which admitted California as a free state; the much larger state of Deseret (with the capital in Salt Lake City and a sea port at San Pedro) was originally proposed in 1849 by Brigham Young

1853: 4 expeditions start exploring possible routes for a Pacific coast railroad

1885: Sailor strike in San Pedro results in wage increase from $30 to $35/man

1886: Captain Janes (see March 14; April 17 and 26; May 24; December 22) is thrown out of a LA City Council meeting for interrupting the proceedings by asking “foolish questions” and smoking a “nefarious” cigar; Janes responds by stating he’d “blow the whole council to h—l” if he had the dynamite—or he threatened to dynamite the LA city hall if he was forcibly evicted (Stimson, 1955, pg. 447; Los Angeles Times 05/11/1886)

1887: Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad reaches LA via Pasadena, San Bernardino, Barstow and San Diego (California’s 3rd transcontinental rail line)

1888: No one died in San Pedro (of infectious disease?)

1893: Waterfront tempers continue to boil; armed sailors board the Halcyon in San Pedro to remove nonunion crew; shots are supposedly fired on both sides; 1 union man killed; 1 union man is arrested but acquitted (source?; see also March 20)

1900: Robert Lee Brand, proprietor of the Sea-Side Market (see April 29), is married to Clara L. Hansen in San Pedro, California; Brand was born in West Virginia on 08/02/1863; at age 6 his family moved to Balltown, MO; at age 23 he moved to Visalia, California where he learned the butcher’s trade; after returning to Missouri to run the family farm for a year, Brand moved to San Pedro in 1885/86 and returned to the butcher trade as a clerk for George Hinds and later for J.L. Griffin at the Seaside Market—which he bought after working there a year (Guinn, 1907, Vol. 2, pg. 1649)

1944: San Pedro High alumnus (class of 1942), Leslie D. Demott, leaves San Diego with naval squadron for Pacific Theater duty; flies 44 missions as gunner and radioman on B-24s before returning to San Diego (St. John, 1990, pgs. 95-96)

1947: San Pedro threatens to secede from Los Angeles

1950: Union Oil Company Tank Farm Fire, Berth 129

1954: Battle of Dien Bien Phu ends French rule in Indochina


1968: Recycled movie The Counterfeit Killer (a.k.a., Crackshot; Piege a San Francisco) about murder, counterfeiters, seedy seaman hotels, sleazy bars, underworld pawn brokers, and the Secret Service in San Pedro, CA is released (the European version changed San Pedro to San Francisco); film stars Jack Lord, in a precursor of his Hawaii Five-O persona of Steve McGarrett (Note: According to MBC Richard Boone was 1st offered the role of McGarrett and he convinced its producer, Leonard Freeman, to move the show’s filming location from San Pedro, CA to Honolulu, HI), as an undercover federal agent posing as a professional hit man; the film is an expanded and re-edited version of a Bob Hope Presents The Chrysler Theater teleplay, The Faceless Man, 1st broadcasted on 05/04/1966; movie changed the original Cold War plot (about the murder of smuggled defectors) of the failed pilot into an organized crime thriller; movie was set and filmed in the old notorious Beacon Street area of San Pedro that was demolished only a few years later (IMDb; TCM; AFI; JackLord; RJL; RT)

1989: Harbor Commission President, Ira Distenfield, denies initial berth request for the SS Lane Victory; ship is towed into San Pedro without authorization in December 1989


2007: As part of the port’s Strategic Plan for Safety and Security, Controlled Navigation Areas (CNAs) in the Los Angeles harbor are approved to restrict the entry of recreational boats to designated areas and the vicinity of commercial docks and vessels; jumping from one extreme to the other, this 1st ever blanket restriction of small craft/non-commercial vessel access in the port was made in response to the risk of terrorist incursion identified by the Coast Guard and “intelligence agencies”; entry to CNAs will require prior authorization by the Port Police—basically everywhere except the West Channel marinas, the East Basin marinas, the SP Slip, Fish Harbor, and the west side of the Main Channel between 6th Street and Ports O’ Call (see POLA)

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

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