I enjoy my role as blogging tour director, and I’m very grateful you are willing to let me share Southern California from my perspective. One of the best comments I receive is when you tell me that I’ve changed a previously held impression, obviously not a positive view, of Los Angeles.
What you probably need to remember is that Los Angeles covers so much area that many native Angelenos haven’t investigated all the nooks and crannies either.
Today’s tour will take us just 29 miles south of downtown L.A. to one of my favorite destinations within the City of Los Angeles–San Pedro.
We’ve been there before, but you may not recall the name of the town.
Do you remember when we visited the U.S.S Iowa? Or when we conquered the Vincent Thomas Bridge? How about the Port of Los Angeles, 7,500 acres of land and water in San Pedro Bay? This is the busiest container port in the United States and the 9th busiest worldwide when combined with the neighboring Port of Long Beach.
But there is so much more. It is a city of hills, offering panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and a strategic view of Catalina Island. I haven’t taken you with me to Catalina yet. We must do that soon.
I’ve been waiting for something special to come out from under the tarps!
Renovation finally complete, I can now share this very beautiful, and strategically placed Korean Bell of Friendship.
Isn’t it beautiful?The bell was donated to the people of Los Angeles by the people of the Republic of Korea, to celebrate the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976 and also to honor veterans of the Korean War, consolidating friendship between the two countries.
The bell design suggests the Bronze Bell of King Songdok, cast in 771 A.D. and currently on view in South Korea.
The stone pagoda-style pavilion, constructed in Korea, is supported by twelve columns representing the twelve designs of the Oriental Zodiac.
This beautiful Korean Friendship Bell sits in Angels Gate Park, formerly a section of Fort MacArthur, once responsible for protecting the Southern California coastline during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War years. Sitting high on the bluffs overlooking Los Angeles Harbor, Catalina Channel and the sea terraces of San Pedro Hill, the bell is on the same knoll overlooking the point where U.S. troops have sailed into the Pacific.
Just a few steps from the pagoda you can see remnants of that history.
Abandoned gun turret placements are scattered about and the Temple Bell sits on the battery once housing munitions bunkers. There are still many military buildings, not in use, but a reminder of how San Pedro has played a role in national defense.
Do you have time for one more stop in my brief tour of San Pedro?
Isn’t this a charming little lighthouse?
The Point Fermin Lighthouse was the first navigational light into the San Pedro Bay. The Stick Style Victorian lighthouse was used for six lighthouses built between 1873 and 1874, with three still standing–East Brothers in San Francisco Bay, Hereford Light in New Jersey, and this little beauty.
Between 1927 and 1941 the light was electrified and managed by the city, but the light was extinguished on December 7th, 1941, out of fear that the light would be a beacon to enemy ships and planes, making the coastline vulnerable to attack. Instead, during WWII, the lighthouse was used as a US Navy lookout tower and signaling stations for ships coming into the harbor.
The light was never lit again, and following the war the lighthouse was turned over to the City of Los Angeles. It is open to the public and is part of a lovely park with beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean.
San Pedro is home to family members and we visit frequently. I’m still trying to work in a private tour of some of the abandoned Nike Missile defense sites and as you can imagine, I have a lot of questions. When I twist just the right arm and get in “a little deeper” I’ll take you on another tour…and then there’s Catalina Island.
I have so many stories to tell! I’d better get my calendar synchronized. What’s on your calendar? Can I come, too?