The Korean Friendship Bell, a gift of peace to Los Angeles

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?





66 thoughts on “The Korean Friendship Bell, a gift of peace to Los Angeles

  1. I love you in tour director mode fullof fun facts and fotos 🙂
    The peace bell is a wonderful gift to your city and there was obviously much thought put into its location.
    Loving the lighthouse so much so I think I could live there!

  2. The Korean Friendship Bell certainly is beautiful, and I just love the style of that lighthouse! It’s got so much more character than many others. Thanks for another fun tour!

  3. You are the BEST tour director, Debra. Love that bell. It’s gorgeous.
    So is the lighthouse and the coastline.

    Isn’t it great when we live where we want to live? We no longer have the need to “get away” because we are already where we want to be. No packing required. 😎

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed my virtual tour, Nancy! And yes, I feel just as you do about exploring what is right under our nose. I watch tour buses with people from all over the world enjoying sites that locals walk on by and never even notice, and I think that’s a missed opportunity. No packing, and a great deal less expensive, too. 🙂

  4. No you can’t ! – stick to your very informative posting, you wicked girl … Imagine even THINKING of wandering off to accompany one of us … [grin]

  5. That’s the cutest lighthouse I’ve ever seen! My parents would take us to San Pedro’s fisherman village, Ports O’ Call, when we were kids. One of our favorite spots.

    1. We used to go sometimes when I was a child, too. I can remember when I thought it was such a long car ride. There are so many little pockets in San Pedro that are really interesting, aren’t there? Have you been to the Korean Bell? It’s on such a beautiful bluff–it’s worth the view alone. 🙂

  6. The Korean Bell really is beautiful – and the pavillion is such a pretty structure to protect it. I adore that little lighthouse – wouldn’t it be lovely to live in a situation like that and with all that history surrounding it too. 😀 Thanks for the tour!

    1. You’d love the little garden around the lighthouse, Cathy. It is very informal and a mixture of roses, hydrangeas, succulents and vegetables, as well as a variety of daisies and common flowers that fill in beautifully. Very colorful and perfect for being right on the ocean. I am certain I could live very happily in that little lighthouse. 🙂

    1. The Korean Friendship Bell is a beauty, CCU. It’s location is quite spectacular, too, sitting high on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It happens to be a very kite-friendly spot, too…always very windy. 🙂

  7. Nothing currently on my calendar but you are excitedly welcome when I go anywhere! 🙂 I love the lighthouse. And I love friendship between countries. And I love our tours. But you may have to invest in a few buses. I see these tours growing. 🙂

    1. I had a lovely weekend with one of my favorite bloggers stopping by my house while here in Los Angeles! I’ll be mentioning this lovely surprise in my next post. This was unanticipated by either one of us, so it goes to show you just never know! 🙂 I like to think there would be more opportunities for some of us to meet…but if not face to face, I must say that I find our blog-to-blog visits really enriching. 🙂

      1. I know! I know! I read her blog and she already scooped you! But I won’t say anything here in case your other readers don’t know. I absolutely loved her little videos. I miss her voice and I’ve never met her!

        I think WP should bring us together! 🙂

  8. Debra you are so good at this… I love your tours, I get to see a bit of the world I will never get to see in real life…
    That is some bell and if solid brass must weigh a ton or two…. lovely post

    1. Thank you, Rob. Isn’t that what makes our blogging interesting? When others have asked me more about why I read so many or what it is that I find so involving, I almost always mention your blog! I respond similarly to your lovely comment, by remarking that you show my wild animals in their natural habitat–and they seem to be in your back yard. LOL! I am so pleased that you enjoy making a few Southern California connections. I hope you have a great week.

    1. The military connections in San Pedro are really more impressive than I have the words to tell! I am not very astute when it comes to all that…but the more I read the more I realize there’s a wealth here that I could enjoy learning more about. I could really use a little more free time. LOL!

    1. I’m a Los Angeles native and it would be expected I’d know about so many of the places I share about, but Rommel is really so interesting to me. He shows more initiative and curiosity than many people I know who have lived here their whole lives! And I love his photography! I’m glad to know that between us we’ve improved your impression of SoCal! 🙂

    1. It is a beautiful bell, isn’t it? I’m glad I could share it. I haven’t known of it myself for more than a couple of years. And it’s positioned in a wonderful spot overlooking the Pacific Ocean. 🙂

  9. With havin so much written content do you ever
    run into any issues of plagorism or copyright violation? My site has a lot of unique content I’ve
    either authored myself or outsourced but it
    seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my authorization. Do you know any techniques to help
    prevent content from being stolen? I’d truly appreciate it.

    1. You know, I am not aware of any plagiarism, but I admit that I haven’t done anything to protect myself, either. I think my point in blogging is really to just continue sharing some interesting information that for the most part isn’t all that original. I can understand if someone is writing original pieces of prose or poetry, but in my case, I think I’m just adding personal observations about public places and tourist spots. I almost hope someone finds the information helpful enough to them that they want to use it. I know that isn’t helpful to you if you’re finding your work plagiarized, and I’m very sorry for that. I work in a university and plagiarism and misuse of other’s work is a very big problem. I am afraid with the Internet this is going to be a very hard problem to solve. I wish I had something more helpful to add. 😦

  10. The lighthouse is just gorgeous. I love the architecture. Back in the day, it must have been a beautiful home. I’m so glad it’s in a good state of repair and that it’s now become a tourist attraction. There’s clearly a lot to see and discover in your beautiful part of the world xx

    1. The Pt.Fermin lighthouse really is pretty, isn’t it? I love the setting, too. It’s in a park overlooking the Pacific Ocean and in the spring and summer it also has the most beautiful garden. I haven’t been inside. We were not able to take the time last time I was there, but I would like to take the tour sometime. I wish these old lighthouses were still shining their light, even if just for show! 🙂

  11. Tom McCubbin

    You have a knack for making your home area interesting to others! Nice photos. I know of San Pedro from the old 50s song “Hot Rod Lincoln”…

    1. I enjoy wandering around and asking questions of the places I visit or in some cases, see every day, and I enjoy sharing. I don’t know “Hot Rod Lincoln,” but I’ll bet my husband does. I’ll have to ask. 🙂

  12. Tour director extraordinaire is what you are, Debra.
    What an very interesting post and a reminder of how vital California was in the war effort and national defense during WWII, though I’m not sure I really realized until now how important it was in the Vietnam War. The Korean Friendship Bell must be a sight to behold in person, as it is remarkable to see here.
    I would love to see the Point Fermin Lighthouse and I’m now interested in the Stick Style Lighthouse, which is also new to me. Actually, I’ve become more interested in lighthouses after reading “The LIght Between the Oceans”, which I think you might enjoy.
    Sorry for being so late in reading/commenting here. Life got in the way – again. Hope you’ve been having a fabulous weekend (and heard a rumor that you’ve had a visitor from the South)

    1. No need to apologize for not stopping round…oh my goodness, yes! I did have that particular visitor. LOL! My weekend was about as full as I could manage, and I’m just now getting back on-line myself. 🙂 I am going to make a point of reading “The Light Between the Oceans,” Penny. It sounds interesting, and I do pay attention to your book selections. I didn’t know the Stick Style, either. I think that doing just a little bit of research to fill in some color to the story of the Korean Friendship Bell pointed out how many things I didn’t know about that area and I’m quite curious about how to fill in more gaps. Oh to have just a little bit more time for such things. 🙂 I hope you have a wonderful week!

  13. Pingback: She Took Me In And Gave Me Breakfast | The Accidental Cootchie Mama

  14. Dear Debra, thank you once again for such an enjoyable tour. The pagoda–its columns and gorgeous color on the beams and the bell itself are splendid. I’d so like to see them. You’ve given me another reason–San Pedro–to visit California. As I’ve aged I’ve found myself more and more wanting to travel. I’ve been to France and England and Holland (for two weeks in 1976 and 1978) and Greece in 1993, but I’ve traveled hardly at all in the United States. I’ve neglected the wonder and beauty and history of my own country. And on my bucket list is the resolve to do something about that–I just don’t know when! Thank you again. I look forward to Catalina and more. Peace.

  15. You brought so many memories flowing back from my youth, Debra! My mom and a close lady friend in Tokyo both married Niseis in the Military Intelligence Service after the war. As it turned out, they both settled here in SoCal with Mr. and Mrs. T. buying a home right by the bell at S. Patton and Paseo Del Mar. He loved the ocean as did his kids (tad older than us). We actually used to walk across Paseo Del Mar then DOWN a crumbly and narrow foot path straight down the cliff to the tide pools below. He’d catch octopus with a coat hanger or did up little black snails (yuk!) that his mom would boil up. Since then, the same cliff we scampered down fell into the ocean. The parents have both passed, the mother just maybe five years ago.

    Sorry… your post really brought the memories flowing. Thanks.

  16. Hi Debra, sorry to be missing your posts while I travel but they don’t show up on my reader which I do sometimes get to look at … this is a wonderful story and the bell looks beautiful, I do enjoy your tours … and i love that quaint little lighthouse. 🙂

  17. Hi Debra, I found your blog through a post by Andra Watkins. My daughter lives in Pasadena and I am sure she would enjoy your writing about the area. She and her husband have been there about three years and try to take side trips often. I’ll have her check you out!

    1. I would love to have the opportunity to share some of my “field trip” and “breathing lighter” moments with your daughter. There are many interesting things to do in the greater Los Angeles area and I have made it my “unofficial responsibility” to encourage others to take advantage. It’s a bit of a pressure cooker in Southern California and we need our little outings to balance life. Thank you for stopping by and I hope you will again. I am glad Andra introduced us. 🙂

  18. Korean Friendship Bell… Weeee! I love the breeze there. Was the breeze cool? I didn’t know about the renovation until you said it on my blog. Now that I saw what I could had seen I’m so glad now that my stop was not a disappointment. That house is a lighthouse!? 😀 The hill really is an optimal area for overlook and port location.

  19. Just beautiful! I didn’t know about this bell, but we have a Korean Friendship bell here in our canyon too. I seem to remember once visiting a Swedish sailors’ church in San Pedro. Am I dreaming, I wonder. It was a very long time ago, but I seem to remember that there is a Swedish community there and that I was somehow involved or visiting.

  20. I really can’t get my head around how BIG Los Angeles is, Debra. I love the way you toss off a phrase such as “just 29 miles south of downtown L.A” whereas here 29 miles might mean you being in the next county. 🙂

    The Korean Friendship Bell is lovely, both in itself as an artefact and in its significance as a symbol of the close relationship between two countries. As for the lighthouse and the other views you show us, they are simply delightful. You really are a wonderful advocate for the history and architecture of your home city, you know.

    1. I think one reason I continue to mention distance in my blogs is because I think Los Angeles is generally a very misunderstood city. It’s very large and spread out, and there are so many pockets of interest well beyond what tends to be shown in the media, which is often not very positive! San Pedro is a wonderful city. The history related to the military is a bit new to me, and now I’m enjoying learning a bit more about it myself. I’m glad you enjoyed seeing the Korean Bell and the beautiful Lighthouse, Perpetua. I enjoy the opportunity to share. 🙂

    1. I’m so glad you had the chance to visit the Korean Bell. When I first learned of it I was so surprised. And isn’t it just beautiful! I taught early childhood for years and never went beyond teaching 1st graders. I think I would have enjoyed teaching social studies to 4th graders! How old is your son? I am going to posting some photos of a couple more of the CA missions soon. We do have a wonderful state that is often misunderstood as only being an entertainment mecca. I love sharing a different perspective, so I thank you! And thank you for stopping by. 🙂

      1. He’s moving on to second gr in the homeschooling. No amt of $ would convince me to teach 1st in the public schools. =) I taught 5th in Philly before heading up the GATE program. Keep doing what brings you such joy. I am not a CA native so it’s all helpful to me as well.


        1. Thank you, Diana. My granddaughter is starting second grade in the fall and her sister is going into Kindergarten. I love this stage in their lives when everything is interesting to them! I taught in private schools, and had such freedom to teach as I wanted, as long as the state curriculum standards were met. It was such a joy, and sometimes I miss it, but I admit the workload was heavy. I admire you a lot for homeschooling. I wish more parents embraced that idea, but I also know that it is a very big undertaking. I hope I can provide you some photos and at least discussion topics. I’m learning a lot as I write, too, so it is fun!

I always enjoy hearing from you!

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