Port as Steward

While the Port of Los Angeles has not prioritized the preservation and reuse of Terminal Island’s historic buildings, it has been a good steward of its rich history in other ways. The Conservancy shares the excitement surrounding these developments that will bring more people to the waterfront.

We applaud the Port for investing in its heritage to serve as an economic engine for tourism, commerce, and research. We urge the Port to apply the same commitment to seeking creative reuses and fostering the co-existence of its past, present, and future to the historic resources of Terminal Island.

While currently less accessible to the public than other historic places at the Port, these remaining authentic connections to our maritime and industrial past are equally important and deserving of protection in the living legacy of a working Port.

Examples of Stewardship

The most recent and notable example of the Port's stewardship is the recent arrival of the USS Iowa, a World War II-era battleship that will be permanently berthed at the Port. Operated by the nonprofit Pacific Battleship Center, the USS Iowa is expected to draw 400,000 visitors a year to the Port. 

The Port’s website hosts an extensive history of the Port, including a walking tour, a virtual tour, and oral history interviews with harbor community members conducted as part of its centennial celebration in 2007.

The Port has served as the longtime home of two National Historic Landmark maritime vessels: the Ralph J. Scott Fireboat, a 1925 fireboat known as Los Angeles Fireboat No. 2, and the SS Lane Victory, a 1945 merchant ship that provided logistical support for the armed forces and is a living memorial to the service of merchant marines in the nation’s war efforts.

Since opening in 1979, the Los Angeles Maritime Museum has been housed at the San Pedro Municipal Ferry Building (Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #146; listed in the National Register of Historic Places). Located along the San Pedro waterfront area of the Port, the 1941 Moderne building housed a ferry system that transported passengers to and from Terminal Island’s canneries, shipyards, and military bases between 1941 and 1963 before the Vincent Thomas Bridge connected the island to the mainland. The Port and the museum have recently invested $700,000 in repainting and building upgrades.

Also recently completed is an extensive $1.8 million exterior rehabilitation of the 1913 Angels Gate Lighthouse, standing at the tip of the 10,000 ft-long breakwater and welcoming all who enter the harbor. Using mitigation funds from the China Shipping project at the Port, the exterior work is the first phase in renovating the rest of the lighthouse, which is under the joint custodianship of the Cabrillo Beach Boosters Club and the U.S. Coast Guard.

In addition to the long-term support of these organizations and historic resources, the Port is embarking on an exciting redevelopment of both the San Pedro and Wilmington waterfronts that embraces heritage tourism.

A portion of one of two 1940s-era Navy-built warehouses opened in 2012 to house Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles, an arts and crafts marketplace showcasing locally made crafts and artisan food. The adaptive reuse of the of the second warehouse has yet to be completed. On the horizon is the adaptive reuse of several historic 1910s-1930s warehouses and transit sheds at Municipal Pier No. 1 for the City Dock One Marine Research Center. In part a new home for the Southern California Marine Institute, City Dock One will also house a science business park/incubator space, a new lab for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and berths for research vessels to dock.