Welcome from the Executive Director Commission LA Waterfront Stay Connected with the Port on Facebook Twitter and eAlerts
Follow the Port on Facebook Follow the Port on TwittereAlertsLAtitude

Historical Archives

As part of the Port of Los Angeles' Centennial celebration, the Los Angeles Harbor Department established an Archives to collect and preserve historical materials relating to the history and operation of the Port of Los Angeles. The Historical Archives maintains over 26,000 linear feet of materials including records, documents, maps, drawings, photographs, films, artifacts, and ephemera generated during the course of official business and community outreach.

Do you love port history? The Port of Los Angeles Historical Archives now has a blog that features some untold stories about the LA Harbor area from years past. Be sure to subscribe at www.portlaarchives.com


Hours and Location

Los Angeles Harbor Department Historical Archives
272 South Fries Avenue
Wilmington, CA 90744
(310) 732-0360
Click here to send an email to Historical Archives

Research Access: Tuesday/Thursday, by appointment only


Documents & Records

The Port's archives collection includes over 100 years of meeting minutes, letters of correspondence, reports, and contracts and agreements created during the course of business.


The Port's photo collection includes nearly 200,000 images from the 1890s through present day. These images document a wide variety of harbor history, including Port operations, events, construction, harbor communities, fishing, shipping, and cargo handling. Forms of photography include nitrate, acetate, polyester and glass plate negatives, lantern slides, projection slides, paper prints and digital images. The Archives is currently digitizing its photograph and records collections.  Click here to search thousands of photographs online.

Maps & Drawings

Historical Archives maintains over 14,000 historic architectural blueprints, drawings and conceptual sketches of Port projects dating back to 1907. The Port's map collection focuses on the changing geography of the Port during the 20th century.


The Port's artifacts collection includes historic machinery and equipment, fossils, bottles, ceramics, architectural details, pins, plaques, statues, and works of art. 

Oral Histories

As part of The Port’s Centennial celebration in 2007, more than 100 members of the harbor community were interviewed and recorded. Their narratives provide insight on the development of the Port and give added dimension to the harbor community’s history. Click here to view Oral Histories.


Historical Archives contains a substantial collection of moving images, dating from the 1920s through the 1990s, chronicle everyday harbor community life, and include promotional pieces, news clips, home movies, and feature films shot in and around the harbor area.

Reference Library

Historical Archives has an extensive library of books, DVDs, maps, dictionaries and CDs available for on-site research. Topics include (but are not limited to) Los Angeles Harbor history, harbor community history, shipping, transportation, economics, nautical terminology, Port guides, foreign etiquette, and biographies.


Historical Archives hosts a number of rotating exhibitions each year. To visit the archives and view exhibitions contact the Archives Office at (310) 732-0360.

Internship & Volunteer Opportunities

For information about internship and volunteer opportunities at the Los Angeles Harbor Department Historical Archives, contact the Port's Human Resources Division at (310) 732-3480, or the Archives Office at (310) 732-0360.

Home menu Business menu Community menu Education menu Environment menu Facilities menu Finance menu History menu Maritime menu Newsroom menu Planning menu Recreation menu Security menu Transportation menu