Port of Los Angeles will conduct free, public tours
of Harbor Area Historical Sites

SAN PEDRO, Calif. — April 29, 2008 — The gas is on us! Leave your car and take a free, narrated bus tour of six historical sites in San Pedro and Wilmington with the Port of Los Angeles Steppin’ Back in Time Historical Tour on Saturday, June 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bring your camera and let the Port of Los Angeles provide an experience of days gone by like no one else can. The tours are free and open to the public. The sites on the tour are consistent with current LAUSD Elementary School curriculum so bring your children.

Tour buses will take sightseers on a nostalgic ride through Port history with stories about the Harbor area’s rich past including an up-close and personal view of some of the most revered historical sites, including the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, Point Fermin Lighthouse, Fort MacArthur Military Museum, Drum Barracks Civil War Museum and the Bannings Residence Museum. Buses will make a continuous loop to allow visitors to drop by the many sites at their leisure then re-board any bus to continue their adventure. Food, parking, historical maps and book signings will be available to make your day more enjoyable.

Historical Sites:

Los Angeles Maritime Museum
Located at the foot of 6th Street and Harbor Boulevard, visitors will see the largest nautical museum in California featuring more than 700 ships and boat models, navigational equipment, exhibits and maritime artifacts.  The museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Originally built in 1941, it operated as the Municipal Ferry Terminal in San Pedro. Until 1963, the ferry system transported thousands of passengers to the canneries and military bases on Terminal Island, where they could make connections to neighboring cities and towns.

From this stop, sightseers may opt to board the Port of Los Angeles Waterfront Red Car Line located at 6th Street and Harbor Boulevard to visit the S.S. Lane Victory, located at the end of the Cruise Ship Promenade. The Red Car Line features fully restored replica cars of the historic Pacific Electric Red Car.  Built in the Port of Los Angeles in 1945, the S.S. Lane Victory is the last of the fully restored and operational World War II 534 Victory cargo ships. This 455-foot-long ship is named after Isaac Lane, a man who rose from slavery to become a bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church and later founded Lane College in Jackson, Tenn. in 1882.

Within walking distance from the Maritime Museum is the Los Angeles Harbor Fire Museum also known as Old Fire Station 36. This museum is housed on the first floor of San Pedro City Hall, one of the oldest buildings still standing. This building has held a commanding view over Harbor Boulevard for nearly 100 years. At the fire museum, visitors can view old diving suits used before scuba gear was invented, exhibits highlighting spectacular fires in the harbor and artifacts of shipboard firefighting throughout the history of fire service.

As the tour heads to the Point Fermin Lighthouse site, sightseers will pass the Muller House located at 1542 S. Beacon Street and the Harbor View Cemetery located at 2411 Grand Avenue. The Muller House was the home of Edward Muller, a founding citizen of San Pedro and local shipbuilder. Built in 1899, the two-story colonial reflects the style of the 1920’s and features changing exhibits in its library. The tour will drive through the vicinity of the Harbor View Cemetery, the town’s first cemetery. In 1883, Augustus Timms, a German immigrant and pioneer who operated a wharf, warehouses and other services for shipping and stage coaching, gave the land to the town. He purchased the center plot for $1 and died later that year. Many local pioneers are buried in this old cemetery.  In addition to Augustus Timms, the Sepulveda family has a mausoleum named after Rudecinda Sepulveda Dodson, a member of the Sepulveda family who owned a major portion of what was once know as Rancho San Pedro.

Point Fermin Lighthouse
Located at 807 Paseo Del Mar in San Pedro, the Point Fermin Lighthouse is one of San Pedro’s most recognized landmarks. This graceful Victorian-style building is surrounded by vibrant plants and multi-colored flowers. Point Fermin Lighthouse is one of the oldest Lighthouses on the West Coast and served as an aid in navigating vessels between the Channel Islands and Los Angeles Harbor for nearly 100 years. Visitors will experience first-hand the lifestyle of the light keepers at the turn-of-the-century. During the drive to and from the Lighthouse, sightseers will catch a glimpse of the Korean Bell, a massive, intricately decorated bell and pavilion donated in 1976 to the people of Los Angeles from the people of the Republic of Korea in celebration of the U.S. Bicentennial, to honor Veteran of the Korean War, and to foster friendship between the two countries.

Fort MacArthur Military Museum at the Battery Osgood-Farley Historical Site
Located at 3601 S. Gaffey Street in San Pedro, Fort MacArthur guests will be guided through the corridors and galleries within the Battery to view photos, drawings, exhibits and artifacts of Fort MacArthur and Los Angeles Harbor Defenses from 1920 through World War II. The Battery holds an important collection of historical structures which were part of the U.S. Army’s role in protecting against coastline invasions.
Banning’s Landing Community Center
Located at 100 E. Water Street in Wilmington, this community landmark is named after Phineas Banning, founder of Wilmington and nicknamed the “Father of the Los Angeles Harbor”, for his vision and influence that positioned the Port for future success as a maritime and international trade center. Built in 1996, this distinctly designed 10,000 square foot facility provides a place for recreational activities and the community with a beautiful “window on the waterfront”. Visitors to the Banning’s Landing Community Center will have an opportunity to amble through a photo gallery celebrating the City of Wilmington’s 150th (Sesquicentennial) Anniversary. Photography and other exhibit pieces will be on display depicting Wilmington’s rich history and its importance to the region.  Did you know the Wilmington Post Office, which opened in 1864, was the second in Los Angeles County? The U.S. Postal service has been in the Wilmington community for 144 years.

Drum Barracks Civil War Museum
Located at 1052 Banning Boulevard in Wilmington, visitors to the Drum Barracks will tour the only Civil War-era U.S. Army building/landmark still standing in California. The Drum Barracks once served as the main training, staging and supply depot for military operations in Arizona, Southern California and New Mexico. During the tour of the museum, ask the guide about the camel on the front lawn. There’s a story there. Yes, there were camels in Wilmington.

Banning Residence Museum
Located at 401 East “M” Street in Wilmington, Banning Residence visitors will see first hand how the Banning family lived in gracious American comfort. Inside the museum, the rooms are filled with elegant Victorian furnishings. The exterior of the residence is fashioned in the Greek revival style, characteristic of the homes in Banning’s hometown of Delaware. Near the Residence Museum is the Los Angeles Historic Preservation Overlay Zone referred to as “The Banning Park Neighborhood”. The 1200 blocks of Lakme Ave., Cary Ave., and Banning Boulevard (between East “L” and “M” streets) features historic homes built in Spanish, Dutch and American Colonial revival styles. Most of the homes were constructed during the 1930’s and 1940’s by developer Sid Spearing. The site was originally purchased by William Wrigley Jr. in 1927.

On the day of the historical tours, participants will also play a part in Banning’s Heritage Days celebration. Everyone will be transported to the year 1884, when dirt roads and stagecoaches were common sights. The Residence Museum will come alive with bustling ladies in elegant gowns, the dialogue of gentlemen in wool suits, horse drawn carriage rides, singing, dancing and music that capture the spirit of that era.

Step Back in History with the Port of Los Angeles. For more information, please call the Port of Los Angeles Special Events Hotline at (800) 831– PORT (7678) or visit its website at for additional information.

The Port of Los Angeles, also known as “America’s Port,” has a strong commitment to developing innovative strategic and sustainable operations that benefit the economy and the quality of life for the region and the nation it serves. A recipient of numerous environmental awards, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2007 Clean Air Excellence Award, the Port of Los Angeles is committed to innovating cleaner, greener ways of doing business. As the leading seaport in North America in terms of shipping container volume and cargo value, the Port generates 919,000 regional jobs and $39.1 billion in annual wages and tax revenues. A proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles, the Port is self-supporting and does not receive taxpayer dollars. The Port of Los Angeles - A cleaner port. A brighter future.