Terminal Island

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Terminal Island
Isla Raza de Buena Gente
Rattlesnake Island
Terminal Island, which includes Federal Correctional Institution, Terminal Island
Terminal Island, which includes Federal Correctional Institution, Terminal Island
Terminal Island is located in Los Angeles
Terminal Island
Terminal Island
Location within Southern Los Angeles
Coordinates: 33°45′25″N 118°14′53″W / 33.756963°N 118.248126°W / 33.756963; -118.248126
Country United States
State California
County Los Angeles
Cities Los Angeles and Long Beach
ZIP Code 90731

Terminal Island is an island located in Los Angeles County, California, between the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach Harbor. Major parts of the Port are on Terminal Island, as well as the Federal Correctional Institution, Terminal Island.


The island was originally called "Isla Raza de Buena Gente"[1] and later "Rattlesnake Island."[2] It was renamed Terminal Island in 1891.[1]

The island was home to about 3500 first and second-generation Japanese prior to World War II[3] in an area known as East San Pedro or Fish Island. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor all of the adult issei males on Terminal Island were incarcerated by the FBI on February 9, 1942. Immediately after the signing of Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942 the rest of the inhabitants were given 48 hours to evacuate their homes. They were subsequently sent to internment camps and the entire neighborhood was razed. The Japanese community on Terminal Island was the first to be evacuated and interned en masse.[4]

Because of the relative geographical isolation of the island, the citizens developed their own culture and even their own dialect. After World War II, the Terminal Islanders settled elsewhere. However, in 1971, they formed the "Terminal Islanders Club". Since its formation, the members have organized various events for the members. In 2002, the surviving second-generation citizens set up a memorial on Terminal Island to honor their parents.

In 1927 a civilian facility, Allen Field, was established on Terminal Island. The Naval Reserve established a training center at the field and later took complete control, designating the field Naval Air Base San Pedro (also called Reeves Field).[5]:60 In 1941 the Long Beach Naval Station became located adjacent to the airfield. In 1942 the Naval Reserve Training Facility was transferred, and a year later NAB San Pedro's status was downgraded to that of a Naval Air Station (NAS Terminal Island). Reeves Field as a Naval Air Station was disestablished in 1947, although the adjacent Long Beach Naval Station would continue to utilize Reeves Field as an auxiliary airfield until the late 1990s.[6] A large industrial facility now covers the site of the former Naval Air Station.

During World War II Terminal Island was an important center for defense industries, especially ship building. It was also, therefore, one of the first places where African-Americans tried to effect their integration into defense work on the West Coast.[7]

In 1946, Howard Hughes moved his monstrous Spruce Goose airplane from his plant in Culver City to Terminal Island in preparation for its test flight. In its first and only flight, it took off from the Island on November 2, 1947.[8]

Preservation of vacant buildings got the island added to the Top 11 sites on the National Trust for Historic Preservation 2012 Most Endangered Historic Places List.[9] In the middle of 2013, the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners approved a plan.[10] The National Trust for Historic Preservation cited the site as one of ten historic sites saved in 2013.[10]

Geography and demographics[edit]

The west half of the island is part of the San Pedro area of the city of Los Angeles, while the rest is part of the city of Long Beach. The island has a land area of 11.56 km2 (4.46 sq mi), 2,854 acres (11.55 km2), and had a population of 1,467 at the 2000 census.

The land area of Terminal Island has been supplemented considerably from its original size. For instance, in the late 1920s, Deadman's Island in the main channel of the Port of Los Angeles was dynamited and dredged away and the resulting rubble used to add 62 acres (0.097 sq mi) to the Southern tip of the island.[5]:57

The Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach are the major landowners on the island, who then lease much of their land for container terminals and bulk terminals. The island also hosts canneries, shipyards, Coast Guard facilities, and a Federal Correctional Institution.

The Long Beach Naval Shipyard, decommissioned in 1997, occupied roughly half of the island. Sea Launch maintains docking facilities on the mole that was part of the naval station.

In 1909 the newly reincorporated Southern California Edison Company decided to build a new steam station to provide reserve capacity and emergency power for the entire Edison system – and to enable Edison to shut down some of the small obsolete steam plants in the system. The site chosen for the new plant was on a barren mud flat known as Rattlesnake Island – today's Terminal Island in Long Beach Harbor. Construction of Plant No.1 began in 1910.


Terminal Island is connected to the mainland via four bridges.[11] To the west, the distinctively green Vincent Thomas Bridge connects Terminal Island with the Los Angeles neighborhood of San Pedro. It is the fourth longest suspension bridge in California. The Gerald Desmond Bridge connects Terminal Island to downtown Long Beach to the east. The Commodore Schuyler F. Heim Bridge joins Terminal Island with the Los Angeles neighborhood of Wilmington to the north. Adjacent to the Heim Bridge is a rail bridge called the Henry Ford Bridge or the Badger Avenue Bridge.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Laura Pulido; Laura Barraclough; Wendy Cheng (24 March 2012). A People's Guide to Los Angeles. University of California Press. p. 250. ISBN 978-0-520-95334-5. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  2. ^ Gerrie Schipske (31 October 2011). Early Long Beach. Arcadia Publishing. p. 93. ISBN 978-0-7385-7577-3. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  3. ^ Tetsuden Kashima (1997). Personal Justice Denied: Report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians. University of Washington Press. p. 108. ISBN 978-0-295-97558-0. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Brian Niiya; Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, Calif.) (1993). Japanese American History: An A-To-Z Reference from 1868 to the Present. VNR AG. p. 327. ISBN 978-0-8160-2680-7. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Michael D. White (13 February 2008). The Port of Los Angeles. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 57–60. ISBN 978-0-7385-5609-3. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  6. ^ Mark Denger. "Historic California Posts: Naval Air Station, Terminal Island". Retrieved August 16, 2012. 
  7. ^ Josh Sides (12 June 2006). L.A. City Limits: African American Los Angeles from the Great Depression to the Present. University of California Press. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-520-24830-4. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  8. ^ Darwin Porter (30 March 2005). Howard Hughes: Hell's Angel. Blood Moon Productions, Ltd. pp. 710–11. ISBN 978-0-9748118-1-9. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  9. ^ "LA Port Plan Makes Terminal Island Preservation a Key Goal". National Trust for Historic Preservation. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b staff (January 5, 2014). "A look at 10 historic sites save, 10 lost in 2013". Associated Press as reported by the Post Crescent. p. F3. 
  11. ^ a b Daniel Z. Sui (19 June 2008). Geospatial Technologies and Homeland Security: Research Frontiers and Future Challenges. Springer. p. 42. ISBN 978-1-4020-8339-6. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°45′25″N 118°14′53″W / 33.756963°N 118.248126°W / 33.756963; -118.248126