Terminal Island: Lost Communities of Los Angeles Harbor

Item # 150019.

By Naomi Hirahara and Geraldine Knatz.

Few Los Angelenos have visited Terminal Island, a sheltered spot in the Pacific Ocean that once served as a resort for wealthy Southern California landowners; it also served as a refuge for its artists and writers and scientists, all in need of a respite from the heat of the city. There, renowned Angeleno Charles Lummis was a squatter in his beloved oceanside shack, the Jib-O-Jib. Bookbinder Idah Strobridge brought together the Bohemians who soon would be the Arroyo Culture, as they sought inspiration and camaraderie. There, too, the Scripps Institute of Oceanography was born under another name.

Not long after, the rich and creative were driven away by a greedy throng of industrialists and railroad magnates and the politics they wrought. Terminal Island became home to another thriving community, this time a small world of Japanese families, people whose link was their lineage and their amazing ability to capture the most and biggest fish the Pacific had to offer. They were the fishermen of Terminal Island. And their wives. And their children. And their spirit. They were at the heart of one of Southern California’s most important businesses: the fisheries.

And then came a war. A world war that devastated the hopes, dreams, homes, and families of the Japanese who lived on Terminal Island. And it became, in the truest, deepest sense, a ghost town.

Terminal lsland: Lost Communities of Los Angeles Harbor is a story as compelling as any documentary or historical epic about this island community so rich in history. Through the words of the two authors and the photos curated by Eric Lynxwiler, history comes alive in passionate detail.

Paper: 288 pp.

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