Few Los Angeles area landscapes have been transformed as dramatically within the past century as the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Recently, Calvin Abe flew over the ports in a helicopter, capturing these stunning images of the port from an unusual perspective. Calvin’s images bring into sharp relief the massive physical form of progress, and compared with historical images (see here for comparison), the photos illustrate a rapidly evolving historic record.
One of the casualties of progress in the port’s history is the Lost Village of Terminal Island. Located on the southern edge of the port of Los Angeles, this piece of land was once a mudflat and coastal marsh within the Los Angeles River estuary, then later a fishing village for thousands of first and second generation Japanese immigrant families. The land is currently used as a shipping container processing station and a Federal Penitentiary.
Before WWII Terminal Island was an idyllic village of Japanese and Japanese American families that made a living working for the fishing and canning industries in the port area. According to “Furusato: The Lost Village of Terminal Island” the landscape provided a backdrop for the children growing up in the community who were allowed to explore the island and dive for abalone off the nearby beach.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, many of the men of the village were incarcerated, and all of the Japanese-American families were sent to internment camps. While the residents were away, the village was razed by the United States Navy. Today, all that is left is a small memorial dedicated to the lost community, a few of the remaining building sites with National Trust for Historic Preservation designations, and the fading memories of a generation that once called Terminal Island “home”.