Back in 2002 my dad, my son and I went to an old shipping warehouse (transit shed)  in San Pedro to see the progress of a pair of Pacific Electric Red Car recreations being assembled there.

Click the photo for more pictures

There were actually three cars, two were recreations and a third was an actual restoration of an original Red Car.  The project included a 1.5 mile section of the original Red Car right-of-way in San Pedro from the cruise terminal to just south of the Ports O’Call village. This project was funded by the Port of Los Angeles.  I happened to be back there this weekend and was delighted to see the Red Cars running.   They look like an old photo come to life. I’m very impressed with their appearance.  It was raining when I took these photos but that didn’t dampen my enthusiasm to dig up old photos of the day we visited the open house.

The Port of Los Angeles / Long Beach is fascinating place. It is America’s busiest port. A huge area with (pardon the expression) a boatload of history. As a child my parents kept a boat not far from Ports O’Call. I became familiar with the area and some of the shipping techniques used and have seen a lot of changes there in my life. In this photo circa 1935 you can see a few cargo vessels docked beside transit sheds. Before cargo containers, cargo ships were much smaller and were basically loaded and unloaded by hand. Teams of Longshoremen had to move the ship’s cargo from the ship, onto the dock and then into or through the transit shed to trucks or rail cars. There was a lot of picking things up and setting them down again.  When I was about twelve I recall we had neighbors who were longshoremen. They frequently worked unloading banana boats from South America.

Fishing fleets also make their home in the harbor, though much diminished from the days when they kept the canneries busy. I guess it’s something about the juncture of industry and the sea, and the logistics of moving all the goods that keep a country afloat that fascinates me.

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