(Site of) Timms’ Landing
San Pedro Harbor – map
Timms’ Landing in San Pedro was the first Port of Los Angeles. However, any hint of the former landing and wharf is long gone, and not just in terms of structures, either. The very formation of the land and water has been altered to the point of unrecognizability for a century.
German-born Augustus W. Timms started up a goat ranch on Santa Catalina Island after serving in the Mexican War (the veteran Timms marched in L.A.’s first July 4th parade, in 1876). He built a small landing on the island, which became known as Timms’ Cove/Timms’ Landing (later known as Avalon).
California State Library That's Deadman's Island in the background.
Back on the mainland, in 1852 or 1853, Timms bought and developed the old Diego Sepulveda wharf and surrounding area. The approximate location of Timms’ Point and Landing today is where 14th to 16th Streets would be if they’d be extended to the wharf at Ports o’ Call. (However, the 1993 California State Landmark monument, shown at the top of the post, is on Sampson Way down by 22nd Street.) Upon this point, Timms towed the hulls of a pair of wrecked ships’ hulls, using the deck houses to live in. His extending and improving Sepulveda’s Landing for shipping and receiving, coupled with his running stages to L.A., made him a chief rival of “The Father of the Los Angeles Harbor”, Phineas Banning. Timms also started one of the world’s largest lumber companies, selling out to Tomlinson & Company in 1865.
Augustus W. Timms was a developer, and he continued to build up the area. His development included a two-story mansion, a hotel and bathhouse, a warehouse, a store, a corral, and a couple of houses. (The hotel was standing as late as 1930, having been moved to 4th Street between Mesa and Palos Verdes Streets.) Timms’ Point became a popular beach resort, known for its terrific clam hunting.
A later shot of Timms Landing, with Point Fermin and the Outer Harbor, from the U.S.C. Libraries Digital Archive.
In the 1871, a jetty was built from Timms’ Point southeast to about 600 feet from the earlier built east jetty connecting Rattlesnake (i.e. Terminal) and Deadman’s (dredged away in the late 1920s) Islands. San Pedro really began to boom in the 1880s after the Los Angeles & San Pedro Railway was extended to Timms’ Landing.
I'm standing, looking NNE, about where 18th Street would finish if it didn't end back on South Crescent Street.
By 1906/1907, the Southern Pacific owned Timms’ Point, dredging the three slips there to thirty-feet deep each. Afterwards, the landing became known as the Southern Pacific Railroad Slip, and, later, Fishermen’s Slip.
Augustus W. Timms is also to be remembered for donating, in 1888, the three acres of land for San Pedro Cemetery (now Harbor View Memorial Park) to the township of San Pedro. He died and was buried there that same year (I mean he was buried there the same year he donated the land, not the same year he died, although I’m sure that was the case, too). Timms’s monument stands in the center of the cemetery today.
Newmark, Harris Sixty Years in Southern California 1853-1913 The Riverside Press 1916 Cambridge, MA
Weinman, Dr Lois J. and Dr E. Gary Stickel Los Angeles-Long Beach Harbor Area Cultural Resource Survey; Prepared for U.S. Army Engineer District, 1978, Los Angeles, CA
McKinzie, Joe San Pedro Bay Arcadia Publishing 2005 Charleston, SC
Dennis, Eddie “Augustus W. Timms” April 18, 1934
Up next: Stonehurst Recreation Center Building