Harbor City, Los Angeles, California


Harbor City, Los Angeles, California

Harbor City is a community within Los Angeles, California. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 24,640. Harbor City is part of the Los Angeles region known as the South Bay, and is a perfect illustration of the great contrast that exists within the region: Harbor City is nestled at the foot of the wealthy region of Palos Verdes and the upper class suburb of Torrance, but also borders the distinct working class city of Lomita and the more diverse working class areas of Wilmington and San Pedro. Harbor City is a small subdivision of the city of Los Angeles with a mix of race, class, and social status. Some parts of Harbor City, notably those that border Torrance and Palos Verdes, are home to upper middle class suburbs, while other regions, particularly those bordered by Lomita Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway north and south and by Normandie Avenue and Vermont Avenue on the east/west, are particularly high middle class.

Recently, the community has been heavily featured in statewide and national news for the discovery of an alligator within the heavily urban community's Machado Lake.

Location

Harbor City is located in the southern part of the city of Los Angeles, and part of the South Bay region. It is bordered on the north by Sepulveda Boulevard, the east by Figueroa Street, the south by Anaheim Street/Palos Verdes Drive North, and to the west by Western Avenue. A smaller, more affluent section of Harbor City referred to as "Harbor Pines" is bordered by Anaheim Street to the north/northeast, Western Avenue to the west and Palos Verdes Drive North to the south near the Wilmington border. The recent construction of new homes and condominiums, and renovations of older single-family residences and apartment buildings have attracted more young professionals and families to the area, which is attracting more businesses to the area that cater to these demographics. Concurrently, an increased law enforcement presence has resulted in lower crime rates and a greater sense of security among residents throughout the city.

Demographics

As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there are 124,640 people residing within the boundaries of Harbor City. The racial makeup of the area is 14.40% White, 27.90% African American, 0.70% Native American, 13.30% Asian, 0.90% Pacific Islander, 19.90% from other races, and 5.00% from two or more races. 54.30% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

History

Harbor City was originally part of the Rancho San Pedro, granted by the Spanish Empire in 1784 by King Carlos III to Juan Jose Dominguez. The rancho was divided and sold by Californios during the Spanish and Mexican periods of Alta California. After the Mexican-American war ended in 1848, many of the rancho lands were acquired by American immigrants.

Harbor City stands as a testament to the ambitious designs of the Anglo-American creators of the modern metropolis of Los Angeles. By the turn of the century, city leaders had decided that it would be in the best interests of the city if the port and harbor areas were directly annexed. The independent cities of San Pedro (founded in the late 1700s) and Wilmington (founded in 1858 by Phineas Banning) were then independent establishments of what would become the Port of Los Angeles. Following the establishment of San Pedro as the main source for the port over Santa Monica in 1897, Los Angeles city leaders argued that direct control over the port areas would be mutually beneficial by providing San Pedro and Wilmington with larger funding and in turn allowing the city to garner more revenue via the increasing port trade. The two cities were initially reluctant to join; in 1906, frustrated by the indecision of San Pedro and Wilmington leaders, the city of Los Angeles purchased a long and narrow swath of land that connected then-South Los Angeles to San Pedro, naming the two regions Harbor Gateway and Harbor City. City leaders then threatened to build a new port in Harbor City if the recalcitrant towns would not acquiesce to annexation. Both agreed by 1909. In return, the city of Los Angeles elected to keep Harbor City as a land-locked part of the main city, linking the metropolis to its newly won ocean trading centers. To this day, Harbor City remains an amusing irony—it is not a city and contains no harbor (that honor goes to San Pedro, Wilmington, and Long Beach).

Landmarks

Harbor City hosts a hospital and various medical buildings in the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, located along Pacific Coast Highway, between Normandie Ave. and Vermont Ave. The Hospital is across the Ken Malloy Memorial Park.

The Kenneth Malloy Memorial Park, also known as "Parque de los Patos" or "the Duck Park", as well as restaurants and the popular family fun center Mulligans [http://www.mulliganfun.com/] .

Los Angeles Harbor College, one of two community colleges in the South Bay area along with Torrance's El Camino College, straddles the border between Harbor City and Wilmington and looks over nearby Machado Lake.

Los Angeles Public Library operates the new Harbor Gateway-Harbor City Branch Library [http://www.lapl.org/branches/Branch.php?bID=68] located on Western Ave. near Narbonne High School. This new library has an eye catching modern design and has many events for teens. [http://www.lapl.org/images/branches/photos/68-i.jpg]

Education

Residents are zoned to Los Angeles USD schools.

Some residents are zoned to Harbor City Elementary, some are zoned to Normont Elementary School, and some are zoned to President Avenue Elementary School or Eshelman Avenue located in Lomita.

All residents are zoned to:
* [http://www.lausd.k12.ca.us/Fleming_MS Fleming Middle School]
* Narbonne High School [http://www.narbonnehigh.org/]

Reggie the alligator

The Kenneth Malloy Memorial Park and Machado Lake saw a marked increase in news activity during the summer of 2005 with the sighting of "Reggie the Gator", a six to ten foot long first thought to be a caiman and later described as an alligator released into the lake illegally in 2005. By August 2005, city officials had indefinitely cordoned off the lake and began to attempt to capture and relocate the non-native species. All attempts, which included hiring 'wranglers' from as far away as Florida and Colorado failed, and Reggie was seen to be a local folk hero, appearing in summer news stories in the weeks before Hurricane Katrina's domination of headlines.

On September 8 2005, a smaller alligator was found in a nearby flood channel, suitably alarming several local residents.

Reggie was once again seen on April 30 2007 at about 1pm (local time) [http://www.fox6.com/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=4C04B940-8411-469E-BDE8-ED39EE8BF35A] The alligator was described by eyewitnesses to have grown at least convert|2|ft|m in length. As soon as word spread, the spotlight on Machado Lake returned, as the Reggie Watch re-commenced.

On May 24, 2007, the alligator came out of Harbor Regional Park's Lake Machado and was spotted sunbathing on land at the same moment city and park officials and wildlife experts were meeting nearby to find a method to capture the reptile. The wildlife experts wrestled with the alligator and finally managed to duct tape its mouth shut. Firefighters strapped the alligator onto a board and was loaded into an animal control truck for transport to the Los Angeles Zoo. Reggie was transported to the zoo with a police escort as several news helicopters broadcast the trip live on television.

Two books for children were written about Reggie since the news broke out.Reggie the L.A. Gator and Reggie: My story, written and illustrated by Angi Ma Wong [http://www.reggiethebook.com/]

Notable residents

* Frank Black - lead singer of The Pixies
* Milton Bradley - Major League Baseball player with the Texas Rangers
* Josh Childress - NBA player with the Atlanta Hawks
* Quentin Tarantino - Oscar-winning screenwriter/director/actor ("Reservoir Dogs", "Pulp Fiction")
* Jennifer Tilly - actress ("The Fabulous Baker Boys", "Bride of Chucky") & professional poker player

References

External links

* [http://www.lomitaharborconnection.com "Lomita-Harbor Connection"]


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