L.A.’s hidden history in ‘Terminal Island’

La-et-jc-looking-back-terminal-isand-pictures--008David L. Ulin at the Los Angeles Times:

When we think of Terminal Island, after all, what do we imagine? Do we know that it was once (in a manner of speaking) two islands, Rattlesnake Island and Deadman’s Island, before they were joined, first by a jetty and then by more direct intervention? Do we know that it was, initially, “a tourist destination with no hotels … a recreational spot for those who loved the outdoors and nature”? As early as 1888, it was declared, by The Times, to be an interesting destination, if “rough looking.”

Hirahara and Knatz are smart and detailed on this early history, framing the development of Terminal Island through the filter of the growth of Los Angeles itself. By 1891, there was a rail line, and the island was renamed, as bathhouses and hotels were built.

A decade later, the authors tell us, “People flocked to Terminal Island for the summer. … The Times extolled the ‘virtues’ of the island: the best French chef, everything was clean and fresh, and … [o]n holidays like July the Fourth, there was such a demand for bathing suits that it was hard to rent a dry one.”

more here.