After spending the morning in Wilmington shooting the Granada Theatre, we came outside to particularly lovely weather. Not quite ready for lunch, we wanted to spend some time exploring the South Bay. Neither of us had seen the Korean Friendship Bell (formally called the Korean Bell of Friendship), so we decided to head up the hill to the former site of Fort MacArthur in San Pedro.
We had the plaza all to ourselves, allowing us to leisurely study the intricate details of the 12′ tall, 17-ton bell and the pavilion.
Donated in 1976 by the Republic of Korea to the city of Los Angeles, the bell celebrated the bicentennial of the U.S. independence, honored veterans of the Korean War, and was meant to consolidate a traditional friendship between the two countries. The bell, which is made of copper and tin, with gold, nickel, lead and phosphorous added for tone quality, is adorned with four pairs of figures engraved in relief. Each pair consists of the Goddess of Liberty holding a torch, and a Korean spirit, with each spirit holding a different symbol.
More interesting than the bell is the brightly painted pagoda, which took 30 craftsmen to be flown in from Korea to construct. The intricate neon patterns led our eyes through a dizzying maze. After a few more minutes overlooking the cliff and watching Catalina Island fade in and out behind the mist, we decided we would return again sometime with a picnic in hand.
Korean Bell of Friendship and Bell Pavilion
Angels Gate Park
3601 S Gaffey Street
San Pedro, CA 90731