Terminal Island

Terminal Island

Lost Communities on America’s Edge

written by Geraldine Knatz and Naomi Hirahara

foreword by William Deverell ; afterword by George Takei

photo editor: J. Eric Lynxwiler

Terminal lsland: Lost Communities on America’s Edge tells a story of the birth, flourishing, and ultimate destruction of Terminal Island, a vibrant community in Los Angeles Harbor. Written by Naomi Hirahara and Geraldine Knatz, with a foreword by William Deverell and an afterword by George Takei, this insightful work uncovers the untold story of a forgotten chapter in American history—the rise and fall of a vibrant community on Terminal Island in Los Angeles Harbor that was ultimately destroyed during World War II.

Few Los Angelenos have visited Terminal Island, a sheltered spot in the Pacific Ocean that once served as a resort for wealthy Southern California landowners and as a refuge for its artists and writers and scientists, all in need of a respite from the heat of the city. Not long after the rich and creative were driven away by a greedy throng of industrialists and railroad magnates and the politics they wrought, Terminal Island became home to another thriving world, this time a small community of Japanese families, people linked by their lineage and their amazing ability to capture the biggest fish the Pacific had to offer. They were the fishermen of Terminal Island. And their wives. And their children. These people were at the heart of one of Southern California’s most important businesses: the fisheries.

And then came a war. A world war that devastated the hopes, dreams, homes, and families of the Japanese who lived on Terminal Island. The Japanese and Japanese American residents of the island were forced from their homes and sent to internment camps around the country. The island became, in the truest, deepest sense, a ghost town.

With more than 230 rare archival images, Terminal Island tells the story of this beloved place through its various incarnations, ending with its ultimate destruction at the hands of the US government. An Afterword by renowned actor and Japanese American activist George Takei reminds readers of the humanity of all those who have inhabited Terminal Island, and the tragic decision to remove people who had built their lives there. Terminal Island tells an American story that is social, political, and also deeply personal.

  • 288 pages
  • vintage black-and-white and full-color photographs, ephemera, and maps
  • 235 images
  • 9w"x9h"
  • hardcover: ISBN 978-1-62640-127-3; $50.00.
$50.00 USD