Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Korean Friendship Bell

It's a big bell :) Ok, it's more than that.  The Korean Friendship Bell is a massive bronze bell in Angel's Gate Park in San Pedro, a port neighborhood in Los Angeles.

I was first introduced to the Bell in the movie "The Usual Suspects" where they shoot multiple scenes at the park with the bell in the background. 

The bell is actually a significant monument!  It was given to the American people by the Republic of Korea to celebrate the bicentennial of the United States, to honor American veterans of the Korean War, and to symbolize friendship between the two nations. It was dedicated on October 3, 1976 and declared a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 1978. 

The bell itself is made of over 17 tons of copper and tin, with gold, nickel, and phosphoroous added to the alloy for tone and quality.  It is set in a pagoda like stone structure which was built by Korean craftsmen over ten months.  It's design is traditional which consists of a hipped rood supported by twelve columns representing each of the Chinese zodiac signs. The bell is rung only four times a year: 4th of July, Korean Independence Day (Aug 15th), New Years Eve, and every September to coincide with bell ringings around the country to celebrate Constitution week.
Located at the corner of Gaffey and 37th Streets, the section of the park is alternatively called the "Korean-American Peace Park," and occupies part of the former Upper Reservation of Fort McArthur. It overlooks the sea gate from which the US troops sailed into the Pacific, and the site affords an unsurpassed view of the Los Angeles harbor, the Catalina Channel, and the sea terraces of San Pedro hill.  Some of the scenes in the movie are shot at night when the strucutre is lit up.  Subsequently I wanted to see the bell at night but since the park closes at 6pm we had to go before the sun set. We were able to take in the view because it was still light out! 

There is no charge to enter or to park.  Its a great place to have a picnic, take pictures, or just relax.  There are also basketball courts by the parking lot if you feel so inclined.  If you're in the San Pedro area drive up to the park and take a peak.  It will be a slightly scenic drive overlooking the port and you'll have a fun place to hang out.

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