Discover how this shipyard played a tremendous role during World War II
in winning the war in both Europe and the Pacific.
View from wharf near slip No. 1 Click and drag to view a 360° panorama (238k)
The Bethlehem Shipyard (Southwest Marine Terminal) facility is located at Berth
240 near the southwestern part of Terminal Island along Seaside Avenue. The site
comprises two separate areas: a mostly vacant region to the north and a paved
area to the south, which is occupied mainly by World War II–era buildings. A chain-link
fence encloses the entire yard, which is accessed by a metal gate.
Bethlehem Steel machine storage and warehouse building
This facility is significant for the role it played in World War II as the Bethlehem
Shipbuilding Corporation, Ltd. (Bethlehem) plant. Built in 1917, this shipyard
is one of the oldest shipbuilding and repair facilities at the Port. Bethlehem
was one of the smallest shipyards at the Port, employing 6,000 workers in ship
repair and construction. In comparison, California Shipbuilding Corporation employed
40,000, Todd Corporation employed 12,000, and Consolidated Steel Company employed
7,000. Of these shipyards, however, the Southwest Marine Terminal facility (formerly
operated by Bethlehem) is the only one that remains in existence.
Construction of the transportation shop
The history of shipbuilding at this facility dates back to World War I. In
1917, Southwestern Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company established a shipyard on
the channel side of Terminal Island (Berth 240) at the Port of Los Angeles. Because
the location flooded at high tide, the Port pumped sand from the Main Channel
to form an area of approximately 50 acres. Southwestern Shipbuilding quickly laid
out its site and immediately began construction on its vessels, completing 18
large ships by November 11, 1918, the end of World War I.