This mid-afternoon view of a hard working lumber schooner leaving Los Angeles Harbor past Dead Man's Island was painted by Duncan Gleason from a first hand perspective. The dependable Northwesterly wind is powering the vessel out of the channel with a full deck load of lumber under her four working lowers; jib; jumbo; main and fore trimmed on starboard tack. A 'Yankee'; or flying jib is hanked on; but not raised; on the schooner's headstay. In the foreground a lone doryman is shown tending to his boat on shore at Timms Point.
In the early 1920's the artist maintained a residence and hillside studio in San Pedro which had a commanding view of the harbor to the south including the main ship channel, which lay between Dead Man's Island to the south and the San Pedro / Cabrillo Beach shoreline to the north. Dead Man's Island was removed from the channel in 1928.
This channel was originally dredged in the 1870's and a jetty was built connecting Terminal Island and Dead Man's Island to form the protected south side of the ship channel. These improvements pre-dated the building of the main breakwater whose construction commenced in 1899.
Originally known as Isla del Muerto, the island was a distinguishing landmark for the anchorage of Los Angeles. The isolation of the site provided protection for burials from coyotes. Over the years it became a cemetery for seamen, the last surviving Indian from San Nicholas Island, American Marines killed in the 1846 battle of Dominguez Rancho, and caballeros from the days of the conquistadors. Their remains were relocated when the island was removed in 1928 to widen and deepen the main shipping channel. The removed material was deposited at the western extension of Terminal Island to form Reservation Point where the quarantine and immigration stations were located.
Timms Point, shown in the painting's foreground, was the site of early warehouses since it was a principal landing place for goods destined for San Pedro and Los Angeles. The remains of an old jetty are also visible in the painting.
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