Al Larson Boat Shop… The First 100 Years

In 1903…

San Pedro was an independent city of approximately 2,500 residents. Lumber and railroads dominated the waterfront, and the construction of the federal breakwater was underway. The local shipyards were busy filling the demand for small fishing boats and pleasure craft.

In 1903, Peter Adolph “Al” Larson, a native of Sweden, established his first boat shop in East San Pedro (on Terminal Island) in the vicinity of berth 224. The boat building skills he learned at the San Francisco yard of George Kneass allowed him to compete successfully for clients. Soon he would be obliged to hire several shipwrights to assist him with the demands for construction and maintenance of the local fishing fleet.

Little would Larson realize that his modest boat business would outlast wars, economic depression, and all of its local competition to survive as the oldest shipyard in Southern California.

This exhibit was on view in the summer of 2003.

Photograph Courtesy Larson Family Collection

Special thanks to the Wall family for its generous support.