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A Park a Day: Peck Park, San Pedro

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July is National Parks & Recreation Month, and all month long LAist will be featuring a hand-selected park a day to showcase just a few of the wonderful recreation spaces--big or small--in the Los Angeles area.

Like much of San Pedro, Peck Park isn’t the prettiest or the most spectacular park in the world. However as any San Pedroan would say, Peck Park is ours and we love it.

Located in the northwest section of San Pedro straddling the border with Rancho Palos Verdes, Peck Park features picnic tables, barbeque pits, a playground, a community center, a community swimming pool, six lit tennis courts, a gymnasium, three baseball diamonds and over 31 acres of newly created hiking trails with some epic views of the Los Angeles Harbor.

Peck Park was named after George Huntington Peck, no relation to actor Gregory Peck. Born on October 15, 1856 in San Francisco, Peck made his riches in the railroad business and is credited for driving the first train into San Pedro. Peck eventually acquired most of San Pedro and Manhattan Beach by the early 1900’s and fought to establish the Los Angeles Harbor in San Pedro. In opposition were Southern Pacific Railroad and Collis P. Huntington who lobbied for Santa Monica.

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However Peck had allies in Los Angeles Times publisher Harrison Gray Otis and U.S. Senator Stephen White and, by 1897, San Pedro had won the battle. The breakwater was constructed in 1899 and San Pedro was annexed by Los Angeles in 1909.

Peck started donating land for what was to become Peck Park in 1929 in addition to other smaller parks in San Pedro named for his three children: Rena, Alma and Leland.

Thanks to a $4.8 million project funded by Proposition O approved by voters in 2004, the three-mile stretch of trails along Peck Park Canyon was refurbished. Reopened on May 7, the trails feature native flora and some impressive views. It’s no Griffith Park - the longest trail can be traversed in half an hour. There are stray cats that live in the park. Graffiti makes it home along with the flora. There’s even a stray shopping cart.

But for an hour of outdoor activity, it’s a nice place for San Pedroans and over Peninsula denizens can go to get away.