The Sunken City — Point Fermin

Things to Do — By Noah Albert on February 21, 2011 at 8:03 am

Just to the east of Point Fermin in San Pedro, California, are the remains of a neighborhood that has been sliding into the sea since 1929. This “slump” is attributed to wave action and the presence of bentonite clay here, a material which has a propensity to become very slippery. A broken water main added to this neighborhood’s problems in 1941. What remains today is a bizarre post-apocalyptic landscape consisting of bits of street and sidewalk. This locale is also a tagger’s paradise, the whole place is decorated in spray paint. Sunken City is located on the east side of Point Fermin Park (also see this helpful map). There are some ominous signs to ignore and some fencing to navigate to get into the Sunken City. Above the ruins it seemed pretty safe when we were there, some lady from the neighborhood was walking her dog on a well-established path. Once you start to descend into the destroyed/altered landscape it is best to take care as the steep drop-offs require scrambling and the ground can be unstable! It is probably not advisable to come here at night, if only because of the popularity of the spot with graffiti artists.  (The destruction of this neighborhood was NOT due to the oil pumping that has caused so much land subsidence in Long Beach and is presently counteracted by constant pumping of salt water into the earth).

More photos of this cool (and treacherous!) place can be seen here: www.uer.ca, www.california-blog.com, himorning/flickr, and IonaTrailer/flickr. (As this is a pretty well documented ruin, there are likely other good photos collections out there as well).

[Photos courtesy of Chezk0 (2 3), Pilar Wiley, and amitrunchal]

Tags: Adventure, beach, folk art, Geology, Los Angeles History, Offbeat L.A., photography, San Pedro