San Pedro: The Korean Friendship Bell


There's certain go-to places I make sure friends see when they come to visit. The Korean Friendship Bell is one of them.  Aside from it's symbol of friendship, I love the park it sits in, the views, and the open area surrounding it.

I've experienced this place now in many different forms. My Nana was the first one to show me the bell when I was a lot younger. I always kept it in the back of my mind even though I hadn't visited or seen it for years. Then, at one point, I decided to go back to it. And it still stood there, as brightly colored and architecturally admirable as ever.

I saw it ring for the first time last fourth of July – they ring it five times a year. We were lucky enough to be allowed under the "railing" or chain-link and pretend to touch the wooden log that is used to ring the bell. And when I came here on a date once, we actually went under the chain-link to be rebellious – but just briefly. For some reason, I never considered going under the chain-link before to touch the bell – it sort of felt disrespectful.

When Whit came to visit, I took her here during sunset, and it was kind of windy. But after walking around the bell we found a random slab of concrete down the hill and decided to take some pictures there. It turned into a dance off. And one of my favorite moments from her visit.

Some interesting information about the bell:

  • Donated in 1976 to the people of Los Angeles by the people of the Republic of Korea to honor veterans of the Korean War
  • Twelve feet high with a diameter of 7.5 feet
  • Made of copper and tin, with gold nickel, lead and phosphorous added for tone quality
  • Cost the Korean people $500,000
  • Engraved on the bell are four pairs of figures – each pair consists of the Goddess of Liberty holding a torch and a Korean spirit
  • Each Korean spirit holds a different symbol: 
    • symbolic design of the Korean flag
    • a branch of the rose of Sharon
    • Korea's national flower
    • a branch of laurel, symbol of victory
    • a dove of peace
  • Was recently renovated and re-opened in January of 2014
  • The bell is rung five times a year:
    • fourth of July
    • August 15 (Korean Independence Day)
    • New Year's Eve
    • Korean American Day in January
    • every September to coincide with bell ringings around the country to celebrate Constitution week
  • Was patterned after the Bronze Bell of King Seongdeok which was cast in 771 A.D. 
  • The pagoda-like structure the bell is housed in is made of stone
  • constructed by thirty craftsmen flown in from Korea
  • took ten months
  • cost $569,680
  • supported by twelve columns representing the twelve designs of the Oriental zodiac

Located: 3601 S Gaffey St., San Pedro, CA 90731

It's open from sunrise to sunset*


Korean Bell of Friendship and Bell Pavilion

Korean Friendship Bell Facebook

*often you can get in at night, the gate isn't actually locked many of the times I've visited and it has a whole other, really cool, feel – especially because you're often the only people there.