History of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
Prior to World War II, the South Bay was sparsely populated and a county hospital was not warranted. Individuals seeking health care in ‘20s and ‘30s traveled to San Pedro to a clinic operated by the City of Los Angeles or to downtown Los Angeles to General Hospital — currently known as LAC+USC. Due to the war, the character of the South Bay was permanently altered by defense projects. Five major shipyards, two large oil refineries, a synthetic rubber plant, and an aluminum plant were constructed in the once vast open space. People moved to the area to work in these factories and the population increased rapidly.
In 1943 the United States Army built the Los Angeles Port of Embarkation (LAPE) Hospital on the 78-acre site between Carson Street and 220th Street and Vermont Avenue and Normandie Avenue. The 77 pavilion-style Army barracks, known at the time as the “Station Hospital,” served as a military transfer hospital for casualties from the Pacific Theater of World War II. The “Station Hospital” also provided health care to servicemen and their families living in the area. The end of the war marked the beginning of the dramatic transformation that is Harbor-UCLA Medical Center as we know it today.
Soon after the war ended, the Army closed the LAPE Hospital. The last prescription for a patient was filled by the pharmacy in February, 1946. At this time, however, Torrance was one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Community organizations, physicians and private citizens l