Sitting atop a grassy knoll in the Korean-American Peace Park (a part of Angel’s Gate Recreation Center) and overlooking Point Fermin, is the beautiful Korean Bell of Friendship (more commonly called Korean Friendship Bell). Located at the corner of Gaffey and 37th Streets, the bronze bell occupies part of the former Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur. The location affords an unsurpassed view of the Los Angeles harbor, the Catalina Channel and the sea terraces of San Pedro and Palos Verdes.
Dedicated on October 3, 1976, and declared Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 187 in 1978, the bell was presented by the Republic of Korea to the American people to celebrate the bicentennial of the United States and to symbolize friendship between the two nations.
The bell is made of over seventeen tons of copper and tin, with gold, nickel, lead, and phosphorus added to the alloy for tone quality. With a diameter of 7½ feet, average thickness of 8 inches, and a height of 12 feet, it is one of the largest bells in the world. It is modeled after the Divine Bell of King Seongdeok the Great of Silla (also known as the Emille Bell), cast in 771 for Bongdeok Temple and now located at the National Museum of Gyeongju.
The pavilion that houses the bell, known as the Belfry of Friendship, is a pagoda-like stone structure built by Korean craftsmen over a period of ten months. It has a traditional design which is axially symmetric, consisting of a hipped (pyramidal) roof supported by twelve columns, each representing the Korean zodiac, with animals that stand guard at the base of each column. The color patterning along the bell’s pavilion is known in Korean as dancheong.
The bell underwent a full restoration in 2013 and was rededicated by the City of Los Angeles during a public ceremony on January 10, 2014.
Like many South Bay landmarks, the Belfrey of Friendship has made appearances in television and film, most notably featured in two scenes of the movie The Usual Suspects.
Nearby there is a children’s play area, basketball court, soccer field, and recreation center. This site is perfect for a scenic family picnic and park day.
Korean Bell of Friendship and Bell Pavilion
Angel’s Gate Recreation Center
3601 S Gaffey Street
San Pedro, CA 90731