Improbable Gateway: The Los Angeles Transportation Legacy

Improbable Gateway: The Los Angeles Transportation Legacy is a remarkable story of vision, perseverance and the entrepreneurial spirit, and of the people and events that would change Los Angeles forever.

Surrounded by steep, rugged mountains and treacherous desert terrain and boasting only of a muddy tideflat to serve as a harbor, 19-century Los Angeles was virtually isolated from the rest of the country.

It once seemed improbable that L.A. would be able to end this isolation, much less become an international gateway and center of commerce and influence. But visionary, pioneering individuals like Phineas Banning knew that it was possible – and that the solution would come in the form of transportation: staging and freighting lines, railroads and a man-made deep-water harbor.

The permanent exhibition uses a combination of artifacts, photos, models, interactive features and narrative to take visitors on a fascinating journey. Learn how a shallow muddy harbor became the world-class Port of Los Angeles, what is was like to travel by stagecoach, and how the first railroad in Southern California came to be. Find out how important Wilmington and the rest of the harbor area really was to the development of Southern California. And be inspired by how vision and determination can make even the improbable possible!

Tours of the Improbable Gateway Exhibition are offered as part of the regularly scheduled museum tours, or arrange a special tour for you and your group by calling (310) 548-7777.

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