Wilmington is a district of Los Angeles, with industry as its primary economic activity. It lies adjacent to the Port of Los Angeles, San Pedro, and Harbor City. Wilmington is the site of Banning House and Drum Barracks, or Camp Drum, the only major American Civil War landmark in California.
The Port of Los Angeles district of Wilmington was included in the 1784 Spanish land grant of Rancho San Pedro and was known as New San Pedro from 1858 to 1863, when it became the city of Wilmington. It was named by “Father of the Harbor” Phineas Banning after his Delaware birthplace. The City of Los Angeles annexed Wilmington in 1909, and today it and neighboring San Pedro form the waterfront of one of the world’s largest import/export centers. Wilson College, precursor to the University of Southern California, opened here in 1874 as the first coeducational college west of the Mississippi. Entrepreneur and sportsman William Wrigley built innovative housing in Wilmington that was dubbed the “Court of Nations.” From the Union Army’s Drum Barracks headquarters of the Southwest in the Civil War to the port’s myriad maritime activities during World War II, Wilmington has long-standing ties to the U.S. military.