Andrew Kuljis

Location of Interview
Collection Name

Port of Los Angeles Centennial Oral History Project


The Port of Los Angeles celebrated its Centennial on December 9, 2007.  As part of the Port of Los Angeles Centennial Oral History Project, these interviews feature various members of the Los Angeles Harbor Area community who were interviewed in 2007 to document different eras in Port history.


Susana Oliveros

Principal Investigator
Biographical Sketch

Andrew Kuljis was born in Long Beach, California, in the early 1930s after his family immigrated from the island of Vis Komiža, which is now part of Croatia, Yugoslavia. He describes his life growing up poor in San Pedro, California; selling newspapers on Beacon Street; interacting with, or knowing, the town’s famed residents such as Shanghai Red (Charles Eisenberger), Joe Bogdanovich (founder of StarKist), and Joseph Mardesich (owner of the Franco-Italian Packing Company which later became Chicken of the Sea); witnessing the tuna canning business disappear; and participating in the local cultural events at the Pelagich Club, the Yugoslav American Club (aka Slav Hall) where residents would gather to sing and dance to music from the old country. 

Scope and Content Note

He also recalls his dad worked as a fisherman and Kuljis expected to become a fisherman on his dad’s boat, but at the time of his high school graduation, the Korean War had begun and he instead joined the Navy. Upon returning to San Pedro, he joined the fire department and later describes his involvement with the Matson Terminal fire of 1960. He also describes joining in the town’s festivals or traditions such as the Fishermen’s Fiesta, the blessing of the fleets, and the Catholic Church’s annual celebrations.  

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