In the summer of 1921, the Signal Hill oil discovery would help make California the source of one-quarter of the world’s entire oil output. Soon known as “Porcupine Hill,” the town’s Long Beach oilfield south of Los Angeles was producing almost 260,000 barrels of oil every day by 1923.
Signal Hill, a growing residential area prior to the 1921 discovery of the Long Beach oilfield, would have so many derricks people would call it Porcupine Hill. “Today you can see wonderful commemorative art displays of this era throughout the lush parks and walkways of Signal Hill,” notes a local newspaper.
At 2300 Skyline Drive atop Signal Hill, California, two bronze roughnecks commemorate the men who brought petroleum wealth to the state following a 1921 oilfield discovery.
“Tribute to the Roughnecks” by Cindy Jackson stands atop Signal Hill. Long Beach is in the distance.
Signal Hill circa 1930 – at the corner of 1st Street and Belmont Street. Photo courtesy of the Seaver Center for Western History Research, Los Angeles Museum of Natural History.
The Alamitos No. 1 well erupted “black gold” in June 1921, announcing discovery of California’s prolific Long Beach field.
The natural gas pressure is so great the oil gusher climbed 114 feet into the air. The well produced almost 600 barrels a day when completed on June 25. It will eventually produce 700,000 barrels.
The giant oilfield Alamitos No. 1 still produces 1.5 million barrels of oil a year. Signal Hill incorporated three years after the Alamitos discovery well. Read the rest of this entry »