Surrounded by Long Beach, the relatively small city of Signal Hill has a rich and colorful history. Because they used the hill as a view and signal point for the surrounding ranchos, early Spanish settlers called the area Loma Sental, which translates to Signal Hill. At the turn of the 20th century, large estate homes were built to take advantage of the magnificent views and coastal breezes. Then came the oil. On June 23, 1921, Royal Dutch Shell Oil Company hit the first gusher, signaling the start of one of the most productive oil fields in the world. In fact, the area was so dense with derricks during the mid-century it earned the moniker "Porcupine Hill." Today, though oil is still being pumped, the community also proudly boasts stately hillside homes with commanding views of the coastline of Long Beach and Catalina.
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Early Oil Years
People and Events
Fires and Disasters
Homes and Street Views
Alamitos America SIGNAL HILL Angeles County Angeles Fire Museum building built Burnett Street Cherry Avenue city hall City of Long City of Signal corner of Hill courtesy of Mark courtesy of Neena Crescent Heights Denni home early photograph explosion farm fire truck foreground G. W. Hughes gusher Hancock Refinery Fire Hill Historical Society Hill Street hilltop home IEEF Kid Mexico land Long Beach looking Los Angeles County Mark Fowle Neena Strichart Nineteenth Street oil companies oil derricks oil operations Pacific Coast Highway Pala Mansion Panorama Drive Park Photograph courtesy photograph shows pictured postcard Rancho Los Alamitos Rancho Los Cerritos Ray Mace roughnecks Royal Dutch Shell San Gabriel Mountains side Signal Hill Historical Skyline Drive slope of Signal southeast SS Signal Hills standing Star Room Street and Orange surrounding tank tower town Twentieth Street Twenty-first Street Vore Willie Nelson wooden derrick workers