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A Sea of Oil Derricks at Signal Hill, Long Beach

Though not stated in the caption, this photograph depicts the oil fields at Signal Hill, near Long Beach. The image depicts a field full of oil derricks, with several houses, a tank and other oil facilities in the foreground. 

The 2 1/2 square mile city of Signal Hill lies within the Long Beach Oil Field. Oil production began in the are in 1919, soon after the first discovery. The Long Beach Field is classed as a Mega Giant field. It is the eighth largest by cumulative production in California, and though now essentially depleted, still officially retains approximately 5 million barrels of recoverable oil.

The field was enormously productive in the 1920s, with hundreds of oil derricks covering Signal Hill and adjacent parts of Long Beach. Even today, with dramatic land use changes that have evolved over decades, it remains moderately productive, with oil wells and oilfield infrastructure intermixed with commercial and residential development.

Condition Description
Original silver gelatin photograph, mounted on card. Photograph measures 5 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches, on card mount, 10 x 8 inches. Caption title printed in silver on recto of mount: "Oil Wells / Los Angeles, California." Verso of mount with printed history of oil development in the United States. Some silvering to edges of photograph, but still a clean, very good image.