Very Early Panoramic Photo of Oil Wells in Santa Fe Springs, LA County, Soon After the Famous Union-Bell Blow.
Impressive early silver gelatin panoramic photograph of the Santa Fe Springs oil rush, showing twenty-six named oil wells in the foreground with a number more in the background.
The photograph can be dated to the early 1920s, based on the activity of the photographer and the configuration of the oil wells. The only other dated photographs of the "Aerograph Co." are from 1923. Those photographs show the Signal Hill Oil Field, suggesting that the company may have been involved in oil promotion or speculation. The 1923 date is supported by the wells that we can date in the photograph, namely the Sanchez No 1 and No 1[a] which were constructed in 1921 and 1922. In addition, the low density of wells - later photographs show an over-the-top concentration of wells reminiscent of Signal Hill - also suggests an early date to the photograph.
The approximate location of the photograph can also be determined from the naming of the wells. This later map shows the Dallugge (Dellugge on the photo) holdings in the northwest, just north of the Shell Oil GHN holdings. This is to the west of the Howard and Bell holdings. This suggests that we are looking west or southwest, from just north of where Smith Avenue crosses the railroad tracks in modern-day Santa Fe Springs.
The history of oil and gas production in Santa Fe Springs, California dates back to the late 19th century. The discovery of oil in the region occurred in 1894, with the drilling of the first well by Los Angeles Petroleum Refinery Company. In the following decades, Santa Fe Springs emerged as a hub for the petroleum industry. The oil boom truly exploded in the 1920s when Shell Oil Company established its major oil field in 1921, marking the beginning of the town's transformation into one of the top oil-producing regions in the United States. The subsequent influx of workers and industries dramatically reshaped Santa Fe Springs, turning it from a quiet agricultural town into a bustling oil economy before 1930.
The photograph is stamped on the verso "Sante Fee Springs | Los Angeles Co. | Aerograph Co. | 5880 Montea Ave. Los Angeles, - Calif. No. 235A Price .50 | Mail Orders Receive Prompt Attention."