Author Ken Davis, a Signal Hill realtor and archivist for the Signal Hill Historical Society, has collaborated with the society to present its remarkable vintage images of the oil-rich days of the mid-20th century and the city's history both before and after. Davis also created the city pamphlet "Walkways and Trails of Signal Hill" and is active in the Signal Hill Chamber of Commerce and the Parks and Recreation Commission.
Signal Hillby Ken Davis, Signal Hill Historical Society
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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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