Pictured is the Shell Oil well, named Discovery, on Signal Hill. Discovery was the first oil well in Long Beach and started the city’s oil boom. Work began on the Alamitos #1 well on March 23, 1921 and had only a showing of oil by the time the hole was about 3,000 feet deep May 2. It wasn’t until June 23, 1921 that oil erupted 114 feet in the air.
The discovery led to a stampede as some 500 spectators were on hand at 4am on June 25, 1921 to watch Alamitos No. 1 begin to pump. Future residents has already purchased lots but had not yet built their homes. So, instead of homes, homeowners built oil wells, hoping to get rich quick and many did. Ten months after the discovery, Signal Hill was covered with 108 wells, producing 14,000 barrels a day. Here’s the Los Angeles County historical marker.
This photo comes from the Long Beach Public Library archive.