Oil was discovered on Signal Hill in 1921. That is when things changed in Long Beach.
The “Long Beach Oil Field” covered hundreds of square miles with thousands of wells producing crude for the refineries in Long Beach and El Segundo. Oil pumps ran 24 hours a day, bobbing up and down pumping crude for years. In fact, in the 1920s, the Long Beach area was the largest producer of oil in the world. As production started to slow, pumps were capped and abandoned, storage tanks were drained and torn down, land was re-claimed, and now there are very affluent neighborhoods where once the smell of crude oil permeated everything.
Along the coast, a boardwalk paralleled the white sands on the beach, complete with a Ferris-wheel, Pier and an amusement park, known as The Pike. There were hotels and restaurants that attracted visitors from all over the country. Long Beach was also the home of McDonnell-Douglas, which built hundreds of commercial jet airliners, including the DC series jets. The DC-8, DC-9, DC-10, and finally, the MD-11 were all built in Long Beach. Douglas was eventually bought by Boeing and all operations, except the C-17 cargo jet for the Air Force, were shut down.
Now, Long Beach has the distinction of being the home to one of the largest shipping ports in the word, with millions of containers leaving and arriving every year. It is also the home of the Long Beach-Toyota Grand Prix, the largest Formula One car race on the West Coast. The Queen Mary is moored in Long Beach Harbor, where it is not only a successful tourist attraction, but a working hotel, complete with stories of ghosts haunting the decks. It’s no wonder it houses one of the largest Halloween Parties in California.
Visitors to the area use Long Beach/Daugherty Field (IATA: LGB, ICAO: KLGB). With its rich history and 10,000 foot long runway, Long Beach/Daugherty Field serves the communities of Palos Verdes, Carson, Signal Hill, Cypress, Los Alamitos, Fullerton and Anaheim. Directly adjacent to the 405 freeway, access to the airport is convenient. There are curfews for late night and early morning operations.