History of Oil In California - 1900's

A local music teacher, Emma Summers, was one of the most successful investors in the first years of the initial boom, and by 1900, Summers controlled half the production in the original Los Angeles Field. For obvious reasons, Summers became known as "California's Petroleum Queen."

The oil boom in the early days attracted some interesting characters, including prostitutes, gamblers and con-men. The population of the city of Los Angeles doubled between 1890 and 1900, then tripled again between 1900 and 1910. Later, wells in the 1930's and 40's were soundproofed with vinyl-coated glass cloth with one-inch sheet fiberglass filling to decrease the noise, as the drilling activity began to conflict with the exploding Los Angeles population. Camouflage was also used, a technique that was eventually moved to offshore fields as well.

In 1900, the state of California produced 4 million barrels. In 1910, this had jumped to 77 million barrels. In spite of this increased production, many of the fields were beginning to see slowdowns in their production rates in the late 1910's, and California's wondered if their oil boom was reaching an end. But before that would happen, 3 major fields were discovered in rapid succession - Huntington Beach (1920), Santa Fe Springs (1921), and the biggest of them all, the Signal Hill, or Long Beach, Field in 1921.

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