Until this year, no one knew that oil lay beneath this land. Its discovery in Signal Hill in 1921 led to an oil frenzy in the surrounding area.


The 1920s in Long Beach was a decade filled with technological advances and new discoveries.

Among these, Kay Daugherty was a female aviator who came to Long Beach from Nebraska. She and her husband loved to fly and did so as early as 1923, helping to manage Long Beach’s aviation school. Key went on to “run her own flying service out of Long Beach Airport...become executive director of the Long Beach squadron of the Civil Air Patrol,” and even “managed the International Garden Hotel at the airport.” She lived to the ripe age of 101.

In 1921, Don Juan Temple and his nephew Walter Temple discovered oil on their land in Long Beach. The oil reserves they discovered were found to be substantial, and they quickly became utilized and referred to as, “the Long Beach Oil Field.”


Sources we used and further reading on this era of Long Beach:

  • Berner, Loretta. Sketches from way back. Special Collection. Rancho Los Cerritos Collection Vol 3. Long Beach Public Library, 58-9.

Signal Hill Oil Field, 1931.  Huntington Digital Library .

Signal Hill Oil Field, 1931. Huntington Digital Library.