preserving the past for our future

Happy New Year

Next meeting February 21st






Signal Hill has had a fascinating history over the years, from the time when the Indians sent out their smoke signals, the coming of the spaniards, ranching, Japanese farmers, poppy fields, orchards, the discovery of oil, to the vibrant diviserfied community of today.

OUR MISSION is to develop, promote, perpetuate and preserve the local historical background of the City of Signal Hill and its surrounding area, through activities such as:

Providing for permanent preservation and display of materials and objects of historical and archeological interest, as feasible, in an appropriate housing such as a museum, gallery or library, and make them available to those who wish to view, examine and study them. And so much more...

The Signal Hill Historical Society is a non-profit public benefit corporation duly incorporated in the State of California since August, 1983.

We meet on the THIRD THURSDAY of each month at 6:00pm. Locations may vary and are posted here.

We hope you will join us in learning about our history and achieving these exciting goals.

Contributions are tax deductible.               

SHHS is a registered 501(c)3

EIN 33-0004198

November 15th

Monthly Meeting (every Third Thursday)

Times: Meeting: 5:30pm

            Potluck Dinner 6:30 ish

Location to be determined


Historical  VIdeos on YouTube:

Oil in Signal Hill - Video story

Keaton King, former Mayor and Historian

I remember Long Beach

by Dennis Marowski

Song of Signal Hill - John Malcolm Penn

Yes there is a real song of Signal Hill

The words are posted in City Hall.

LA Hidden Oil Fields

Model-T Hill Climb

How an Oil Will is Drilled

An old Shell Oil video.

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Concerts in the Park begin July 11th and every Wednesday for 6 weeks

Come join us at our booth where we have lots of old photos and books


Have old photos you would like to share?

Have great stories you would like to tell?

Be part of our oral and video history project, Stories from the Hill"


Signal Hill became a city on April 14, 1924.

Our first mayor was Mrs. Jessie Elwin Nelson           Jessie was the second elected woman mayor in the state of California.    Current Mayor: Tina Hansen

The city occupies 2.2 square miles and is surrounded by Long Beach on all sides, one of only a handful cities in the world completely surroundend by the same city.

The highest point is 365 ft. (110 meters) above sea level at the top of the hill.

In 2015 the population was 11,465.

Before Signal Hill Became a City:

The Tongva indians lived in the area.

Learn More: History of Tongva tribes in the LA Basin

1541 - Juan Cabrillo sailed up the California coast and named the bay "Bahi a Los Furrios" from the layer of smoke that hung over the area created by Native American fires.

1769 - The Spanish began occupation of the Los Angeles basin and the Signal Hill area.

1784 - Manuel Nieto acquired the land between the Los Angeles and Santa Ana rivers and from the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains to the ocean. Ckick the link below and recognize many common names you see everyday.

Learn More: List of Ranchos in California

Take a look at a Map of LA County Ranchos

1804 - Don Juan Jose and Dona Miguela inherited Rancho Los Cerritos. The property was divided by what is now Alamitos Ave.

1838 - The first Spanish map shows Manuel Nieto's land grant including Signal Hill as a reference point.

1840 - Abel Stearns and Jonathon Temple bought Rancho Los Alamitos from Jose Figueros (note the last names are remembered in street names)

1859 - The first oil well was drilled in Pennsylvania.

1866 - 1869 The ranchos were sold to Thomas & Benjamin Flint and Lewellyn Bixby. John Bixby joined in and J. Bixby & Company was formed.

1880 - The Bixby Co sold 4000 acres to William Wilmore who wanted to create a residential community to enjoy the majestic views to the sea (later known as Long Beach)

1881 - John Bixby and I.W. Hellman purchased Rancho Los Alamitos.

1887 - The first map reference to Signal Hill designated Los Cerritos as “The Hills.”

1900 - George Hughes lays out a 118 acre housing tract atop Signal Hill. A few mansions were built by the Hughes, Denni, Reeves, Pease and Pala families.

1905 - A new power plant lights up Tower light that sits atop of a new 25,000 gallon water tank to supply water to the homes being built.

1921 - Oil was discovered at Temple & Hill St by the Shell Oil company, Alamitos #1 - Discovery Well.

1924, April 24th - Signal Hill became a city and a new chapter begins.

Learn More:

View the entire list of Mayors and Council Members from Jessie Nelson in 1924 to our present day Mayor    Tina Hansen in 2018.



Who is that lady?

Gas was 25¢ a gallon?

Give Up?

Click here for the answer.