In 1921 oil was struck in Signal Hill, a previously agricultural area. Speculation and poorly regulated drilling followed. Wells, sumps, and derricks surrounded houses. Fires, leaks, soil and air pollution, noise, and industrial accidents proliferated. To thwart annexation by Long Beach, Signal Hill incorporated as an independent city in 1924, but problems continued. The city formed the Signal Hill Redevelopment Agency in 1974. Redevelopment dramatically transformed Signal Hill. By 2011, residential neighborhoods and commercial space characterized the city. While wells continue to operate in cul-de-sacs and shopping center parking lots, oil and community have learned how to coexist.

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