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A forest of oil derricks makes a ghostly backdrop for a conversation in Signal Hill, California, in 1941. The city is located north of Long Beach in Los Angeles County. The complex geology of the L.A. Basin caused massive amounts of oil to be trapped beneath the city, which fed a booming oil industry at the turn of the century. At their peak, the wells at Signal Hill led California oil production. Photograph by B. Anthony Stewart, National Geographic


Photographer Spotlight: Andreas Feininger

A forest of wells, rigs and derricks crowd the Signal Hill oil fields in Long Beach, Calif., 1944.

Pike Amusement Park, Long Beach and the "Cyclone" Roller Coaster. Note the row of oil wells along the hills in the background.