Signal Hill, California

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Signal Hill, California
City
City of Signal Hill
Location of Signal Hill in Los Angeles County, California
Location of Signal Hill in Los Angeles County, California
Coordinates: 33°47′58″N 118°09′56″W / 33.79935°N 118.16558°W / 33.79935; -118.16558
Country  United States of America
State  California
County Los Angeles
Incorporated 1924
Government
 • Mayor Ed Wilson
Area[1]
 • Total 2.191 sq mi (5.673 km2)
 • Land 2.189 sq mi (5.669 km2)
 • Water 0.002 sq mi (0.004 km2)  0.08%
Elevation 148 ft (45 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 11,465
 • Density 5,200/sq mi (2,000/km2)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 90755
Area code(s) 562
FIPS code 06-71876
GNIS feature ID 1661443
Website http://www.cityofsignalhill.org/

Signal Hill is a city (2.2 mi², 5.7 km²) in California located in the Greater Los Angeles area. Signal Hill, completely surrounded by the city of Long Beach, was incorporated on April 22, 1924, roughly three years after oil was discovered there. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 11,465.

Signal Hill lies in the 562 area code. The city once shared three different postal ZIP codes with the city of Long Beach but in July 2002, the city of Signal Hill received its own ZIP code, 90755.

History[edit]

The hill that the city is named after is 365 feet (110 m) above the surrounding town of Long Beach. Because of this height, it was used by the local Tongva Indians for signal fires that could be seen throughout the surrounding area and even out to Catalina Island, 26 miles (42 km) away.[citation needed]

After the Spanish discovered Alta California ("Upper California," or what is now the state of California), Signal Hill eventually became part of the first large rancho grant to be allotted under Spanish rule in Alta California. The Rancho San Pedro (Dominguez Rancho) land grant exceeded 74,000 acres (300 km2) as granted to a soldier, Juan Jose Dominguez, who accompanied Junipero Serra, by Governor Fages through authority of King Carlos III of Spain in 1784.

Between 1913 and 1923 an early California movie studio, Balboa Amusement Producing Company (also known as Balboa Studios), was located in Long Beach and used 11 acres (45,000 m²) on Signal Hill for outdoor locations. Buster Keaton and Fatty Arbuckle were two of Balboa Studio actors who had films shot on Signal Hill.

Before oil was discovered in Signal Hill, there were large homes built on the hill itself, and in the lower elevations was an agricultural area where fruits, vegetables, and flowers were grown. Many of the truck farmers were Japanese.

Discovery of oil[edit]

Signal Hill circa 1923

Signal Hill changed forever when oil was discovered. The hill would soon become part of the Long Beach Oil Field, one of the most productive oil fields in the world.[2] On June 23, 1921, Shell Oil Company's Alamitos #1 well [3] erupted. The gas pressure was so great the gusher rose 114 ft (35 m) in the air. Soon Signal Hill was covered with over 100 oil derricks, and because of its prickly appearance at a distance became known as "Porcupine Hill".

The city was incorporated on April 22, 1924. Among the reasons for incorporating was avoiding annexation by Long Beach with its zoning restrictions and per-barrel oil tax. Signal Hill's first mayor, Jessie Nelson, was California's first female mayor.

Later years[edit]

Aerial view of Signal Hill oilfield in 1930

One of the city's more colorful residents was the boxer Kid Mexico (real name, Tod Faulkner) who was the state's bantamweight champion in 1914 (at age 14—he had lied about his age) and the state's welterweight champion in 1925. He put his earnings into businesses and real estate in Signal Hill, including an eight lane bowling alley, restaurant, cocktail lounge, auditorium, and movie house. He also had a bingo parlor that was ignored by the local police for many years. He was well known for his large annual Christmas parties for children from Signal Hill and Long Beach. Besides his bowling alley, he also had a single lane for bowling in his nearby home. Eventually he was arrested for gambling, tax evasion, and election fraud (Davis, 2006, p. 62-64).

Today, many of the oil wells and nodding donkey oil pumps are gone, although some remain. Signal Hill is now a mix of residential and commercial areas.

Government and infrastructure[edit]

Signal Hill oilfield pumpjack, 2011

Local government[edit]

The Signal Hill Police Department provides law enforcement.

County, state, and federal representation[edit]

For sixteen years, Signal Hill contracted for their fire protection services from the City of Long Beach. On November 6, 2003, Signal Hill returned to Los Angeles County Fire Department protection as Station 60.[4] Ambulance transport is provided by Care Ambulance Service.

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services operates the Whittier Health Center in Whittier, serving Signal Hill.[5]

Signal Hill is in the 4th Supervisorial District of Los Angeles County, with Don Knabe the current Supervisor. Signal Hill is in the 47th Congressional District of the U.S. Congress, represented by Democrat Alan Lowenthal . It is in the 33rd California State Senate District, represented by Democrat Ricardo Lara, and the 70th California Assembly District, represented by Democrat Bonnie Lowenthal.[citation needed]

Economy[edit]

Prior to its dissolution, the airline Jet America Airlines was headquartered in Signal Hill.[6][7][8] The diner chain Hof's Hut is headquartered in Signal Hill.

Top employers[edit]

According to the City's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:[9]

# Employer # of Employees
1 Office Depot 551
2 The Home Depot 303
3 Costco 292
4 Universal Care 272
5 Telestranger Productions 230
6 Oil Well Service Company 225
7 Target 202
8 The Home Depot 165
9 Crane 143
10 Alliance Spacesystems 129

Education[edit]

Primary and secondary school[edit]

Public schools[edit]

Signal Hill is served by Long Beach Unified School District.

There are three elementary schools within the city limits:

  • Signal Hill Elementary School
  • Juan Bautista Alvarado Elementary School
  • Burroughs Elementary School (A Teacher Resource Center is adjacent to the Burroughs campus).

There is one middle school within the city limits:

  • Jessie Elwin Nelson Academy

The four areas have separate attendance zones.

In addition, Robinson School in Long Beach takes some students in Signal Hill for elementary school and middle school.

Some residents attend Butler School, a K-8 school, for middle school only. Some other residents attend Hughes Middle School. Some attend the Jefferson Leadership Academies. Areas within the city are zoned, for middle school, to either Nelson, Butler, Hughes, Jefferson, or Robinson.

High school students usually go to Long Beach Polytechnic High School (usually referred to as Long Beach Poly); most of the city is zoned to Long Beach Polytechnic.

Some students choose to go to Long Beach Wilson Classical High School; small portions are zoned to Wilson Classical High School.

Signal Hill Elementary School has earned the California Achieving Schools Award, and the National Achieving Schools Award. Signal Hill and Alvarado are both California Distinguished Schools.

Juan Bautista Alvarado Elementary School is located on the site of the former all male boarding school, the Southern California Military Academy.

Colleges and universities[edit]

American University of Health Sciences (AUHS) is located within the city of Signal Hill. The university offers an education in Allied Healthcare, offering degrees such as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Master of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR), Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Science (BSPS), and is currently working towards opening a Doctorate of Pharmacy (PharmD) program.

Community college students attend one of the two nearby campuses for Long Beach City College.

California State University, Long Beach is located less than five miles (8 km) away.

City parks[edit]

Hilltop Park
Discovery Well Park, California Historical Landmark 580 - Alamitos #1, 1921

Although a small town, Signal Hill has several parks. The largest is Signal Hill Park at 10 acres (40,000 m2). It is adjacent to City Hall, the Police Department, the Community Center and the Library. The park has picnic tables, a playground, a horseshoe pit, basketball courts, a softball field, and restrooms. There is also an amphitheater where there are weekly outdoor concerts during the summer.

Hilltop Park 3.2 acres (13,000 m2) is at the top of Signal Hill and is very popular for its great views. There are several telescopes in the park. There is also some public artwork in the park and a mist tower. This park is a popular location for hiding geocaches. On a clear day you can see as far as the Santa Monica mountains, downtown LA, the large mountains behind it, all of the communities in between, most of Long Beach, and all down the South Bay area to Newport Beach, and out to sea Catalina Island. It is a view of the LA Basin entailing roughly 10 million people. Part of the view is blocked by homes.

Reservoir Park 2.8 acres (11,000 m2) near the California Heights neighborhood of Long Beach is a large grassy area with picnic tables next to a 4.7 million gallon water reservoir.

Discovery Well Park 4.9 acres (20,000 m2), 1.8 acres (7,300 m2) flat is near the original well on Signal Hill.

There are also six pocket parks of roughly 0.5 acres (2,000 m2) or less, including Calbrisas Park, Hillbrook Park, Panorama Promenade, Raymond Arbor Park, Sunset View Park, and Temple View Park.

Near the Panorama Promenade, there is the Unity Sculpture, a 12' height sculpture atop a 4' pedestal with a seating courtyard that is dedicated in memory of the victims of September 11.

There are also several pedestrian-only trails that travel between various parks and roadways. Hiking along these trails, as well as on the sidewalks in Signal Hill is very popular. Some sections can be found that are between a 15% and 25% grade.

Proposed nature preserve[edit]

On the north slope of Signal Hill is a large area that is currently used for oil operations. This area has been proposed as a nature preserve.

Sports[edit]

There used to be a popular Model T Hill Climb up Hill Street on the east side of Signal Hill.

In 1975 the first professional street luge race was held at Signal Hill. By 1978, however, the races were canceled because of injuries to racers and spectators.

The Long Beach chapter of the Sierra Club does conditioning hikes twice a week in Signal Hill.

The Long Beach Sports Park is scheduled to be built on a parcel of Long Beach that is almost completely surrounded by the city of Signal Hill.

Geography[edit]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2), virtually all land.

The city is surrounded on all sides by the city of Long Beach, California.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1990 8,371
2000 9,333 11.5%
2010 11,016 18.0%

2010[edit]

The 2010 United States Census[10] reported that Signal Hill had a population of 11,016. The population density was 5,029.0 people per square mile (1,941.7/km²). The racial makeup of Signal Hill was 4,650 (42.2%) White (30.3% Non-Hispanic White),[11] 1,502 (13.6%) African American, 83 (0.8%) Native American, 2,245 (20.4%) Asian, 135 (1.2%) Pacific Islander, 1,778 (16.1%) from other races, and 623 (5.7%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3,472 persons (31.5%).

The Census reported that 10,970 people (99.6% of the population) lived in households, 2 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 44 (0.4%) were institutionalized.

There were 4,157 households, out of which 1,419 (34.1%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 1,580 (38.0%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 660 (15.9%) had a female householder with no husband present, 258 (6.2%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 302 (7.3%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 156 (3.8%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 1,128 households (27.1%) were made up of individuals and 245 (5.9%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64. There were 2,498 families (60.1% of all households); the average family size was 3.33.

The population was spread out with 2,624 people (23.8%) under the age of 18, 1,034 people (9.4%) aged 18 to 24, 3,476 people (31.6%) aged 25 to 44, 2,970 people (27.0%) aged 45 to 64, and 912 people (8.3%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.0 years. For every 100 females there were 97.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.9 males.

There were 4,389 housing units at an average density of 2,003.7 per square mile (773.6/km²), of which 2,141 (51.5%) were owner-occupied, and 2,016 (48.5%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.9%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.7%. 5,253 people (47.7% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 5,717 people (51.9%) lived in rental housing units.

According to the 2010 United States Census, Signal Hill had a median household income of $65,741, with 14.0% of the population living below the federal poverty line. [12]

2000[edit]

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 9,333 people, 3,621 households, and 2,096 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,182.0 inhabitants per square mile (1,615.9/km²). There were 3,797 housing units at an average density of 1,701.4 per square mile (657.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 45.5% White, 13.0% African American, 0.6% Native American, 16.5% Asian, 2.1% Pacific Islander, 16.2% from other races, and 6.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 29.0% of the population.

There were 3,621 households out of which 31.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.8% were married couples living together, 14.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.1% were non-families. 30.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.34.

In the city the population was spread out with 26.4% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 35.3% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 7.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 97.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $48,938, and the median income for a family was $46,439. Males had a median income of $41,487 versus $36,460 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,399. About 13.6% of families and 17.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.1% of those under age 18 and 3.9% of those age 65 or over.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "U.S. Census". 
  2. ^ Schmitt, R. J., Dugan, J. E., and M. R. Adamson. "Industrial Activity and Its Socioeconomic Impacts: Oil and Three Coastal California Counties." MMS OCS Study 2002-049. Coastal Research Center, Marine Science Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara, California. MMS Cooperative Agreement Number 14-35-01-00-CA-31603. 244 pages; p. 47.
  3. ^ Alamitos Well 1 Location: NE corner of Temple Ave and Hill St, Signal Hill. California Historic Landmark #580.
  4. ^ "Misc.: LA County FD Signals a new station opening on the Hill." Los Angeles County Fire Department. Wednesday January 7, 2004.
  5. ^ "Whittier Health Center." Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Retrieved on March 18, 2010.
  6. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. March 30, 1985. 88." Retrieved on July 23, 2009.
  7. ^ "upper_rightc4.jpg." City of Signal Hill. Retrieved on July 23, 2009.
  8. ^ "SEC News Digest Issue 84-34." Securities and Exchange Commission. February 17, 1984. 2/4. Retrieved on July 23, 2009.
  9. ^ City of Signal HillCAFR
  10. ^ All data are derived from the United States Census Bureau reports from the 2010 United States Census, and are accessible on-line here. The data on unmarried partnerships and same-sex married couples are from the Census report DEC_10_SF1_PCT15. All other housing and population data are from Census report DEC_10_DP_DPDP1. Both reports are viewable online or downloadable in a zip file containing a comma-delimited data file. The area data, from which densities are calculated, are available on-line here. Percentage totals may not add to 100% due to rounding. The Census Bureau defines families as a household containing one or more people related to the householder by birth, opposite-sex marriage, or adoption. People living in group quarters are tabulated by the Census Bureau as neither owners nor renters. For further details, see the text files accompanying the data files containing the Census reports mentioned above.
  11. ^ http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/0671876.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/0671876.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°47′58″N 118°09′56″W / 33.79935°N 118.16558°W / 33.79935; -118.16558