In the 1890s, the small town of Los Angeles (population 50,000) began a transformation driven by the discovery and drilling of some of the most productive oil fields in history. By 1930, California was producing nearly one quarter of the world's oil output.
Additional (and larger) pictures at The Atlantic.
|A forest of oil derricks sprouts up on the Signal Hill oil field, Long Beach, California, in 1937.|
In the decades that followed, many wells closed, but even more opened, surrounded by urban and suburban growth. Machinery was camouflaged, loud noises were abated, methane pockets were vented, as residents learned to live side-by-side with oil production facilities.
|Oil wells in Venice, California, bringing oil up from beach area in 1952.|
|An oil well pumps in a newly constructed neighborhood near Shell Oil Company Alamitos No. 1 discovery well on Signal Hill in Long Beach on May 30, 2003.|
|Oil rig pumpjacks extract crude from the Wilmington Field oil deposits area where Tidelands Oil Production Company, which is owned by Occidental Petroleum Corporation (Oxy), operates near Long Beach, California, on July 30, 2013|
|A decorated oil derrick looms over Beverly Hills High School, background, and the derrick's service compound in this view from the southwest on February 25, 2003.|