Photo #23 – Oil derricks, north of the pier, circa 1940.
PHOTO CAPTION: The Town Lot Oil field opened in 1926 on the north side of downtown, continuing the 1920’s oil boom in Huntington Beach. There were over 80 production companies actively drilling in this field, swelling our population to 12,000 people. To the right of this depression-era photograph, you can see the salt water plunge at the foot of Sixth Street.
Oil was first discovered in Huntington Beach at the corner of Goldenwest and Clay Streets by the Standard Oil Company of California, in December of 1919. By May of 1920, Standard Oil had set up oil field Huntington A No. 1 and began producing 45 barrels of oil a day. This discovery came at a time when the city of Huntington Beach was near broke with a dwindling population. In less than a month, the city’s population went from 1500 to 5000 people. By November of that same year, Bolsa Chica No. 1, another Standard Oil well, produced a total of 1742 barrels of oil alone in one day. The oil field featured in the above photo was part of the second oil boom, with oil wells stretching along PCH from 8th St. to 23rd St.