Los Angeles County
Signal Hill


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Best Western Golden Sails Hotel
6285 East Pacific Coast Highway
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1725 Long Beach Boulevard
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802 E. Pacific Coast Highway
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3201 E. Pacific Coast Hwy.
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500 East First Street
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5325 E. Pacific Coast Highway
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1133 Atlantic Ave.
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185 Atlantic Avenue
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4201 E. Pacific Coast Highway
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1500 E. Pacific Coast Highway
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111 East Ocean Boulevard
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4111 East Willow Street
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50 Atlantic Ave.
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6400 E. Pacific Coast Highway
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333 East Ocean Boulevard

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Signal Hill

Land area : approx. 2.2 square miles

HilltopSignal Hill is located in the southernmost region of Los Angeles County.   One of the few cities in  the United States surrounded 360 degrees by one other city (Long Beach), it overlooks Long Beach harbor with the nation's busiest port, Long Beach Airport and several freeway systems passing through Long Beach. Unlike sections of Long Beach such as Belmont Shore with personal zip codes, Signal Hill is a completely separate, incorporated city.

Comprised of residential, commercial and industriall properties, Signal Hill was previously known for its oil drills and derricks that rose to the sky, and in fact, evidence of knowledge of oil and tar appear in its earliest history. Crude that welled up naturally was used for a variety of purposes. 

In 1922 a gusher that took four days to cap was greeted by the cheers of a crowd that gathered to watch. Several years later in 1924 the City of Signal Hill was incorporated.  Ranches and mansions quickly disappeared from the area and were replaced with a forest of oil towers on  "Porcupine Hill".  Roads were paved, refineries sprang up, fires raged and were extinguished and some people became wealthy almost overnight.  Because of oil production, land which normally would have been prime property for housing was held at bay during the city's 75+ years of oil yields.

art - public art

Photo ©  Debbie Stock 

Photo © Debbie Stock 

Hilltop Park (pictured in photos on this page) offers one of the best views in Los Angeles.  The smoke signal  (seen above- right)  alludes to the very long history of the use of a site which inspired the naming of the city.   Spanish immigrants called it Loma Sental and wrote in their records that  around 1500, Puvuvitam Indians used the hill to signal their relations living 26 miles way on Pimu (Santa Catalina Island).  Creating smoke signals seen for miles, the fires were observed by Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo when he sailed into the region called it the "Bay of Smokes". Spanish Padres continued the tradition of building fires on the hill and today, the fire still burns symbolically at the Hilltop Park monument. 

Photo © Debbie Stock

Also on view at Hilltop Park are several shadow art frames like the one pictured above.  A placard tells exactly what you are looking at through the frame.  There are also photos and plaques with historical data included on this web page.  Picnic tables, public restrooms and paved walking paths at the park make it an enjoyable spot to visit. 

Although Spain claimed all the Americas in 1492, including Signal Hill by Right of Discovery, the actual Spanish settlement of Alta California began in 1769 with the building of a mission in San Diego. As a result, Signal Hill's first owner of record was Manuel Nieto, who received a Spanish land grant from King Carlos III of Spain in 1784.  Over the years the land was used for breeding of horses, cattle and sheep farms, and cultivation of large fields of flowers. The hill was viewed as the perfect place for a water source, and in the early 1900's with profits from their dairy business, the Deni family constructed a water tower and mansion.  A thin layer of earth separates guests from Signal Hill's unseen water source -- a 1.2 million gallon reservoir of water below Hilltop Park.