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Signal Hill - Current Facts:

  • Became a city on April 14, 1924.
  • The first mayor was Mrs. Jessie Elwin Nelson
  • The city occupies 2.2 square miles and is surrounded by Long Beach on all sides.
  • The highest point is 365 ft. (110 meters) above sea level at the top of the hill.
  • In 2015 the population was 11,465.

Before Signal Hill Became a City:

  • The Tongva indians lived in the area.
  • 1541 - Juan Cabrillo sailed up the California coast and named the bay "Bahi a Los Furrios" from the layer of smoke that hung over the area created by Native American fires.
  • 1769 - The Spanish began occupation of the Los Angeles basin and the Signal Hill area.
  • 1784 - Manuel Nieto acquired the land between the Los Angeles and Santa Ana rivers and from the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains to the ocean.
  • 1804 - Don Juan Jose and Dona Miguela inherited Rancho Los Cerritos. The property was divided by what is now Alamitos Ave.
  • 1838 - The first Spanish map shows Manuel Nieto's land grant including Signal Hill as a reference point.
  • 1840 - Abel Stearns and Jonathon Temple bought Rancho Los Alamitos from Jose Figueros (note the last names are remembered in street names)
  • 1859 - The first oil well was drilled in Pennsylvania.
  • 1866 - 1869 The ranchos were sold to Thomas & Benjamin Flint and Lewellyn Bixby. John Bixby joined in and J. Bixby & Company was formed.
  • 1880 - The Bixby Co sold 4000 acres to William Wilmore who wanted to create a residential community to enjoy the majestic views to the sea (later known as Long Beach)
  • 1881 - John Bixby and I.W. Hellman purchased Rancho Los Alamitos.
  • 1887 - The first map reference to Signal Hill designated Los Cerritos as “The Hills.”
  • 1900 - George Hughes lays out a 118 acre housing tract atop Signal Hill. A few mansions were built by the Hughes, Denni, Reeves, Pease and Pala families.
  • 1905 - A new power plant lights up Tower light that sits atop of a new 25,000 gallon water tank to supply water to the homes being built.
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