On Saturday, February 6, I took a trip to the Hilltop Park in Signal Hill. The park is very popular, especially after sunset when I visited. As it is on a hill, this often means parallel parking at a 15% grade downwards. After the difficulty of parking, I was given a nice relaxing 10 minutes before the community police notified me that the park would be closing soon and I would have to leave. I considered parking elsewhere and spending more time there anyway, but opted to sneak into another park after closing instead (it would’ve been much too far of a walk).
At the center of the city of Long Beach rests this city on a hill, but it may be more correct to say that the hill is the city. Signal Hill is a city of approximately 11,000 citizens, but many more people visit the city in a given day, especially on the weekends, due to its public parks and open views of the cityscape. The Hilltop Park (near the peak of the hill, with an open view westward) is a common destination for teenagers and couples alike, who all enjoy the view of surrounding Long Beach. Aside from the various parks and the real estate, there is another common sight in the city. Over 200 oil pumpjacks are spread across the 2 square mile town, many positioned peculiarly with the city developed around them. There’s even one in the corner of a McDonald’s parking lot, with another just across the street. These pumpjacks don’t just pump oil either, they serve as a reminder to the history and development of the region. Oil was a major reason for the incorporation of the city, not only because of the population influx, but also because becoming a city allowed the oil companies to avoid a Long Beach oil tax. Signal Hill is a place wherein the landscape gives tease to the past more directly than most.