California State University, Long Beach

Long Beach Area History

 
 

Long Beach started out during the real estate boom of the 1880s as a resort and farming community. Soon its rail and port connections made it a commercial and transportation center for southern Los Angeles and Orange counties. In 1910, Long Beach was the fastest growing city in the United States. Nearby on Terminal Island, beginning in 1907, first generation Japanese fishermen and their families created a vital community. In Long Beach, another boom followed the discovery of oil in 1921 on Signal Hill, north of town. In 1933 an earthquake destroyed some of the results of the boom but the rebuilding effort did aid in the recovery from the Depression. Prosperity was fully restored by both the discovery of a new oil field in the harbor area and the economic stimulus of World War II. At the same time, the Terminal Island Japanese community was eradicated, as its residents were rounded up and placed in concentration camps. Long Beach's prosperity continued after the war in new suburban neighborhoods and shopping centers. In one east Long Beach neighborhood, civic leaders provided a site for a new state college. But these new suburbs, along with the sinking of the harbor as oil was pumped out from under it, led to a decline of the central business district and older neighborhoods. Since the 1970s, redevelopment has begun downtown, the college has become a university (CSULB) and the people it attracted to the community have become integrated into local social and economic institutions. The university, along with Long Beach's recreation and convention facilities, and its port, oil related and manufacturing businesses have made it a major city. Nevertheless, Long Beach remains in the shadow of its larger neighbor and its history largely hidden from the broader Los Angeles basin community.

Collections within Long Beach Area History

Recent Submissions

  • Irvin, Robert (11/11/1902 - 2/1/1992); Briegel, Kaye, interviewer (2021-01-13)
    INTERVIEW DESCRIPTION - Irvin was interviewed in his Orange County townhouse where he lived with his wife. He was an attorney and an articulate spokesman for his conservative view of law and politics. The interview was ...
  • Law, Jan (1/25/1908 - 1/27/1994); Briegel, Kaye, interviewer (2021-01-13)
    INTERVIEW DESCRIPTION - This fourth interview was conducted in Law's office. When the interview was completed, Briegel collected the materials Law discussed and took them back to CSULB library. 12/1/1983
  • Law, Jan (1/25/1908 - 1/27/1994); Briegel, Kaye, interviewer (2021-01-13)
    INTERVIEW DESCRIPTION - Law's third interview was conducted following a tour of "Bixby A Lease." It is in a wetland that, other than the oil production activity, is undeveloped and serves as a wildlife refuge. Law drove ...
  • Law, Jan (1/25/1908 - 1/27/1994); Briegel, Kaye, interviewer (2021-01-07)
    INTERVIEW DESCRIPTION - Law's second interview was conducted in his office on the "Bixby A Lease," an active oil producing area, in Long Beach. Sometimes the interview was interrupted by phone calls and maintenance activities ...
  • Law, Jan (1/25/1908 - 1/27/1994); Briegel, Kaye, interviewer (2021-01-07)
    INTERVIEW DESCRIPTION - Law's first interview was set up by Darrell Neighbors and conducted in Law's office which was in a building located on the "Bixby A Lease," an active oil producing area, in Long Beach. John Ahouse, ...