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

  • Ahlquist, Irving (b. 1916 - d. 2004); Briegel, Kaye, interviewer (2021-08-31)
    INTERVIEW DESCRIPTION - This is the first of five interviews conducted in Ahlquist's office in the CSULB History Department. The audio quality of the interview is good. 1/12/1981
  • O'Neill, William (4/8/1931 - 10/24/2012); Briegel, Kaye, interviewer (2021-08-31)
    INTERVIEW DESCRIPTION - This single interview with William O'Neill was conducted in the CSULB Oral History Resource Center. The audio quality is good. 1/22/1981
  • Wilde, Richard (1920 - ); Briegel, Kaye, interviewer (2021-08-31)
    INTERVIEW DESCRIPTION - This is the fourth of four interviews conducted in Wilde's office in the CSULB History Department. The audio quality is good, but there is some background noise as people talk as they pass by in the ...
  • Wilde, Richard (1920 - ); Briegel, Kaye, interviewer (2021-08-31)
    INTERVIEW DESCRIPTION - This is the third of four interviews conducted in Wilde's office in the CSULB History Department. The audio quality is good, but there is some background noise as people talk as they pass by in the ...
  • Wilde, Richard (1920 - ); Briegel, Kaye, interviewer (2021-08-31)
    INTERVIEW DESCRIPTION - This is the second of four interviews conducted in Wilde's office in the CSULB History Department. The audio quality is good, but there is some background noise as people talk as they pass by in the ...