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Sunday, September 25, 2016

An early oil boom that left Angelino Heights residents gushing with anger

A little more than a century ago, Edward Doheny struck oil south of Angelino Heights and Echo Park, triggering the city’s first oil boom. Soon, hundreds of wells were pumping away in a wide belt stretching roughly south of Temple Street. The wells created enormous wealth but also a stinky, sticky mess for those who lived nearby, including the residents of the newly built Victorian mansions of Angelino Heights. They were not pleased and were not afraid to hide their displeasure, according to Norman Klein, author of the The History of Forgetting, which cites a Los Angeles Times article:

“It had once been home to mayoral officials, the first Cedars-Sinai
Hospital, as well as Jewish, Italian and Protestant entrepreneurial families. That protected it at first. Its improvement Association even protected Temple Street below and the rest of Echo Park against excesses by ‘oil men,’ and fought for improved water bonds. As late as 1921, Angeleno Heights, as it was spelled back then, was still powerful enough to bring all oil drilling nearby utterly to a halt”
‘The residents of [Angeleno Heights] who don’t want the well say that
the oil men are crude. The oil men admit they are crude because that the kind of oil they are after … ‘”

Photo of 1896 Los Angeles oil fields from Wikimedia Commons



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