History on the Hill - Exhibit

Celebrate the History of Signal Hill by visiting the Signal Hill Public Library as we rotate exhibits in the History Room of Riches each month.  

The “History on the Hill” exhibit includes a History Talk for each exhibit.   Talks will take place the second Thursday of each month at 6:00 p.m. with Signal Hill Historian, David Ferrari.   



Exhibit Open: January 2-26, 2024

The exhibit will feature pre-Signal Hill history, with a focus on Native American tribes who lived in the Signal Hill area; Japanese farmers; the Signal Hill Civic League started by Jessie Nelson; and the old mansions built atop the hill before oil was discovered in 1921.

January History Talk: Thursday, January 11, 2024 @ 6:00 p.m. 




Exhibit Open: February 1-23, 2024

Learn about the history of oil in Signal Hill in the 1920s. The exhibit will feature information and items about the City's beginnings, including the library's creation and the era's librarians, and the variations of city Hall (e.g. – Charles Hinshaw’s Building). Finally, the exhibit will briefly discuss the newspaper and the city workers.

February History Talk: Thursday, February 8, 2024 @ 6:00 p.m. 




Exhibit Open: March 1-27, 2024

The exhibit will continue the history of oil in Signal Hill, especially production in the 1930s. Learn about the 1933 earthquake which affected much of the surrounding area and some parts of Signal Hill. The exhibit will also discuss the new city hall which was built in 1933-1934, the City Council at the time, and the city workers.

March History Talk: Thursday, March 14, 2024 @ 6:00 p.m. 




Exhibit Open: April 1-26, 2024

The exhibit will touch on life in Signal Hill during WWII. This includes how the Signal Tribune contributed to the war by soliciting women to join the war effort, publishing different political cartoons, articles about the war, and advertisements persuading readers to buy war bonds.  Finally, the exhibit will also discuss the Southern California Military School, the City Council of the era, and the city workers.

April History Talk: Thursday, April 11, 2024 @ 6:00 p.m. 




Exhibit Open: May 1-24, 2024

The exhibit will have information on the most famous fire in Signal Hill, the Hancock Oil Refinery Fire, in 1958. The exhibit will also discuss Kid Mexico, a boxing promoter who lived in Signal Hill and had a wide array of famous friends (e.g., Bing Crosby). He was also known for attempting to run for city mayor. This exhibit will also touch on the City Council at the time and one of our more famous mayors, Nellie Combellack, who was so influential that she had a street named after her.

May History Talk: Thursday, May 9, 2024 @ 6:00 p.m. 




Exhibit Open: June 1-27 2024

With a focus on the 1960s, the exhibit will show the Model T races and the changes from steel derricks to pump jacks. Various watercolor paintings of Signal Hill will also be on display, along with information on the City Council and the library.

June History Talk: Thursday, June 13, 2024 @ 6:00 p.m. 




Exhibit Open: July 1-26, 2024

Learn about the skateboard races in Signal Hill from the 1970s in this month’s display. The exhibit will also show the changes made throughout the city towards a more progressive lifestyle, including new freeways, an updated airport, and the growth of businesses establishing themselves within the city. Memorabilia from the 50th Anniversary of the city will be displayed along with photos and information about the city council from the 70s.

July History Talk: Thursday, July 11, 2024 @ 6:00 p.m. 




Exhibit Open: August 1-28, 2024

The exhibit will feature elements of progress of businesses including the establishment of the Price Club, and the decrease in oil production in the 1980s. The growth of the city’s population will also be featured, along with the City Council of that time. 

August History Talk: Thursday, August 8, 2024 @ 6:00 p.m. 




Exhibit Open: September 3-27, 2024

The exhibit will showcase the 1990s in Signal Hill, including the City Council of the era and the time capsule encased in City Hall. 

September History Talk: Thursday, September 12, 2024 @ 6:00 p.m. 




Exhibit Open: October 1-25, 2024

Learns about the 2000s era in Signal Hill, with an exhibit that will discuss the different monuments that were placed on top of the hill (e.g. 9/11 monument) and review the sponsors. The City Council will also be addressed.

October History Talk: Thursday, October 10, 2024 @ 6:00 p.m. 




Exhibit Open: November 1-22, 2024

The exhibit will showcase life in Signal Hill in the 2010s. It will show some of the changes to the police department and the different library locations (there were three different libraries at the time). The City Council will be discussed along with the 90th anniversary of the city.

November History Talk: Thursday, November 14, 2024 @ 6:00 p.m. 



Present Day 

Exhibit Open: December 2-27, 2024

The final Centennial exhibit will showcase not only present-day Signal Hill life but also the future of Signal Hill. City Council will be discussed as well as contain a commemoration of Signal Hill’s 100th anniversary, and the look at the city’s future projects.

December History Talk: Thursday, December 12, 2024 @ 6:00 p.m.