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Industrial Modern Time Period

Around 1919, oil was discovered in Santa Fe Springs. The discovery of the sixth largest petroleum deposit in the world meant enormous changes for the town. In 1919, the Alexander Bell well blew out with such force that the explosion could be heard in Whittier. Within hours after the blow-out, the citrus farmers in Santa Fe Springs began packing their wagons and cars to move to safer places. The little farming town of Santa Fe Springs became a boom town overnight. As the oil industry moved in, so did industrial hazards. Sometimes after drilling, oil would explode from the ground with such force that workers would yell, “Run for your life!” Hardhats were not a requirement in those days. Oil fires were another problem. Some would burn for days and could be seen from as far away as central Orange County. Gradually, living conditions improved and Santa Fe Springs residents incorporated their city in 1957. Today the City is home to thousands of businesses and over 16,000 residents.

"The Oilfield Workers" by Carlos Terres, 1991