Would You Ever Live On Top of an Oil Reserve?

You might say no, but read on to see why your mind can be changed.

Have you ever wondered what those mini islands off the coast of Long Beach are? At night they shine with colorful lights and even have moving fixtures! Palm trees, concrete towers, and waterfalls adorn these mysterious islands but often leave onlookers wondering what their purpose is.

To understand their function, let’s go back to the 1930s, when one of the largest oil reserves was found underneath the city of Long Beach. At the time, oil wells were even more unsightly than they are now and residents weren’t keen on turning their newly found city into another industrial wasteland. Landowners of course wanted their share of the riches under them, but all were hesitant on what exactly to do. “A consortium of five major oil companies—Texaco, Humble, Union, Mobil, and Shell, or THUMS, as they’re known—won a bid to lease the fields from the state, agreeing to give the state and city of Long Beach a majority of the expected profits in return for the privilege to take control of the oil field ” (Meares). But now, this meant that THUMS had the go-ahead to begin drilling as long as they figured out a way to do so while complying to the “beautification clause” in the city’s proposal.

So, it was decided that four man-made islands would be the sites for all oil operations. Each island is around 10 acres and designed in a bowl shape to keep any runoff from contaminating the ocean that surrounds them. Bringing in architects from none other than Disney, the islands also features movable trees, high-rise structures, and amazing lights. Large waterfalls were added to mask the sounds of the oil derricks and machines.

They did a great job, because to this day many people don’t know the purpose of the islands, even Long Beach’s own residents! Changed your mind yet?

 

Source: https://la.curbed.com/2018/9/28/17858248/history-long-beach-oil-islands-thums

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