According to the LA Times, Los Angeles has 3,071 active oil and gas wells, and produces more than 66,000 barrels a day. Historians aren’t kidding when they say our first economic boom was land, then citrus, and then oil. The first oil well in Los Angeles was dug in 1892 in Echo Park. In 1924, the Standard Oil Company of California began drilling in the Baldwin Hills.
Efforts to reclaim those Baldwin Hills oilfields for green space are underway. In 1983, this former oil field opened as a State Recreation Area. It provides a fishing lake and spectacular views of the entire Los Angeles Basin. I mean, these views stretch from snow capped mountains to the ocean.
I had gone inside the park office to inquire about the species of an ornamental grass. A man from the Baldwin Hills Conservancy told me the grass, Pampas Grass, was invasive and they’re working on removing it. I joked, “Well what’re you gonna do about the oil fields?” He replied without jokes, “We’re buying their land.” Check here to see the visionary map of the “One Big Park” initiative: http://www.bhc.ca.gov/images/IllustrativeSketch_2copy.jpg
Check here for a detailed history of these oil fields: http://www.inglewoodoilfield.com/history-future-of-inglewood/