The Strike-It-Rich Christmas Tree

Huntington Beach’s last-century oil boom dictated a derrick as a tree.

In 1920, the Standard Oil Company of California struck bubbling crude in Huntington Beach. Remember when Jed Clampett of the Beverly Hillbillies found his fortune by aimlessly firing his gun and striking oil? The people who owned the oil-rich land in HB may have had a similar stroke of luck. They had received the land from Encyclopedia Britannica about a year or two earlier for free or, more accurately, as a bonus for buying a set of encyclopedias. The publishing company had 35 acres subdivided into 420 lots that it believed to be worthless.