“Jolt” Exhibit Examines Historical Disasters in Southern L.A. Region

Southside of Compton Boulevard after the 1933 Earthquake

Southside of Compton Boulevard after the 1933 Earthquake

The Archives and Special Collections Department of the University Library at California State University, Dominguez Hills has curated a multi-dimensional exhibition, “JOLT!— Responding to Environmental Disasters Large and Small in Southern Los Angeles,” that will remain on display through May 2014. The exhibit is open to the public.

In response to continued student interest in the devastation caused by the March 10, 1933, earthquake in Compton and Long Beach as well as the hazards to the environment presented by oil refineries or derrick explosions throughout the early to mid-20th century, this exhibition presents extensive documentation from the Archives collections on the disasters large and small, from earthquakes and floods to kitchen fires and car accidents. Most of these disasters took place within 15 minutes of the CSUDH campus.

The exhibition features 200 images and other archival materials from the department’s extensive collections, including the Long Beach Firemen’s Historical Museum Photograph Collection, the Compton History Collection, the Lynch Family Collection, the Rancho San Pedro Collection, and other materials.

WHAT:      “JOLT!— Responding to Environmental Disasters Large and Small in Southern Los Angeles”

WHEN:     Sept. 3- May 2014, Mon-Fri, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

WHERE:   Archives and Special Collections, University Library, Fifth Floor, South Wing, CSU Dominguez Hills, 1000 E. Victoria St., Carson, CA 90747

COST:       FREE

INFO:        http://archives.csudh.edu/ or call (310) 243-3895

The donation of 9,000 Long Beach fire-related materials in 2010 brought a great deal of documentation not only on mid-century firefighting, but also on enormous oil derrick and gas refinery explosion in Long Beach and Signal Hill. Also featured in the collection are images of flooding that devastated Rancho San Pedro lands in the century prior to the paving of the Los Angeles River. The Long Beach Fire photographs have been digitized and are currently being cataloged and should be available in the Archives’ Digital Collection site, http://archives.csudh.edu:2006/, by the end of 2013.

The exhibition features sets of photographs on topics that mirror what the Long Beach Fire Museum Collection consists of, but also features many collections that have been in the Archives for many years. The section of the exhibit relating to automobiles features several wrecks involving Long Beach Fire Department vehicles. The aviation section deals with a good number of airplane crashes in Long Beach in the 1940s and 1950s. Other sections deal with the infamous Hancock Oil Refinery mega-explosion in 1958 in Signal Hill as well as early Long Beach oil derrick files during the 1920s and 1930s. Other sections include images on Long Beach commercial fires, Long Beach Fire Department fire prevention efforts and striking images from the 1940s and 1950s relating to fire inspection. Inspections often reveal extensive fire hazards or at least a good deal of hoarding.

Fire fighter after Los Cerritos oil fire 1928.

Fire fighter after Los Cerritos oil fire 1928.

Not only do the images in the exhibition document the courageous work of Long Beach firefighters but also allows insight into how commercial and domestic scenes can be viewed from the standpoint of the 21st century.

The Archives and Special Collections Department is on the fifth floor of the University Library South Wing. Archives hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

The exhibit is open to the public. Group tours as well as classroom visits to hear about the Archives and how students can use primary resources at CSU Dominguez Hills are welcome but are asked to be scheduled in advance. A finding aid or catalog of the Long Beach Fire Museum Collection can be found at: http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/kt0f59r6k1/.

For more information, contact the Archives and Special Collections Department at (310) 243-3895.

 

 

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