Huntington Beach incorporated on February 17, 1909 under its first mayor, Ed Manning. Its original developer was the Huntington Beach Company (formerly the West Coast Land and Water Company), a real-estate development firm owned by Henry Huntington. The Huntington Beach Company is still a major land-owner in the city, and still owns most of the local mineral rights.
An interesting hiccup in the settlement of the district occurred when an encyclopedia company gave away free parcels of land, with the purchase of a whole set for $126, in the Huntington Beach area that it had acquired cheaply. The lucky buyers got more than they had bargained for when oil was discovered in the area, and enormous development of the oil reserves followed. Though many of the old wells are empty, and the price of land for housing has pushed many of the rigs off the landscape, oil pumps can still be found to dot the city.
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