Exploring The Myth And History Of Island White In Long Beach

A photo of Island White at sunset, surrounded by the shimmering waters of Long Beach, showcasing different faces, hairstyles, and outfits.

Ever wondered about those strange islands that pepper the coast of Long Beach? These unique landmasses, known as the Astronaut Islands or THUMS Islands, are actually artificial constructs built in 1965 for oil drilling purposes.

This blog will take you on a journey through their rich history and discuss some of the myths surrounding Island White – perhaps one of the most captivating among them. Let’s dive into this intriguing tale of innovation, industry and urban folklore!

Key Takeaways

  • The THUMS Islands in Long Beach, California were artificial islands built for oil drilling purposes in 1965. They are named after fallen NASA astronauts.
  • Island White is one of the THUMS Islands and is located closest to the shore among them. It has played a significant role in Long Beach’s oil industry.
  • The THUMS Islands have had a positive impact on the economy of Long Beach, creating job opportunities and generating revenue. However, there are concerns about their environmental effects.

The History of THUMS Islands in Long Beach

A photo of an industrial landscape with the THUMS Islands in the background featuring a diverse range of people and bustling atmosphere.

The THUMS Islands in Long Beach were constructed with the purpose of oil drilling, sparking debate over the reserves beneath the coast.

Look At This: Thums Islands

Origin and purpose of construction

Aerial photograph showcasing the THUMS Islands surrounded by a sparkling ocean, featuring a variety of people and outfits.

In 1965, the THUMS Islands rose off the coast of Long Beach, CaliforniaVoters in Long Beach said “yes” to their build in 1962The plan was for a big oil operation on these islands.

An oil group named THUMS put up the money for them. They wanted the islands to look good and add beauty to the coast too.

Debate over oil reserves

A drilling rig stands silhouetted against a colorful sunset backdrop on THUMS Islands.

People in Long Beach have long talked about the oil under THUMS Islands. This is a big point of interest for them. Some think there’s still much oil left, while others don’t agree.

It’s a hot topic that stirs up many debates.

One expert from the city says around 90 percent of the oil field is gone. For over half a century, these islands have lived well with the people and state law. The remaining question is how much longer they can keep giving to Long Beach’s oil industry? The answer remains unclear as discussions continue.

The Islands of THUMS

A stunning sunset landscape photograph of The Islands of THUMS with colorful skies, reflections, and a bustling atmosphere.

The Islands of THUMS consist of Freeman Island, Grissom Island, White Island, and Chaffee Island.

A Tour of CRC’s THUMS Island White by Fourth-Grader Logan Stephens

Freeman Island

A vibrant photo showcasing lush tropical plants and colorful flowers on Freeman Island.Freeman Island is one of four made-up islands in Long Beach, California. People often call these the THUMS Islands or the Astronaut Islands. The name comes from four U.S. astronauts who died on a job: Grissom, White, Chaffee, and Freeman.

This island got named after astronaut Theodore Freeman. A group of oil companies made these islands to get oil from under the sea floor. Texaco and Humble (now known as Exxon) were two big names in that group.

They wanted the islands to look nice so people wouldn’t mind seeing them near their beach homes. So they hired Joseph Linesch, a man who knew how to make things pretty with plants and trees.

Grissom Island

A photo of Grissom Island's rocky shoreline surrounded by crashing waves, showcasing the beauty of nature and human activity.

Grissom Island is one of the THUMS Islands located in Long Beach, California. It is the westernmost island among the group. The island gets its name from NASA astronaut Col. Virgil “Gus” Grissom, who tragically lost his life during a mission.

Grissom Island is also the closest island to the shore among all the THUMS Islands. While there isn’t much information provided about this particular island in the article, it remains an important part of Long Beach’s history and adds to the unique character of the area.

White Island

A person stands on the edge of a crater with steam rising in the background in a bustling atmosphere.

White Island, also known as Whakaari, is an active volcanic island off the east coast of New Zealand. It has hot springs, geysers, and fumaroles which release steam and gases. In December 2019, there was a tragic eruption on White Island that took the lives of 22 people.

The island has deep roots in Maori mythology with different myths explaining how it formed. White Island is a natural island and not man-made like the THUMS Islands in Long Beach.

Chaffee Island

A stunning photo of a golden sunset over Chaffee Island, capturing the beauty of nature and a bustling atmosphere.

Chaffee Island is one of the four artificial islands located in San Pedro Bay, off the coast of Long Beach, California. It is part of a group known as the THUMS Islands, which were named after astronauts who tragically lost their lives in the line of duty.

Chaffee Island holds significant historical and mythical value, tied to its connection with Island White in Long Beach. Along with the other THUMS Islands, Chaffee Island plays a crucial role in supporting Long Beach’s oil industry.

The development of these islands was even influenced by a designer from Disneyland.

The Naming of the Islands

A panoramic aerial view of the THUMS Islands in Long Beach showcasing futuristic architecture and the surrounding ocean.

The names of the THUMS Islands were inspired by NASA astronauts. Intrigued? Keep reading to learn more about these fascinating islands in Long Beach.


Inspiration from NASA astronauts

A diverse group of people gazes in awe at the night sky in a bustling atmosphere.

The THUMS Islands in Long Beach have a unique and inspiring history. They were named after fallen NASA astronauts who died in training accidents. One of these islands is Island White, which was named after astronaut Ed White.

The naming of the islands after these American heroes adds a sense of inspiration and connection to space exploration. It’s a tribute to their sacrifice and legacy, reminding us of the bravery and dedication required for such endeavors.

By linking the islands with the names of these astronauts, it creates a lasting connection between Long Beach and the incredible achievements of those who have ventured into space.

Appearances in Popular Culture

A diverse group of friends enjoying a picnic on the THUMS Islands with a beautiful cityscape backdrop.

The THUMS Islands in Long Beach have made frequent appearances in popular culture, from being used as filming locations for movies and TV shows to inspiring artwork and music.

Use in film and TV

A group of actors in period costumes performing a scene from a historical film on the THUMS Islands in Long Beach, California.

The THUMS Islands in Long Beach, California have become popular locations for the film industry and television shows. These productions use the islands as backdrops to explore the cultural significance and historical context of Island White.

By featuring these iconic structures, they help preserve Long Beach’s cultural heritage while also promoting it to a wider audience. The appearances in film and TV reflect the symbolic value that the THUMS Islands hold in Long Beach’s history and myth.

They have become enduring symbols of Island White’s fascinating past.

Inspiration for art and music

The myth and history of Island White in Long Beach have served as a rich source of inspiration for both art and music. Artists have created visual representations that capture the allure and mystery surrounding the island, incorporating elements of mythology and history into their work.

Similarly, musicians have drawn upon the island’s storied past to create songs that evoke a sense of adventure and exploration. From bar bands playing popular cover songs to galleries showcasing visual arts influenced by Island White, the artistic expressions reflect both the cultural significance of Long Beach and the impact of these islands on popular culture.

The music scene in particular has been heavily influenced by artists like the Beach Boys, Dick Dale, Surfaris, and Ventures who have incorporated themes related to Long Beach’s islands into their music.

Myth vs. Reality

A photograph of a mythical creature in a mystical forest with various appearances and outfits.

There are several misconceptions about the THUMS Islands, but it’s important to separate myth from reality.

Misconceptions about the islands

There are some common misconceptions about the THUMS Islands in Long Beach that need to be cleared up. One misconception is that these islands were open to the public, but in reality, they were closed off and only accessible to those who worked there.

Another misconception is that these islands have ancient civilizations or supernatural tales associated with them, similar to Greek or Hawaiian islands. However, the truth is that these islands primarily served as offshore structures for oil drilling operations.

They don’t have any historic sites or cultural heritage like other famous island destinations. So it’s important to know the real purpose and function of these islands instead of relying on island folklore or myths when discussing them.

True purpose and function

The true purpose and function of the oil islands in Long Beach remain undisclosed to the general public. While there are myths and speculations surrounding these islands, the actual truth can only be accessed by those who work on them.

It is known that these islands serve a specific purpose related to oil production, but the exact details are not widely known or shared. This adds an air of mystery and intrigue to these man-made structures off the coast of Long Beach, leaving us with unanswered questions about their true purpose and function.

The Impact of THUMS Islands on Long Beach

An aerial photo of the THUMS Islands and oil rigs with the coastline of Long Beach.

The THUMS Islands have had a significant impact on Long Beach, both economically and environmentally.

Economic contributions

The THUMS Islands have made a big impact on the economy of Long Beach. When approved by voters in 1962, the oil drilling operations on these islands created job opportunities and generated revenue for the city.

This has helped to support economic growth and development in Long Beach, providing financial benefits to both individuals and businesses. The presence of the THUMS Islands has also contributed to industry development in the area, particularly in the oil industry.

Overall, their economic contributions have had a positive effect on the local economy of Long Beach, boosting employment opportunities and generating revenue for the city’s businesses and residents alike.

Environmental concerns

The impact of the THUMS Islands on Long Beach has raised some ecological worries. As the islands have contributed significantly to the city’s oil industry, there are concerns about the environmental effects of drilling and extraction activities.

The depletion of the oil reservoirs on these islands could potentially bring about changes in their future. However, due to insufficient data, it is challenging to determine the exact extent of these environmental issues.

Nonetheless, it is important for Long Beach to address and mitigate any potential negative impacts on its ecosystem caused by the presence of these islands.

Exploring Island White

A woman in a flowing dress stands on a rocky cliff overlooking the turquoise waters of Island White.

Discover the captivating history of Island White, from its origins to its current state as a must-visit destination in Long Beach.

History of Island White

Island White has an interesting history. It was one of the four THUMS Islands built in 1965 to access offshore oil reserves. These islands were named after astronauts who died while serving their country: Grissom, Chaffee, Freeman, and White.

Island White is located closest to the shore among these islands, situated west of Grissom and Chaffee. It holds significance not just for Long Beach but also for the petroleum industry.

Development of Island White

Island White, one of the four artificial islands in the THUMS Islands, was developed in 1965 as part of an effort to tap into the oil resources in San Pedro Bay off the coast of Long Beach, California.

Over the years, Island White has played a crucial role in oil extraction operations and has been a vital contributor to the local economy. It has undergone continuous development and upgrades to ensure its efficiency and sustainability.

Today, Island White stands as a testament to human ingenuity and engineering prowess in harnessing natural resources for productive use.

Current state of Island White

The current state of Island White is not stable. Recently, there was a volcanic eruption on the island, causing a lot of damage and danger. Volcanic activity like lava flows and volcanic ash have made the island unsafe for people to visit.

In fact, it’s been evacuated due to the ongoing seismic activity and volcanic hazards. The eruption has also led to concerns about the release of dangerous volcanic gases. It’s important to stay away from the island for your safety until further notice.

Visiting Island White

A diverse group of friends enjoying kayaking in a picturesque and vibrant natural setting.

Experience the breathtaking beauty and rich history of Island White in Long Beach. Discover how to get there, what activities await you, and immerse yourself in the enchanting allure of this coastal gem.

How to get to Island White

To get to Island White, you can take a tour boat that will bring you there. These tours are available for visitors who want to explore the THUMS Islands in Long Beach. You’ll need to find a boat that offers these tours and book your trip in advance.

Once on board, the boat will take you out into the water, navigating around Catalina Island until it reaches Island White. It’s important to note that the boat needs enough wind after motoring out of the lee side of Catalina in order to sail smoothly.

So sit back, enjoy the ride, and get ready to discover the history and beauty of Island White!

Things to do on Island White

When visiting Island White, there are plenty of things to do that will make your trip memorable. Take the time to explore the beautiful scenery and enjoy the tropical paradise that surrounds you.

Admire the majestic waterfalls as they cascade down into the ocean, creating a mesmerizing sight. Don’t forget to take in the stunning ocean views from various vantage points on the island.

As you wander around, appreciate not only the natural beauty but also learn about its historical significance and Long Beach’s development. Island White offers a unique landscape where palm trees coexist with oil derricks, providing an interesting contrast for nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike.


A close-up photo of seashells and driftwood on a sandy beach, capturing the beauty of nature.

In conclusion, exploring the myth and history of Island White in Long Beach takes us on a journey through the fascinating world of the THUMS Islands. These oil digging islands hold a unique place in California’s coastal history, with their tropical island aesthetics and contributions to the local economy.

While often overlooked, they are an important part of Long Beach’s identity and deserve recognition for their cultural significance. So next time you visit Long Beach, don’t forget to take a moment to appreciate the hidden gem that is Island White.


1. What is Island White in Long Beach?

Island White in Long Beach refers to a mythical creature or ghostly figure that is said to haunt the island and surrounding areas.

2. Is there any historical evidence of Island White’s existence?

No, there is no historical evidence of the existence of Island White. It is mainly a part of local folklore and legends.

3. Where can I find information about the history of Long Beach?

You can find information about the history of Long Beach by visiting local museums, libraries, or online resources dedicated to preserving and sharing the city’s history.

4. Are there any stories or myths associated with Island White?

Yes, there are various stories and myths associated with Island White, including tales of its appearance at night on the beach or sightings near specific landmarks on the island.

5. Can I visit Long Beach to explore the myth and history related to Island White?

Yes, you can visit Long Beach to explore its rich history and learn more about legends such as Island White through guided tours or self-guided exploration using available resources like maps and informational brochures.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *