As oil prices seesawed, Summers set up a suite of offices in the new I.W. Hellman Building at 4th and Spring streets, on "the Wall Street of the West," where she distributed petroleum products without taking in any other investors.
Her penetrating eye for detail was accompanied by intelligence and patience, as she bought out busted operators on the cheap and waited as the city clamped down on the industry with tougher regulations, sending oil prices rising anew.
Summers' bank account swelled as the result of the Allies' enormous need for petroleum during World War I and the constantly upward spiral in automobile ownership. Her empire soon expanded to include theaters, apartment houses, a Wilshire Boulevard mansion, several San Fernando Valley ranches, including Casa Verdugo, the Summers Paint Co. and a highly envied art collection.
When Crown Hill's gushers finally turned to trickles, the working families there packed up their portable homes and moved on to the next oil strikes in Santa Fe Springs, Long Beach, Torrance, Inglewood and Wilmington.