|Introduction||Historical Background||Chronology||Geography||Biography||Technology||Ownership and Financing||General Bibliography|
Los Angeles was incorporated as a city in 1850.
The first water works were zanjas built by the Spanish in 1781 and included the Zanja Madre. These distributed water in open ditches for irrigation and domestic use, and later to drive water wheels for power. These were maintained and improved by the city of Los Angeles, which established a department to manage the zanjas in 1854 and placed them under the charge of a water overseer. In March, 1856 the city contracted with Messrs. Kintz & Dunlap, to bring the water into the city, but it is unclear what they built.. Some zanjas were enclosed in brick in the 1870s and 1880s, but were finally abandoned in 1904 as the city's real estate boom reduced the need for agricultural irrigation, but some have been repurposed as storm water drains..
William G. Dryden and
the Los Angeles Water Works Company.
The first proposal for a water works system was submitted by William G. Dryden in 1853, but it was rejected by the Common Council. He tried again in 1857, and in February was granted a right of way "to convey all and any water that may rise or can be collected upon his lands, in the northern part of this city of Los Angeles; over, under and through the streets, lanes, alleys and roads of the city of Los Angeles. Provided, however, that nothing in this grant shall in any manner interfere with the vested rights of any one." He was also allowed "to erect and place upon the main zanja of this city, a water wheel, to raise water by machinery to supply this city with water. Provided, however, that the free course of the water in said zanja, shall in no manner be obstructed thereby." The Dryden, or Abila Springs, was located at what is now 924 North Spring Street on land formerly owned by Antonio Ignacio Abila.
The Common Council in December, 1857, granted Dryden the right to built a reservoir in the city's main plaza or Public Square. He, local surveyor Henry Hancock, and Francisco Pliny Fisk Temple organized the Los Angeles Water Works Company in December, 1858 with a capital stock of $10,000, but the first meeting of the stockholders was not held until March, 1860. In December, 1858, the Los Angeles Star reported that "The work is already more than half completed. The water wheel and pump will shortly be put in their position." The wheel did not arrive until February of the following year, which it was in the hands of Goller & Tomlinson, a local freighting firm.
The Star reported in April, 1860 that company planned to increase its capital stock from ten to twenty thousand dollars, "in order to procure the quantity of iron pipe necessary to conduct the water generally over the city." The paper further reported that "The work is in an advanced state; improvements have been made, whereby an increased head of water will be secured, and consequently a corresponding increase of power. The wheel and forebay. together with the sluice, are completed ; the borders of the canal are being raised to the required height. The double force pump, made at Stone & Britton's iron foundry, in this city, is a complete piece of machinery – seven inch cylinder, three feet stroke, throwing a continuous stream of four inches in diameter. The reservoir at the wheel for holding the water to be pumped up, is 40 by 24 feet, five feet depth. Six hundred feet of pipe are now on the ground, furnished by Peter Donahue, San Francisco. In a few days, this pipe will be laid down." In August or September of 1861 Dryden requested that the Council decide upon the location of the reservoir, which they did. He likely completed the reservoir by March, 1861, when he petitioned the council "to place a ram on the Sanja in order to direct sufficient amounts of water to the reservoir he constructed," which was also approved. The ram was to be located "in front of the property of Juana Sepulveda to north of the property of Vicente Lugo," which is located adjacent to the plaza as shown on the 1873 map of the old city, and would have been about where Dryden moved his water wheel. Shortly thereafter Dryden petitioned the Council "to redirect the Branch Canal from the Main Sanja to improve water power, which was also granted. A September 4, 1862 survey of a parcel between Alameda and Main Streets shows Dryden's "aquaduct" passing through the property, adjacent to the main zanja, and a early photograph shows Dryden's brick reservoir in the plaza. On June 3, 1861, the Council received a petition from Dryden "proposing that the city lend credit to the Los Angeles Water Works to order to complete improvements to the city water system," which was declined.
|William G. Dryden's reservoir in the center of the Plaza, built late 1860 or early 1861.||Los Angeles Star, April 23, 1864, Page 2.|
Thomas Brooks' 1938 Notes on Los Angeles Water Supply was the first to state that Dryden's water wheel was washed out in the floods of late 1861, which has been repeated in later histories. Blake Gumprecht's 1999 The Los Angeles River: Its Life, Death, and Possible Rebirth goes further, stating that Dryden's system failed by August of 1862. No evidence has been found that Dryden's wheel or system was damaged in this flood, and the Los Angeles Water Works company remained active until it was sold in 1869.
Although no contemporary accounts definitely state when the company started distributing water, an 1887 history states that "From this reservoir on the Plaza, water was distributed through some of the streets and furnished several houses." Harris Newmark's 1926 memoir states that "The Dryden, formerly known as the Abila Springs and later the source of the Beaudry supply, were near the site selected for the San Fernando Street Railway Station; and from these springs water was conveyed by a zanja to the Plaza. There, in the center, a brick tank, perhaps ten feet square and fifteen feet high, was constructed; and this was filled by means of pumps, while from the tank wooden pipes distributed water to the consumer." Boyle Workman's 1936 memoir also states that "wooden pipes were laid to the homes of consumers." The pipes provided by Peter Donahue's Union Iron Works in San Francisco were iron and possibly cast iron, which he used in his San Francisco and Sacramento gas systems and may have been used to expand Dryden's system or replace wooden conduits. Workman's memoir also states that Dryden also "had the right to place the first water wheel in the Zanja Madre, which was to raise the water to another zanja that carried it to the first force pump in the pueblo, located at the base of a brick reservoir, about 15 by 30 feet." The "double force pump" built by Stone & Britton was almost certainly driven by the water wheel in the Zanja Madre, but the use of the hydraulic ram is uncertain. Dryden's water wheel was initially located at the springs that he owned, but he sold the land in 1863 and around that time the water wheel was apparently moved to the corner of Alameda and Marchessault street (now about 815 North Alameda Street) as shown on this annotated 1868 map of the Zanja Madre. This was later the site of the Los Angeles City Water Company's office building, which on a 1921 map is identified as the city's water meter department. It is unclear if Dryden also sold the springs or the rights to use the water, which were later used in Prudent Beaudry's 1872 water work that supplied his hill properties.
The Los Angeles Water Works Company held a Grand Ball at the Acadia Block on April 26, 1864, but it only raised twenty dollars after expenses were paid. On September 3, 1864, the Star reported that "This company is pushing ahead its works. The reservoir is on the plaza, and the water is to be distributed in iron pipes. It is spring water, raised by a powerful pump, of such capacity that three hours work each day will supply abundant water for city purposes. The Company has lately been augmented, and is acting with vigor and energy." Two days later the Council requested that "the President of Board appoint a committee to confer with W.G. Dryden respecting his rights to build a Reservoir on the Plaza." The committed made their report on the 22nd, which was accepted. That same month, company secretary J.W.B. Davis notified stockholders John Rowland, F.P.F. Temple, Daniel Scheik, Juan Matlas Sanchez, and Henry Hancock that their assessments were delinquent.
In February, 1865, the city leased its water works to David Alexander, who transferred it to Jean Louis Sainservain in August. Shortly after that, Sainsevain complained to the Council that the Los Angeles Water Works Company was distributing water from the zanja rather than from the springs that Dryden owned. A report was presented by the Water Committee on November 22nd and accepted by the Council, but it is not known what the outcome was.
At some point before the end of 1867, Patrick McFadden and Juan Bernado gained control of the company from Dryden. On December 28 of that year, the Mayor informed the Council the city dam had been washed away by the recent heavy rains, which rendered the city's water works inoperable. Two days later the Council received proposals from N.J. Colman and McFadden to lease the water works, and the following month another proposal was received from John Strother Griffin, Prudent Beaudry and Solomon Lazard to lease the water works for 30 years. The city had previously leased the works to Sainsevain, and had engaged him to repair the water works and move the wheel to location less subject to flooding. The Council decided to consider other proposals and appointed a committee to report on them. Their early February report was critical of McFadden's proposal and generally favorable to the one by Griffin and his associates, and in the meantime Griffin and his associates had bought out Sainsevain's lease, eliminating a significant obstacle to the city's decision. McFadden must have appreciated his situation with the Council, as he engaged state senator William A. Conn to introduce a bill in the legislature on February 19th entitled "An Act to authorize the Los Angeles Water Works Company to lay down water pipes in the public streets of the City of Los Angeles, to ratify and approve certain ordinances and acts of the corporate authorities of the City of Los Angeles in relation thereto; to ratify and approve the incorporation of the Los Angeles Water Works Company, and to define and confirm the rights and privileges of said company." This bill was debated and passed in the Senate on February 26th and on March 2d the Council and Mayor passed a "Resolution to the Legislature now in Session requested to pass no law confirming any pretended contract for furnishing water." The California Assembly passed the bill on March 9th, but Governor Henry Haight vetoed it on March 14th, stating in his veto message that "Since the passage of this bill I have received a protest from the Mayor and City Council of Los Angeles setting forth, in substance, that this bill, if passed, would inflict a wrong upon the corporation, and would virtually confiscate fifty thousand dollars expended by the city authorities in the construction of water works; that the bill violates the rights and franchises of the municipality, and would diminish its revenue for the benefit of a few individuals interested in the company. I learn, also, from the gentlemen who advocated the bill, that they were acting under a misapprehension of facts and would not, as at present advised, favor its passage. Having no reason to doubt the correctness of the representations made by the city authorities, I return the bill without my approval." The Senate thereupon unanimously sustained the veto, but it is likely that this incident did not improve McFadden's standing with the Council, and they later awarded a contract to Griffin's group, but before that was finalized McFadden's partner Juan Bernado petitioned the Council to provide a 400 feet square parcel of land for a reservoir on Fort Hill, in return for which the brick reservoir on the plaza would be removed. The Council agreed to grant a parcel of 200 feet square on July 27th, but no evidence has been found the reservoir was actually built. Griffin's group incorporated the Los Angeles City Water Company on August 16th to operate the city's water works for thirty years, and in December, 1869 this company bought the works and franchise of the Los Angeles Water Works company, giving them a complete monopoly. On June 23, 1870, the Council repealed the ordinance "granting the privilege to W. G. Dryden or his assigns to erect a reservoir on the Public Plaza," and on December 2nd signed an agreement with the new company to remove the reservoir from the plaza.
The City's Water Works
and the Los Angeles City Water Works Company.
In March of 1859, after granting the franchise to Dryden, the City studied the potential of borrowing $200,000 to build its own water works for irrigation and domestic use. The legislature passed a law April 11th authorizing the borrowing "for the purpose of municipal improvements, either of irrigation, or for furnishing water for domestic purposes, and lighting the City, and for any other purpose that may result to the benefit of the City, and belong to the legitimate municipal powers of the corporation." The City formed a committee headed by civil engineer George W. Gift, but nothing appears to have been done. The project was revived around June, 1861, when William H. Leighton was engaged to report on the introduction of water into the city using a wheel. The project was approved, subject to raising $4,000 by subscriptions from local residents. A request for proposals was advertised, and Perry & Woodworth were hired to construct the new wheel. Heavy rains that winter washed out the embankments, delaying the work. The city asked the Legislature to authorize borrowing $25,000, and on February 19, 1862 a law was passed allowing the city to spent up to $25,000 "for irrigation or furnishing water for domestic purposes." Jean Louis Sainsevain was engaged to finish the work, which proceeded slowly. Articles in the Los Angeles Star in March and April of 1863 provided a detailed description of the new dam and water wheel forty feet in diameter, with "bucket adjunctions" to lift the water into a flume to fill a reservoir built north of the Roman Catholic cemetery. A picture of the wheel and flume is shown below, along with a diagram of how the buckets attached to the wheel raised water into the flume.
|Undershot water wheel built for the City of Los Angeles in 1861 by the local firm of Perry & Woodworth. This wheel was 42 feet in diameter with 32 buckets on each side to lift water into the elevated flume, from which it was delivered to the reservoir north of the old Catholic cemetery. The dam in the Los Angeles river was carried away in the freshet of January 1862 but was rebuilt. Another freshet in December 1867 destroyed the dam again, at which time the city paid Jean Louis Sansevain to move the wheel downstream across from the Catholic cemetery.||Rendering of similar water wheel showing buckets emptying into elevated trough.|
In August, 1863, the city advertised for "15,000 feet of wooden pipes" to distribute the water. The Council specified "7,000 feet with 11 inches outside diameter and six inch bore; 8,000 feet with 9 inches outside diameter and 4 inch bore; the ends of all the pipes to have socket joints, to pass one inside of the other the distance of from four (4) to six (6) inches, according to the mode of manufacture of Wyckoffs Boring Machine; the pipes to be put together with white lead, and strengthened at every joint with an iron band 2 inches wide and one quarter of an inch thick." Sainsevain received the contract to lay the pipe, which were supplied by a "Mr. Huston of San Bernadino," who may have also been responsible for the boring, which was done with a Wyckoff boring machine. The requirement for a six-inch bore in an eleven-inch diameter pipe left little room for error. Pipes made by Wyckoff in their factory was reinforced by external iron banding, but there is no evidence that this was employed in the pipes that Sainsevain installed. The resulting pipe was prone to burst under pressure, which it did quite often to the annoyance of all concerned. Pipe installation began in February, 1864 and water was being delivered at some customers by late summer or early fall. Sainsevain's partner was Mayor Damien Marchesseault, who committed suicide in January, 1868 over financial difficulties which some have blamed on the failed wooden water pipes, but his suicide note does not mention that.
The city concluded that
managing the works was beyond their capability, and leased the system to
David Alexander in February, 1865. He turned the lease over to
Sainsevain in July, and the city contracted with him to install 5,000 feet
of iron pipe in November, 1867. The new dam was swept away by
flooding in December, and the city engaged Sainsevain to move the wheel to
another location on the Zanja Madre (see the City's November 1868 Official
Map No. 4 (below) for the old and new locations. At this time
the Council received other proposals to lease the works (as described
above), and after some deliberations decided to sell them to the Griffin
group. An ordinance to this effect was passed in June, 1868, but was
vetoed by Mayor
Christobal Aguilar. Another ordinance was passed in July
leasing the works to them for a period of thirty years, which the Mayor
H. Perry (who had built the 1861 water wheel) became president of
the company in 1879, and he hired William
Mulholland, who would be involved with the works for many
The company's thirty-year
lease expired in 1898, and the city attempted to seize the company without
any payment for using too much water from the river. The company
filed suit against the city and prevailed as the case worked its way up to
the U.S. Supreme Court. The city and company hired assessors who set
the value at $2 million, which city voters approved.
On Feb. 3, 1902, the city formally took ownership of the Los Angeles municipal water works system. In 1930 the city built the Owens River Aqueduct, which delivers water to the city.
Water is provided by the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which has a history page.
1853 Proposal by W. G. Dryden to construct a water system for Los Angeles, May 23, 1853, (LACA B-1367 5:201-205)
Council Meeting, May 23, 1853.
A proposition of Mr. Wm. Dryden was read, offering to improve the distribution and control of the water supply, which was admitted and referred to the Supply Committee.
Project," Los Angeles Star, May 28, 1853, Page 2.
At a meeting of the Common Council held last Monday evening, a proposition was handed in by Wm. G. Dryden, Esq, to introduce water from the river through the western section of the city, and thence to the unoccupied lands immediately below, by means of a new zanja or iron pipes, for a specified consideration. – Mr D. proposes to complete the undertaking in five years, and at the end of twenty years the whole work to become the property of the city. He requires, as compensation, two square leagues of land adjoining the northern corporation limits, and privileges to make bridges, cross roads, private lands, &c. The water during the twenty years to be under his control, but free to every person who will pay for using it. The proposition was referred to a committee who will probably make a report at the next meeting of the Council.
Although we presume the citizens of this place are of one mind in regard to the benefits likely to result from the introduction of a stream of water through the western part of city, the great convenience it would be to the dwellers within the said district, and the necessity which exists for its immediate consummation, yet we are sure they will never uphold the Council in acceding to a proposition such as is made by Mr Dryden. We want the water, to be sure, but we cannot afford to give ourselves entirely away for it. We decline discussing the subject until the committee appointed by the Council shall have reported, and we should not have mentioned it all at this time, were it not that some "citizens" are endeavoring to favor Mr D.'s proposal in a communication in today's paper.
Los Angeles Star, May 28, 1853, Page 2.
We understand that a proposition has been made to the Hon. Common Council of this city, having for its object an improvement in the manner of supplying the city with water from Los Angeles river, and likewise to convey the same over the vacant and unoccupied lands Southwest of the city. We have been waiting a long time to see some action taken by the city authorities or individual enterprise for the advancement and development of the natural resources of the city. It seems that the time has arrived by a natural process, when improvement and advancement, if protected by a liberal policy, will make their presence useful and agreeable to the community. We are aware that it has been the desire for many years to make the water privileges of the corporation useful, and to bring under cultivation the dry and vacant lands of the city. From the magnitude of the undertaking, and perhaps the limited means of the Treasury, the corporate authorities have not attempted the initiative; and on the part of individuals we have heard ot but one demonstration, and that about two years ago. – Again this important subject has been put in motion, stimulated no doubt by the natural enterprise of the day, and the co-operation of the newly elected Common Council, from whose determination we may securely promise ourselves much benefit.
We, as well as every other citizen, know that there is a large body of land Southwest of the city, which, at the present time, is neither productive to the corporation nor to the individual citizen, but should the water be carried over the same then a new era begins; agriculture with its universal advantages will rise up in our midst, leaving to the most industrious their ample rewards. We would, then, under the present circumstances respectfully suggest that the corporate body of the city should carry out the most feasible plan for rendering all its natural resources available. And should the corporation not feel itself warranted in levying upon the citizens so heavy a charge for the completion of an undertaking of this magnitude, we feel confident that the Hon. Common Council, will, when in their power, promote every lasting improvement. If we have been rightly informed, the proposition now before that Hon. body relative to the better conveyance and distribution of the water around or thro the city, will receive dry and vacant land at, a high value in consideration of the execution of the promoted undertaking, all the charges and expenses to be incurred by the undertaker; all of which improvements required in the completion of the work, after a certain time to invest in the corporation. By the admission of such a proposition we have much to expect. The corporation will be able, out of that which is now unproductive, but rather a charge upon the city, to make a lasting improvement, the extent of which can only have as a terminus the rancho of Thomas Sanchez If those dry vacant plains can be made productive and of general utility, we feel confident that every active citizen will recommend the measure; and the common Council are so well informed of what would be of general usefulness that any further allusion would be presumptuous. A NUMBER OF CITIZENS.
1853 Report by Supply Committee on W.G. Dryden proposal for water system, June 10, 1853, (LACA B-1367 5:215-218)
Council Meeting, June 21, 1853.
The Supply Committee reported on the petition of Mr. William Dryden relating to the water supply, which report concludes with the following proposition: That the petition of Mr. Dryden asking to be granted an exclusive privilege for the term of twenty years to convey and distribute the water of the River and to put the City under contribution of its use, besides being given two square leagues of land in compensation of the cost, be rejected in all its parts, which was resolved accordingly.
1855 Common Council Meeting, August 14, 1855. Council approves purchase of house and lot belonging to William G. Dryden to allow opening of new street from Main street to new brick schoolhouse. [Located at 145 S Spring St, Los Angeles]
1855 Common Council Meeting, October 9, 1855. Council approves terms to pay William G. Dryden $1,000 owed for purchase of house and lot at three percent per month.
Water," Los Angeles Star, March 15, 1856, Page 2.
The project of bringing the water from the river along the base of the hills on the north and west of the city has been agitated from time to time for the past six years, and up to the present time has, after being discussed by the City Fathers, reported upon by special committees, and surveyed by incompetent men at exorbitant prices, fisseled out, and dried up. There is now proposals offered for constructing a water canal by a competent engineer, which has received the favorable consideration of the City Council at an estimate of the cost of construction, at about one half the amount deemed necessary heretofore to complete the 1 work. The proposals, if approved, will entail no i debt on the city, as the work will be constructed by private individuals, with certain grants and privileges conceded them as a remuneration. We think the proposals so favorable, that wc have no hesitancy in saying, that if they had been offered last season, they would have been readily accepted, and the work now in successful operation.
and Pound-foolish," Los Angeles Star, March 22, 1856, Page .
One of the most important ordinances that has ever passed the City Council and been approved, is the one contracting with Messrs. Kintz & Dunlap, for bringing the water into the city. It is an ordinance that directly interests three-fourths of our citizens, and should have been published in both the English and Spanish prints, that all might have become acquainted with its provisions – its grants and reservations.
Contractors," Los Angeles Star, March 29, 1856, Page 2.
Messrs. Kintz & Dunlap, for bringing the water into the city, commenced operations on Monday last, and have already obtained tho grade as far as the Catholic Cemetery. This improvement will increase the value of real estate in the south-west section of the city, and in a few years we shall have fine vineyards and residences where now there is nothing but a barren waste. During the summer we shall have water in abundance, and this portion of the city, that cow appears so sterile and inhospitable, will become the most desirable locations for building and agriculture.
1856 Common Council Meeting, October 5 or 9 1856. Ordinance authorizing the issuance of a deed to W.G. Dryden for a 35 acre lot. See also: Inventory of the Solano-Reeve Papers, 1849-c.1910. Folder 329. Lot ceded... W.G. Dryden, Dec. 29th 1856 [lot 3 Block 26 Hancock's Survey] [1856?]
1857 Common Council Meeting, February 24, 1857. An ordinance granting water privileges to William G. Dryden.
Angeles Water Works," Los Angeles Star, February 28, 1857,
Our readers will be pleased to learn the prompt action taken by the city authorities, upon the petition of Hon. Wm. G. Dryden, praying a certain water privilege from the Corporation of the city lof Los Angeles. The petitioner, being the owner of lands in the upper and northern part of the city, upon which are large springs of lasting water, the idea suggested itself of collecting this water, and if possible, by a force pump, to raise the water thus collected to a sufficient height to supply the city generally with pure drinking water. Thus originated the petition, which we annex, together with the ordinance founded thereon:
"Whereas, Wm. G. Dryden, having petitioned the Common Council of the city of Los Angeles, for the right of way, to carry all and any water that he may have on his lands in the northern portion of this city — over, under and through the streets, lands, alleys and roads within the corporate limits of this city; and, whereas, a special committee have examined said lands and water and recommend that said grant of the right of way to convey water as aforesaid, should be made;– and the Council, after considering the same in session of 23d day of February, A. D. 1857, thereafter approved the same; and, resolved, that an ordinance should be made in conformity therewith, as follows:
An ordinance, granting the right of way to Wm. G. Dryden, to convey water over the lands of the corporation of the city of Los Angeles.
The Mayor and Common Council of the city of Los Angeles, do ordain as follows: –
Sec. 1st, That the right of way is hereby granted to William G. Dryden, his heirs and assignees, to convey all and any water that may rise or can be collected upon his lands, in the northern part of this city of Los Angeles; over, under and through the streets, lanes, alleys and roads of the city of Los Angeles. Provided, however, that nothing in this grant shall in any manner interfere with the vested rights of any one.
Sec 2d. That the further right and privilege, is hereby granted to William G. Dryden, his heirs and assignees, to erect and place upon the main zanja of this city, a water wheel, to raise water by machinery to supply this city with water. Provided, however, that the free course of the water in said zanja, shall in no manner be obstructed thereby.
Manuel Requena, Pres. Common Council
Approved, this 24th day of Feb., A. D. 1857. John G. Nichols, Mayor.
I certify that the foregoing is a true copy of the original ordinance, now on file in the office under my charge, as clerk of the Common Council. W. G. Dryden, Clerk.
1857 Common Council Meeting, March 16, 1857. An ordinance producing Main and Alameda streets, March 20, 1857. Swapped land with William G. Dryden to allow connection of Main and Alameda streets, and to relocate the zanja currently running in Alameda.
1857 Petition of William Dryden to City Council to Ask the State of California to make his water company a sole corporation. April 6, 1857, (LACA B-1367 5:248)
1857 Common Council Meeting, December 8, 1857. Ordinance granting to William G. Dryden the right and privilege to build and construct in the center of the Public Square of the City of Los Angeles, a Reservoir for the object of obtaining Water for a general supply when the Water Courses shall be dry.
1857 Map of the city of Los Angeles showing the confirmed limits surveyed in August 1857 by Henry Hancock | Also here | And here |
1858 "The Deepest Well in the World," Southern Vineyard, April 24, 1858, Page 3.
1858 Petition of William G. Dryden for the determination of a line of water from the Main canal to his land, May 31, 1858. Page 305-306. Map included on Page 307. Committee response to the petition N.d. Page 308. (LACA B-1367 5:305-308)
1858 Petition of Benjamin S. Eaton for the construction of a water pipe and reservoir. May 26, 1858, Response of the Committee opposing the petition. July 5th 1858, [See his 1909 obituary below that credits him with being the first to introduce water into Los Angeles.]
Council Proceedings," Los Angeles Star, June 12, 1858, Page
Petition of Benj. S. Eaton, praying tho privilege of taking from the main zanja. near McLaughlin's mill, a column of water two inches in diameter, carry the same through the streets of Los Angeles and deposit the same in a reservoir, thirty or forty feet above the level of Main street, offering an a consideration to supply water gratis in case of fire.
1858 "Water," Southern Vineyard, June 26, 1858, Page 2.
Vineyard, July 17, 1858, Page 2.
Ordered, that the Water Committee and the Mayor visit the new aqueduct in the vicinity of Sansevain Brothers, and report respecting complaints concerning the same.
Southern Vineyard, July 31, 1858, Page 2.
Petitions have been presented to the Common Council by citizens, soliciting permission to take water from the public zanja by wheels and hydraulic rams, for domestic purposes.
1858 "Earthen Water Pipe," Southern Vineyard, August 28, 1858, Page 4.
Water Project," Los Angeles Star, October 23, 1858, Page 2.
We have not heard whether any steps have been taken, during the week, to organize a company to introduce water, for domestic use, into the streets of our city. The plan is feasible, and at no great cost either: Estimates for the pipe, ram, &c., were obtained from San Francisco, but we believe they were not as explicit as was expected. However, we hope the project will be prosecuted to a successful issue.
1858 "Water," Southern Vineyard, October 30, 1858, Page 2.
Works," Los Angeles Star, November 20, 1858, Page 2.
The proposition to bring pure water into the city, has not been abandoned, but is almost certain of being carried into effect. A few of our citizens, it is expected, will furnish the required capital, and thus it is more likely to be brought to a satisfactory result, than if engaged in by a large company. No special privileges are required from the city; all that will be wanted is merely the right of way to lay the pipes in the streets.
Angeles Water Works Company," Los Angeles Star, December 25,
1858, Page 2.
We are glad to be able to state that there is now a certainty of soon having a supply of pure water coursing through pipes in our streets. The above company has been incorporated, with a capital of $10,000, and all the shares have been taken, except five. These will be disposed of in halves and quarters. The work is already more than half completed. The water wheel and pump will shortly be put in their position, and when their capacity has been ascertained, a suitable size of pipe will immediately be provided. The following gentlemen have been appointed a committee by the act of incorporation — Judge Dryden; H. Hancock, and F.P.F. Temple, Esqrs. Books for subscription for the additional shares, are open at the company's office, Bella Union Hotel and Montgomery saloon.
Daily Union, December 30, 1858, Page 2.
Articles of incorporation have been filed in the office of the Secretary of State by the Los Angeles Water Works Company.
Los Angeles Water Works.- The capital stock of the Los Angeles Water Works Company is $10,000, and it is divided into twenty share of $500 each, fifteen of which have already been taken. The water is to be brought into the city from springs that rise on lands in the vicinity
Plaza," Los Angeles Star, January 22, 1859, Page 2.
The improvement of the Plaza has already commenced. The Committee appointed by the Council have been prompt in their action. A fence is to be erected, and the enclosure planted, the water to be obtained from the zanja by a large sized hydraulic ram. There are to be eight openings for ingress and egress. The Streets fronting the Plaza are eighty feet broad. The plan is simple and inexpensive. We would have preferred something more permanent, say an iron railing on a stone foundation, but this probably would have been too costly.
1859 "Aqueduct Pipes," Southern Vineyard, February 11, 1859, Page 2.
Angeles Water Works Company," Southern Vineyard, February
25, 1859, Page 2.
The shaft and all the cast-iron work of the water wheel for the construction of the city water-works came down in the Santa Cruz to the care of Goller & Tomlinson, and will be in town to-day. The mechanics will proceed immediately to the construction of the machinery and works. The cost of the casting in San Francisco was $469.
Water Works," Los Angeles Star, February 26, 1859, Page 2.
We are glad to know that the machinery for the above works has arrived here. Judge Dryden is the Trustee of this Company, and its object is to furnish the citizens with pure spring water, for domestic purposes.
The Council have granted the Company permission to erect a wheel, to be driven by the water of the main zanja, which is to be the motive power for pumping the water out of the reservoir, where it will be collected from the springs. From this point, the water will be distributed by pipes, permission to lay which has been granted by the city.
1859 In March, 1859, the Common Council of Los Angeles contemplated raising on the credit of the city two hundred thousand dollars, at twelve per cent, for twenty years to be used in bringing water from the Los Angeles river onto the plains south-west of the town, so as to bring them under cultivation. There was considerable opposition, but we find that in June following the Legislature authorized the borrowing of a sum not exceeding two hundred thousand dollars, to be used for the purpose of bringing water to the city for domestic purposes and irrigation, for lighting the city, etc. The committee selected to inquire to the best mode of bringing the water into the city, and perfecting a system of water appointed Geo. W. Gift as Secretary and Civil Engineer, to oversee the work. [Cited in 1899 Wilson reference below]
Vineyard, April 8, 1859, Page 2.
The new building of the Bella Union Hotel is not without attractions. A steam boiler furnishes water and steam, which are conducted by pipes to every required part of the pantry and kitchen.
1859 An act to authorize the Mayor and Common Council of the City of Los Angeles to Contract a Loan for Irrigating, and other purposes. April 11, 1859. Authorized to borrow up to $200,000 for the purpose of municipal improvements, either of irrigation, or for furnishing water for domestic purposes, and lighting the City, and for any other purpose that may result to the benefit of the City, and belong to the legitimate municipal powers of the corporation.
Southern Vineyard, June 28, 1859, Page 2.
The Legislature at its last session passed an act authorizing the borrowing by the city of a sum not exceeding $200,000, to be used for the purpose of bringing water into the city for domestic purposes, &c., &c.
The principal object to be accomplished is, we believe, the introduction of water into the city proper, and the vineyards, orchards and fields, in a greater economy both of water and current expenses. The Common Council on Monday, the 20th inst., appointed a committee to inquire into the best mode of bringing water into the city. The members of the committee are, Messrs. Stearns, Temple, Wolfskill, Porter, Griffin and the Mayor. On Saturday last, the committee held their first meeting, and appointed Mr. George W. Gift secretary and civil engineer.
The engineer has been instructed to examine the bed of the river above the present dam, in view of erecting a permanent dam which will both contain a greater quantity of water and give a greater elevation to the source from which the canals will be supplied. In the examination, the elevation at which water can be brought into the city proper, for street and domestic purposes, will be embraced.
We shall wait with some anxiety for the report of this committee.
Project," Los Angeles Star, July 23, 1859, Page 2.
The topic most important to the people of this city is the project for the introduction of water for domestic use and for irrigation. This subject has been under the consideration of the Common Council for some time, but nothing has yet been decided upon. A survey having been ordered, it has been made, and the report and necessary maps and drawings submitted to the Council. The question was to determine the best mode of introducing water into the city for the supply of families and for husbanding the same for irrigation. The survey was committed to the professional skill of Messrs. W. M. Johnson, U.S.C.S., and G.W. Gift. It has therefore been accomplished in the very best Style. These gentlemen suggest three plans, either of which will be serviceable and a great improvement on the present system, the very worst that could exist.
The first is to tap the river at a point high enough to supply a reservoir on Eaton's hill; the second, to bring the water to a reservoir a few feet above the roof of the Bella Union Hotel; the third to bring it in a large zanja back of the houses on Main and Spring streets, and so out on the plains.
This report was under the consideration of the committee, and during its discussion another project was suggested – to survey a line of canal from Felis' Rancho, about seven miles from the city, to a large reservoir in the rear of the city, including the excavations, tunnel, &c – with an estimate of the probable expense. The question has not yet been decided whether this survey shall be made. We recommend it strongly to the consideration of the Council, for we are satisfied that whatever half-way measure may be adopted, the requirements of the public will yet compel the construction of this work. It is a matter of economy, therefore, in any project of this kind to have it well done, when it is done.
The opinion of the professional gentlemen who have been employed on the survey is strongly in favor of this latter project as a substantial, permanent, and economical work.
Vineyard, July 26, 1859, Page 2.
The Water Committee are still engaged in the preliminary examination. After an examination of the route of the great reservoir, yesterday, they held a meeting, and resolved to send the engineers to make a survey of the line.
1859 C.E. Thom petition to allow him to conduct water from the zanja by pipes using a water wheel and tank (LACA B-0097 6:374) Cameron E. Thom was District Attorney and Mayor of Los Angeles, a state senator, served as an officer in the Confederate Army during the Civil War.
Vineyard, November 26, 1859, Page 2.
The poisoning of dogs in the streets in a dangerous and disgusting practice, requiring the attention of city authorities. Poison is thrown on the street for dogs, which after eating it, report to the water ditch, where their poisoned bodies decay in the water, which is used for table and culinary purposes. It is disgusting to walk along the ditch in the morning and notice the number of dead dogs in the water.
Angeles Star, March 24, 1860, Page 2.
Notice. The Stockholders of the Los Angeles Water Works Company, are hereby notified, that the first meeting of the corporation will be held at their office, on Spring street, in the city of Los Angeles, on the 14th day of April, A.D. 1860, for the purpose of organization, appointing Trustees and making By-laws for the government of the corporation. W.G. Dryden, Trustee. Los Angeles, 24th March, 1860.
Los Angeles Star, March 27, 1860, Page 2.
The Los Angeles Water Works Co. are about to organize, with a view to hasten to completion the introduction of water into the more elevated parts of the city. A meeting for the election of Trustees, and the transaction of other business, will be held April 14th.
Angeles Water Works," Los Angeles Star, April 7, 1860, Page
It will be seen by a notice elsewhere, that the stockholders of this company will hold a meeting on the 14th inst., for general business; also, the increasing of their general stock, in order to procure the quantity of iron pipe necessary to conduct the water generally over the city. The work is in an advanced state; improvements have been made, whereby an increased head of water will be secured, and consequently a corresponding increase of power. The wheel and forebay. together with the sluice, are completed ; the borders of the canal are being raised to the required height. The double force pump, made at Stone & Britton's iron foundry, in this city, is a complete piece of machinery – seven inch cylinder, three feet stroke, throwing a continuous stream of four inches in diameter. The reservoir at the wheel for holding the water to be pumped up, is 40 by 24 feet, five feet depth. Six hundred feet of pipe are now on the ground, furnished by Peter Donahue, San Francisco. In a few days, this pipe will be laid down, and the power of the machinery tested – from which may be calculated the probable success of the enterprise. The operations of the company may have progressed slowly, but they are conducted surely, which is a matter of satisfaction considering the pressure of the times.
Angeles Star, April 14, 1860, Page 2.
Notice is hereby given to the Stockholders of the Los Angeles Water Works Company, that a meeting will be held at their office in the city of Los Angeles, on the 7th day of May, A.D. 1860, for the purpose of increasing their capital from ten, to twenty thousand dollars. W.G. Dryden, Henry Hancock, Trustees. Angeles, 13th April, 1860.
Water Works," Los Angeles Star, June 23, 1860, Page 2.
Washington Gift |
At the session Common Council last Saturday night, Mr. Marchesseault presented a communication from Mr. Geo. W. Gift, upon the subject of the improvement of our water facilities. The plan now proposed is similar to the one presented by the special committee of the Council last year, with the following exception: At the present waste gate is to be constructed a breast wheel of 35½ feet in height, by which water is to be elevated, and from there conveyed to the city, by a ditch along the foot hills, to a point opposite the Bella Union Hotel, and received into large cisterns, which will be above the top of the front of the Market House and the "Round House." From the cisterns of water will be carried through the streets in iron pipes, which will be tapped by other pipes of lead, and the water thus taken into the houses. The estimated cost of the improvement is $45,000.
The Council adjourned to next Monday evening for the special purpose of considering the matter; as this is the initiatory of what we have long looked forward to with hope and expectation, we trust it is now in a fair way of a beginning.– The members of the Council should give the subject their diligent attention from day to day, until some understanding shall be come to concerning it, and some plan adopted and submitted to the people.
Works," Daily Alta California, June 26, 1860, Page 1.
G. W. Gift has made a proposition to the town of Los Angeles, to erect water works at a cost of $45,000.
1860 Petition of William G. Dryden for permission to concede one of his shares in the Los Angeles water works to support an irrigation project, July 16, 1860, Page 424.(LACA B-1367 5:248)
1860 Map and Petition of W.G. Dryden requesting the construction of a new Sanja line. August 20, 1860. Page 433-435.(LACA B-1367 5:248)
1860 Petition of W.G. Dryden requesting that the Council decide upon the location of the reservoir that Dryden has been given permission to build. N.d., Page 439. Response of the Committee upon Water designating the location. N.d., [Probably August or September. 1860] (LACA B-1367 5:248)
 View of the Los Angeles Plaza, first known photograph taken in Los Angeles shows the plaza reservoir built by Dryden around 1860.
1861 Petition of William G. Dryden to place a ram on the Sanja in order to direct sufficient amounts of water to the reservoir he constructed. March 4, 1861, Response of the committee approving the request with certain conditions. N.d., (LACA B-1367 5:248)
Council Meeting, March 12, 1861.
The Committee on Water report formally to the Petition of W.G. Dryden for leave to place a ram in the zanja in front of the property of Juan Sepulveda to north of the property of Vicente Lugo. [See 1873 Map of the old portion of the city surrounding the plaza below that shows these properties.]
1861 Petition of W.G. Dryden to redirect the Branch Canal from the Main Sanja to improve water power, N.d., Page 474-475. Response of the Committee approving the petition with certain provisions, N.d., Page 475. April or May, 1861. (LACA B-1367 5:248)
Council Meeting, April 1, 1861.
A petition from W.G. Dryden praying permission to change the course of the Zanja as set forth in said Petition, is referred to the Committee on Water.
1861 Benjamin S. Eaton Appointed Superintendent of Water Works, (Appointed: May 07, 1861 ~ Completed: May 07, 1862)
1861 Petition of W.G. Dryden proposing that the city lend credit to the Los Angeles Water Works to order to complete improvements to the city water system. June 3, 1861, (LACA B-1367 5:476-477)
Council Meeting, June 3, 1861.
The Petition of W.G. Dryden relative to the Los Angeles Water Company is referred to the Committee on Water in conjunctio with the Zanjero.
1861 Report of William H. Leighton concerning the introduction of water into the city using a wheel. Response of the Committee recommending that the decision on the project be put to a public vote. Probably June 1861 (LACA B-1367 6:481-483)
Council Meeting, June 24, 1861. Called by his Honor the Mayor
for the purpose of receiving and considering the report of the Committee
appointed in the matter of the City Water Works.
1861 Common Council Meeting, June 26, 1861. The report for the proposed introduction of Water into the City for Domestic purposes is read and accepted.
The Water Committee to inquire as to the possibility of raising by subscription the sum of $4,000
1861 Common Council Meeting July 15, 1861. Sealed bids opened for construction of the water wheel. Perry and Woodworth is the lowest bidder and a contract with them is authorized.
Council Meeting, August 5, 1861. His Honor the Mayor makes a
verbal report that the contract with Perry & Woodworth for the
construction of the Water Wheel for the new Water Works has been signed.
He further reports that the survey of the proposed route for the new water
canal in the matter of the Water Works has been made & presents the
plan of the same, as also an Ordinance declaring the said Canal a Public
An Ordinance to provide water for domestic uses and for the extinguishment of fires is passed.
1861 Special Common Council Meeting September 26 1861. Authorized $1,000 payment to Perry & Woodworth for new water works.
1861 Common Council Meeting October 21, 1861. Authorized $180 payment to W.H. Leighton for Services as Superintendent of Water Works.
1861 Common Council Meeting November 7, 1861. The subscription for the new water works is nearly exhausted. All bills for work done after the exhaustion of the fund raised for said work be paid from the Cash Fund.
1861 "City Water Works," Los Angeles Star, November 16, 1861, Page 2.
1861 "City Water Works," Los Angeles Star, November 30, 1861, Page 2.
1861 Common Council Meeting December 2, 1861. His Honor the Mayor recommends verbally that a Committee be appointed to inquire into the expediency of furthering the New Water Works and the proper steps necessary thereto, and that a house be constructed at the Dam as residence for the Overseer of Water for the protection of the Dam and the Water Works constructed.
1861 Common Council Meeting December 23, 1861. The city council ordered water scrip to be used for completion of the New Water Works, and preparation of a draft law to authorize borrowing money.
1862 Common Council Meeting January 4, 1862. Account of Warrants issued to subscribers to raise to introduce water for domestic use.
1862 Common Council Meeting January 23, 1862. Mayor recommends appointment of a special committee to inquire into and report on the steps necessary to be taken to repair the damage to the Dam occurred by the late freshet.
Rains - The Flood," Los Angeles Star, January 25, 1862, Page
The rain commenced falling on the 24th of December, and continued, until the morning of the 23d January, with but two slight interruptions. – On Saturday last torrents of water were precipitated on the earth – it seemed as if the clouds had been broken through, and the waters over the earth and the waters under the earth were coming into conjunction. The result was, that rivers were formed in every gulch and arroyo, and streams poured down the hill sides. The Los Angeles river, already brimful, overflowed its banks, and became a fierce and destructive flood.
The embankment lately made by the city, for the water works, was swept away – melted before the force of the water.
In the city, with the exception of the falling of a few old adobe buildings, there was no damage sustained.
Improvements," Los Angeles Star, January 25, 1862, Page 2.
The late flood having carried away the embankment lately built at great cost by the city, and it being now evident that the defences from overflows are wholly inefficient, the question of City Improvements assumes a magnitude not heretofore accorded to it. If these are to be constructed at all, they should be made in a substantial and permanent manner, and that will necessitate a loan of from eight to ten thousand dollars over and above that applied for by the bill now before the Legislature, making the sum total $25,000 instead of $15,000. This expenditure contemplates all flumes, bridges, and embankments; the flume to be at least 1,000 yards long, and to reach above the mouth of the Arroyo Seco – the "toma" to be constructed at that point. It will be necessary, then, to straighten the course of the river, and to protect its banks. This the property holders interested will surely now do, after the severe lesson taught them. Without such permanent improvements. It is stated, no reliance can be placed on a supply of water from the river – for, it will overflow in a heavy rain, committing havoc in its course as we have just seen, and in summer time the zanjas will, as heretofore, be frequently stopped up with sand, entailing the loss of days in cleaning them out. And then there will not be a sufficient supply for irrigating the lower vineyards, which were so copiously supplied last year by the improvements now unfortunately washed away. The little brush wingdams of former days, will scarcely afford sufficient supply of water for the increased demand. The cost will be as slated above, for a permanent work, and will entail additional taxation of ten cents on the hundred dollars.
This is a question of more than ordinary importance, and one which the citizens will do well to interest themselves in and consider maturely. An aqueduct must be formed, and of permanent construction – if of solid masonry, so much the better.
Meeting of Council. – On Thursday, a meeting of the Common Council was held, to take into consideration the present condition of the city water works, &c. A committee was appointed, who are to report at a subsequent meeting, consisting of Messrs. Marchesseault (the Mayor), Potter, Dodson, Coronel, Drown and Winston.
1862 An act to authorize the Mayor and Common Council of the City of Los Angeles to borrow Money for Municipal Improvements. February 19, 1862. Not to exceed $25,000 for irrigation or furnishing water for domestic purposes.
City Water Works Again.- A Loan," Los Angeles Star, March
15, 1862, Page 2.
The Legislature, it appears, have passed the bill empowering the city of Los Angeles to raise a loan of $25,000 for municipal improvements. The Mayor is of opinion that two or three thousand dollars could be raised in the city on the proposed terms; and recommended to the Council the appointment of a committee to receive plans for a new dam.— There surely has been a good deal of experience acquired, by this time, in building dams in this city – at least, a good deal of money has been expended to acquire experience – and we hope there will be developed by this proposal such an amount of engineering talent as will suffice to construct an embankment strong enough to resist the attacks of a flood such as we have lately experienced. It in very true, the probable occurrence of such a flood had become merely traditional to those having such works in charge, and it could scarcely be expected that extraordinary precautions would be taken to provide against accidents which were nave now experienced ... required to make a durable structure; and if anything be done, let it be well done. By all means, let us have the water circulating through our city, and making its way to the plains to moisten the thirsty earth, and make it flourish and blossom as the rose.
1862 "Water Works," Los Angeles Star, June 21, 1862, Page 2.
Works," Los Angeles Star, July 26, 1862, Page 2.
The project undertaken by Judge Dryden, to bring water into the city, for domestic purposes, does not seem to meet that attention from citizens which its importance demands. The intention of those composing the Los Angeles Water Works Company, of which Judge Dryden is the projector and principal member, was to raise water by a wheel into a flume and distribute it over the town. The project is not only feasible, but easy of accomplishment, and the works are nearly completed. The foundations for the support of the wheel have been laid long since, and are in good condition; the wheel is made, ready to be put together; the lumber for the flume is on hand; and the pipes for the main have been procured, and are ready to be laid. There is pipe on hand to bring the water down Main street, as far as Mr. Turner's property. The proprietors of the Bella Union Hotel, intend to connect with it at that point — this will be completed, we have been informed, within a month.
We bring this matter before our citizens, and commend it to their most serious attention. It is the easiest, most direct, most expeditious, and least expensive mode of supplying the town with water. How much better to take stock in this company, and have an immediate supply of water at very little cost, merely nominal, than to have the city go to the cost of thirty or forty thousand dollars to construct works, while these are ready at hand, without cost, almost. If the principal property holders connect themselves with this inexpensive undertaking, the whole of the city could easily be furnished with water for household purposes. If Mr. Stearns and Mr. Bell were to supply their property, on Los Angeles street, and Mr. Temple do likewise, on Main and Spring streets, the small holding could connect with the main, and so each house be supplied with pure, fresh water—which it is well known that at present used is not. We consider this project the most advantageous that has been started for the good of the community, and if two or three property holders take part in the undertaking, all of our citizens will be benefitted. They have now an opportunity of conferring substantial favors on the community.
1862 Common Council Meeting, August 27, 1862. Contract between the City and Jean Louis Sainsevain for a dam, wheel, and flume.
1862 Survey of property owned by Juana Alvarado showing Dryden's aquaduct crossing the property. September 4, 1862. | from L.A. County Clerk Filed Maps CF0003 | Also in Miscellaneous Record Table MR-002-56 |
Angeles Water Works," Los Angeles Star, March 28, 1863, Page
On yesterday we paid a visit to the new water works, now in progress of construction under the supervision of the Mayor and Common Council of the city. The proposed work is of a much greater magnitude than we had formed any idea, from casual street conversation. An outline of this work may be briefly summed up thus: The dam, extending from bank to bank, is three hundred and ninety-five feet in length, the wings of which, extending from either bank for a distance of about sixty feet, are formed by a double row of twenty-four foot piles, driven eighteen feet in the ground, with an interstice of twelve feet. These piles are firmly planked and the vacuum filled with clay and rock excavated from the north bank of the river. The center, or main dam, is built in the same manner with the exception that the piles are driven to an even level with the bed of the river, excavated for a depth of eight feet and closely planked, the same as the wings, to prevent seepage. The wings are stationary, but on the top of the main dam it is designed to erect a portable dam in sections, in the style of aprons six feet high that can be easily removed in case of flood, allowing the entire body of water in the river to pass off at its option, with no strain whatever upon any portion of the dam. From the reservoir formed by this dam the water will be lifted to a height of forty feet by a wheel revolving by the action of a current formed by a flow of water from the dam. This wheel is capable of elevating water at the rate of about one million, five hundred thousand gallons in the course of twenty-four hours. The water thus elevated is delivered on the north bank of the river, and will be received in a covered ditch, one foot by two in size, and conveyed to a point near the catholic burying ground, a distance of about one-half of a mile, where it is proposed to build a reservoir and from whence citizens will be furnished with water through the medium of pipes. It is ascertained that a reservoir erected at or near the catholic burying ground will afford a head of about forty feet at, say, in front of the Bella Union Hotel. This ditch was in process of survey by Mr. Waldamer whilst we were on the ground. It is anticipated that the works will be sufficiently progressed to deliver water at the contemplated reservoir by the first day of May.
It is estimated that one hundred and forty thousand feet of lumber will be used in the completion of this work; and we found engaged, at the period of our visit, eight carpenters, a couple of blasters, and about twenty additional hands in various capacities.
The pile-driver, thus far, has been worked by hand, but it is designed to commence working it with a steam engine, furnished by the house of Banning, today or Monday. As an evidence of the stability of this dam, and the firmness with which it is implanted in the ground and the solidity of the soil on which it is erected, we may mention that with a seventeen hundred pound driver and about thirty feet fall, it was found impossible to force twelve inch piles, on an average, more than five inches at a stroke.
Much as this contemplated improvement will benefit the city, in the increased facilities for obtaining pure, wholesome water, our benefits will be light compared to the increased advantages obtained by our farming residents in the lower part of the city. It virtually guarantees to them the full supply of water afforded by the river, at all times, winter or summer, and it especially obviates the difficulties they have heretofore labored under in obtaining the necessary amount of water for domestic purposes during the winter season.
The magnitude of this work, and its immense benefits to the community, must be seen, examined and studied to be appreciated, and its inestimable benefits will be felt by the residents of the city of Los Angeles for many a year.
We noticed, among other facilities for the rapid progress of the enterprise, a railroad track and car, which is extended from bank to bank as the work progresses, with a sufficient inclination to run with its own gravitation, which is capable of dumping into the interstices of the dam about 200 tons of rock and clay per day. This arrangement does away with all necessity for carting and saves an immense amount of labor. The work is being executed by Mr. Sansevain, the contractor with the city, under the personal supervision of Mayor Marchesseault, whom we found on the ground vigorously driving ahead the labor, and who kindly furnished us with the details of the plan of the enterprise. Some one deserves great credit for this improvement, and we presume it is the Mayor and Common Council of the city. We suspect it is Mayor Marchesseault himself, but his proverbial modesty forbid his acknowledging the fact to us.
Water-Works," Los Angeles Star, April 18, 1863, Page 2.
The importance to the city of an abundant supply of pure water, cannot be over-estimated. It has long been a desideratum, but is now in a fair way of shortly being an accomplished fact. And for this great boon to the health, cleanliness, and comfort of the public, we are mainly indebted to the enterprise of our present excellent Mayor, who projected the plan and by his energy and activity has brought it to a successful issue. The work necessary lo effect this result must of course be of an extensive character, and the contractor Mr. Sainsevaine has not only fully complied with the terms of his contract, but at his own cost, made important and most substantial additions to the original plan.
As a matter of course, a great deal of interest has been taken in the progress of the works by our citizens, and a difference of opinion exists as to their character and capacity to effect the object in veiw. To obtain reliable information on this subject, C. Beaucam, Esq., an engineer of acknowledged ability and long experience, acquired on both continents, was requested to visit the works and give his opinion upon them. Time did not permit him to make that precise investigation which he was desirous of doing, but from a careful though brief survey of the ground, the nature of the works and their adaptability to the end proposed, he came to a satisfactory conclusion regarding them. We have great pleasure in being able to lay his report before our citizens. It is as follows:
I first examined the large water wheel, of the undershot class, which, by bucket adjunctions, is to raise water for the supply of your city. The wheel, forty feet in diameter, seems perfectly centered and balanced. It appears rather light for the intended work and weight to elevate, but a system of bracing in preparation will probably give it the necessary strength.
The flume, by which the stream of water will be brought to the wheel, is one hundred and fifty feet long, well and solidly built. The lumber used, and its dimensions, give good guarantee of its solidity. To prevent any danger resulting from the sandy and gravelly nature of the soil of the river, the location of the flume has judiciously been almost entirely dug out in the hillside.
The dam is an extensive work, having a length of about four hundred feet. My views are that a different system of dam would have offered advantages; but, such as it is, nothing seems to be neglected, in the execution of the work, to give all possible strength and solidity. The piles are sunk in the soil to a depth of eighteen feet. The square sawed posts have been rejected with good reason, and round timber has been used, whose superiority is admitted in such works by all practical men.
A line of piles corresponding with those of the dam's upper side are sunk to same depth, of the same size and proportions of the original piles, and at a distance of eight feet from them, at the back of, and which are to be braced with the dam. This addition of a third row of fundamental strong posts will give a most efficient support to the dam. I have been told the contractor was, by the specifications of the contract, to have this row at only six feet distance back of the dam. The increase of two feet is very serviceable. It will cost the contractor more for bracing, but gives a much higher per centage of solidity, mathematical and practical, to the work. The filling of the coffer dam is most liberally executed with stuff taken from the hillside, and whose quality for that purpose is much superior to the stream gravel and sand, and better than what could be had from the more recent alluvial formation of the opposite bank.
A prominent part of the work is the construction, on most of the length of the dam, ot a flying upper dam. It is so arranged that in case of any rapid, irregular and considerable rise of the level of water resulting from the conformation of the country and climate, a few hours labor will afford a large egress to the water and liberate the dam from the powerful effects of weight resulting from an extensive volume of water increased by rapidity of rise.
The reservoir, from the appearance of the ground, will constitute a real lake, and will contain and keep an immense amount of water. For some time the nature of the bottom may probably cause a serious loss of water by infiltration and absorption, but the sedimentary natural deposits of the water, brought to consistency by the weight of the volume, will soon stop it.
One point only in these works may, from the nature of the ground, give some apprehension. At the extremity of the dam, opposite to the flume and wheel, the soil is not good, but great care appears to have been used in that place in the work, and a good consistency given. A good security against that danger is the upper flying dam, which will have the result of bringing, as much as possible, the efforts and effects of the stream to the center instead of the shores.
The way the works are pushed and conducted shows energy, good judgment; and will, to make good work. The quality and dimensions of lumber used are very satisfactory. A steam pile driver of good power is employed; and a railway trunk is laid on the dam to bring the filling stuff from the hillside.
In conclusion, I will only say that, from what a hasty visit has enabled me to see, I feel that satisfaction a man familiar with works of this kind does feel when be contemplates things in good shape. I feel confident the citizens of Los Angeles will be proud of this creation, which appears to me a great proof of faith in them of the large future increase of the population of their city. The reservoir lake which is going to be formed may, according to my rapid inspection, give full satisfaction and be sufficient for the rival city of San Francisco.
I am afraid that when water shall be here so freely supplied and handy, too liberal an addition will be made to the good juice of the grape your country produces. Do not add to it too largely. My new but good friends, the Colorado boys in the Eastern mines want the genuine, and in exchange will send you their metallic proceeds.
City Flume," Los Angeles Star, May 2, 1863, Page 2.
We understand that Mr. Sansevain will have the works on the flume and water wheel so far completed by this evening, that the wheel will be set to work to-morrow. This is an important fact, as it will give to the citizens a realization of the expectations which have been held out to them for some time back, that the water would be in the flume by the first week in May. It will be an object of interest to our citizens to see the great water wheel at work to-morrow. It will settle the question of the success of the project for supplying the city with pure water.
Los Angeles Star, June 13, 1863, Page 3.
Sealed proposals will be received until the 20th of this month, for the construction of a FLUME for the City Water Works. For specifications apply to J.B. Winston. By order of the Committee of the Common Council. Los Angeles, June 4, 1863.
Alta California, June 26, 1863, Page 1.
José A. Dominguez, a native Californian, aged 18 years, was drowned in the dam of the Los Angeles City Water Works, last week.
Los Angeles Star, August 22, 1863, Page 2.
15,000 Feet of Wooden Pipes for Los Angeles City, of Various Sizes. SEALED Proposals will be received by the Mayor and Common Council of Los Angeles City, for the above, on the FIRST MONDAY of SEPTEMBER. 1863. at 3 P. M., at the Mayor's Office. For sizes, specifications, and other information. apply to D. Marchesseault, Mayor of Los Angeles City. By order of the Common Council. D. MARCHESSEAULT, Mayor. Los Angeles City, August 14, 1863.
Council Meeting, October 16, 1863. Contract between Jean Louis
Sainsevain and the City (Joseph Huber, John Turner, Antonio J. Coronel,
Daniel Marchesseault, James B. Winston) for the laying of pipes for the
City's water works.
7,000 feet with 11 inches outside diameter and six inch bore; 8,000 feet with 9 inches outside diameter and 4 inch bore; the ends of all the pipes to have socket joints, to pass one inside of the other the distance of from four (4) to six (6) inches, according to the mode of manufacture of Wyckoffs Boring Machine; the pipes to be put together with white lead, and strengthened at every joint with an iron band 2 inches wide and one quarter of an inch thick;
of California, by John S. Hittel
Pages 406-407: Los Angeles. Description of zanjas.
Water Works," Los Angeles Star, February 6, 1864, Page 2.
The wooden pipes for conducting the water into this city, will soon be completed. Mr. Huston of San Bernardino, who received the contract from Mr. Sansevaine, to deliver them here will commence next week. One half of the pipes are now ready, and the remainder will be forwarded as soon as the workmen require them. The work on the city reservoir, near the Catholic cemetery is now commenced by the Mayor, and city authorities. They will begin to lay the pipes about the 20th inst., and will continue the enterprise, without interruption until the water is brought through the city. We are glad to know that the work is going on, with the certainty that it will soon be completed. There will soon be an opportunity, for our citizens to show their enterprise, and good taste, in the way of planting shade trees along the street, in front of their property.
for the City," Los Angeles Star, March 12, 1864, Page 2.
The question is asked every day, and not quite unreasonably, "are we ever going to be supplied with water for domestic purposes?" To give the naked assurance that the wants of the community, in this respect, will soon be met, would, by no means satisfy a portion of our incredulous friends who believe that "the world was made in a minute" —or, might have been just as well as not.
The weight of interest attached to the project of supplying the city with an abundance of good pure water, will justify a brief allusion to its history and the various obstacles which have from time to time presented themselves to delay, if not defeat, the efforts of the projectors. In the summer of 1861, it was contemplated by the City authorities, to secure, while doing the work necessary to turn the water from the river-bed into the ditches for irrigation, a head that would afford sufficient power to raise to an available height, a stream for the supply of the city. This, it was thought, could be done by constructing a levee along up the Western bank of the river. That plan was then deemed practicable and accordingly adopted and prosecuted to completion. The work, it will be remembered, was attempted with no other resources at command than the labor of the City prisoners, and such limited drafts as could be made on the Cash Fund. No appropriation had been made, nor, until the wheel was built, was there any loan created for the purpose; and then, only about the sum of $4,000 was raised, and that by subscription— the subscribers receiving City bonds tor the amount. In January 1862 the levee and wheel were completed; and but for the extraordinary floods which in that remarkable winter, deluged the whole country, destroying even the most substantial and permanent river-works in the whole State, spring would have found nothing for our citizens to do, but lead the water to their doors. For fifteen days of incessant rain the levee —new and unsettled as it was- withstood the rising, maddened torrents. Twenty-seven days of unceasing rain swept off the entire of. the dam and levee, leaving the wheel and flumes uninjured.
This was but a trifling loss to the corporation; but as a matter of course it set the whole work back one year.
The authorities, profiting by experience, then determined to construct a dam upon a new plan; and to make a permanent and durable affair, money must be raised. By act of the Legislature the Corporation was authorised to create a debt of $50,000 for water schemes. Getting the act passed, however, and getting the money at such a rate of interest as could be afforded, were two different things. The flush of enthusiasm which had, the year before elated the friends of the project, subsided. The floods had discouraged their hopes and cooled their ardor. City seven per cent bonds, payable in ten years could not be sold for more than 50 or 60 cents on the dollar; and even then had to go abroad to find purchasers. These things are mentioned here to show what formidable barriers there were to the prosecution of work. The perseverance and commendable zeal, however, of a few determined public-spirited men overcame every obstacle and work was once more resumed. Much time was necessarily consumed in the examination of the various plans suggested, and when finally the present one was adopted, specifications and details had to be arranged, proposals advertised, and various other preliminaries settled before the contract could be closed. At this time the material to be used for the construction of the dam, was for the most part, standing in ibe forests of Oregon. It is not reasonable to suppose that under all these circumstances, the work could have been accomplished in a less period of time than was allotted to the Contractor. In April, 1863, the new dam was completed according to specifications, and the water turned once more on the wheel. The first revolution of that wheel demonstrated the fact clearly to every one who witnessed it, that the plan was a perfect success, and that a permanent and ample supply of water was ready at hand, sufficient for all that portion of the City not reached by the present zanjas or water ditches, and this water too, at a height corresponding with the centre of the dial-plate of the town-clock, or about fifty feet above the grade of Main street, in front of the Bella Union Hotel. Thus far the work had advanced ten months ago. Much however, still remained to be done. Another appropriation of §15,000, it Was found would be required to furnish main pipes to conduct the water through the city. Again the same operation of advertising for proposals and concluding of contracts had to be gone through with, causing more or less delay and when !t was finally determined to use wooden pipes, it was ascertained that not a stick suitable for the purpose could be procured short of eighty miles from this place and that it must be brought the whole distance by land-carriage, and for a part of the way, down canons, over mountains and through the snow.
Added to this, it is worthy to mention that the machinery for boring the pipes comes from the Atlantic States and the breakage of any portion of the same can not be remedied short of San Francisco. Under these circumstances it must be admitted that no unnecessary delay or want of energy has been displayed on the part of the authorities.
Mr. Sainsevine, the contractor is confident that all the main pipes will be laid by the time specified in his contract - May 1st. By the middle of April a reservoir of sufficient capacity to supply all demands will be ready to use.
An now, in turn let another question be asked; is there in this community, a man so destitute of common sense that he cannot see how a stream of water having a head of 50 feet can be conducted through a six-inch pipe, the distance of a mile or mile and a-half? If there is, we may despair of convincing him that, "the City will be supplied with water for domestic purposes," by means of the public works. Citizen.
Water Works," Los Angeles Star, April 2, 1864, Page 2.
[Communicated.] A STROLL TO THE TOMA. Los Angeles, March 3st, 1864.
Editor of Los Angeles Star: Permit me for the first time, a small space in your truly valuable paper, to present a full description of the works at the dam, to your readers and citizens of Los Angeles city, and especially that portion who reside in the upper or dry portion of the city, whose only means of procuring that indispensable element — water — is by paying for a scanty supply for domestic purposes, at the rate of from two to four dollars a month.
On the 30th ult., in company with J. L. Morris, one of our worthy and enterprising citizens, I took a walk to the water wheel, erected to supply the city with water, for the purpose of gratifying our own curiosity as to the practicability of the works in progress, on arriving at the dam across the Los Angeles river, I found the dam to be a substantial structure, sufficiently tight to retain all the river water; on the west side is built the water wheel and outlet for the water which supplies the lower part of the city, the gardens, orchards and vinyards with an abundance of water. The water wheel is about forty feet in diameter, constructed of good, strong and substantial materials; on each side are attached thirty-two buckets made of strong sheet iron or zinc, each one holding seven and a half gallons of water. They are hung on an iron axle which runs through a box or tube extending from one side of the bucket to the other, a little above the centre, which prevents any waste of water; each bucket at least holds from four to six gallons of water. I took my watch from my pocket, in order to time the wheel, which was then turning at a moderate speed, not having a full head of water on at the time. One revolution was made in fifty seconds, which would be seventy-two in an hour. Allowing each bucket to raise five gallons of water every revolution, 23,000 gallons, or 309 hhds., would be raised in an hour, and at that rate, the wheel will raise in twenty-four hours, 7,302 hhds., or 552,960 gallons. This water is conducted from the wheel towards the city, near the Catholic burying ground, a distance of about 900 yards, through a tunnel made of red wood, to a reservoir which is of a sufficient capacity to hold 800,000 gallons, and has a red wood box, set in the eart[h], running to and down the bank on the north side of the main zanja running by Scott's mill, for the purpose of letting the sedement which may accumulate in the reservoir rim off when necessary. The bottom of the reservoir is at least 45 or 50 feet higher than the water running in the main zanja, which fact demonstrates to a certainty that there is a fall of at least 50 feet to main street in front of the Bella Union Hotel.
The water is to be conducted to city, in wooden pipes, six inches inside and of sufficient size to be strong and durable. They are to be laid underground a depth of three feet to prevent the action of the atmosphere upon them, which will prevent decay and add strength to the pipes.
Thus, any person of ordinary observation will see that when the reservoir is full of water, that through an inch and a half hose attached to the main pipe or hydron, water can be thrown over the highest building in the city, with sufficient force to knock a man down. It may also be raised into cisterns set upon the tops of the highest buildings in the city, and at the request and payment of a small sum, every householder may have the water conducted into his kitchen or yard at a less expense than he now incurs for his scanty supply, and have all he wants, both for domestic purposes and irrigating plants, trees and shrubery, and also to sprinkle the dusty streets in front of his store or dwelling. That there will be an abundance of water for all need, will not be doubted by any one.
Being somewhat skeptical as to the result of the present water scheme, begun and carried on thus far by our worthy Mayor and Common Council, I deem it is due to them, at this critical moment, when doubts and denunciations are rife in our city against the practicability of the Mayor's plan of furnishing the city with water, to make my careful, and I think true observations public through the medium of the press.
It is to the interest of all to aid and assist the completion of the water-works, now so nearly finished, and aid cannot be better rendered than by retaining the present managers thereof, in power long enough to have it completed, and thus give them their share of the honor which must result therefrom.
The revenue that will arise from the water-works if properly managed, will in a few years, relieve the people of this city of the burden of debt, and direct taxation.
In conclusion, I will say to all who doubt my assertions, go and examine for yourselves, take no man's words, for if you are capable of calculating you will come to the same conclusion.
AN OLD MECHANIC AND CITIZEN.
Angeles Star, April 23, 1864, Page 2.
Ball.— Our advertising column announces that a grand Ball will be given on Tuesday evening the 26th inst., at Stearns' Hall Arcadia Block, the proceeds of which, will go towards completing the water works, on which Judge Dryden has spent so much labor and money. The party will be a pleasant one. Let every one go who.can. We. want the water in by all means.
Angeles Star, April 30, 1864, Page .2.
The ball for the benefit of the Los Angeles Water works, given on Tuesday evening, was one of real social enjoyment. Judge Dryden has furnished us with a statement of the proceeds and expenses which we publish for the benefit of the curious. We regret very much that the enterprise was not more successful financially. Amount of profit $20.50.
Council Meeting, June 1, 1864
Committee on Water was requested to advise with mechanicks respecting the present mode laying down of the pipes for the introduction of water through, and report at next meeting.
Council Meeting, June 9, 1864
The Water Committee made a report respecting the joining of the pipes now being laid down for the introduction of water through this city, that they be joined or connected in the same manner as far as the house of Mr. Bernardo, and that the remainder be laid according to specifications in contract, all of which was adopted by the Council.
Angeles Star, August 6, 1860, Page 2.
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, to the Stockholders of the "Los Angeles Water Works Company," that a meeting of stockholders will be held on TUESDAY, the 16th day of AUGUST, A. D. 1864, at 10 o'clock A. M. of said day, at their office, (County Judge's office,) in the city of Los Angeles, for the purpose of electing three Trustees, for the years 64-65, and for making assessments for the continuation of the work now in progress. W. G. DRYDEN, Stockholder. Los Angles, August 5th, 1864.
Water-Works," Los Angeles Star, September 3, 1864, Page 2.
We have not alluded to the progress of this important work lately, because it was sufficiently prominent to force itself upon public attention, and convince even the skeptical of the entire feasibility of the plan adopted to supply the city with the vital element. Now that the pipes are being laid in the streets, and the water is rolling along in them as far as laid, there can be no further doubt as to the complete success of the undertaking. It is true, there are some obstacles to be overcome yet, as for instance, the unfitness of some of the logs that have been bored, the defects of which can only be detected by turning the water Into them. When found unequal to the pressure, they are taken up and replaced. This causes apparent delay, but it is no drawback upon the perfection of the work. Another supposed objection is, the raising of the water by a wheel. Another mode of elevation might have been better, but the present will undoubtedly afford a constant and abundant supply of water for the use of the city. To Mayor Marchessault the credit is due of overcoming all the difficulties of this enterprise. For three years he has been working at the project, and its success will be a flattering tribute to bis foresight, energy and perseverance
Angeles Water Works Company," Los Angeles Star, September 3,
1864, Page 2.
This company is pushing ahead its works. The reservoir is on the plaza, and the water is to be distributed in iron pipes. It is spring water, raised by a powerful pump, of such capacity that three hours work each day will supply abundant water for city purposes. The Company has lately been augmented, and is acting with vigor and energy. We cannot have, too great facilities for a bountiful supply of water.
1864 Common Council Session September 5, 1864. It was requested by the Council that the President of Board appoint a committee to confer with W.G. Dryden respecting his rights to build a Reservoir on the Plaza & to respond to the Mayor in 5 days.
1864 Common Council Session September 22, 1864. The Committee that was appointed by the Council to confer with W.G. Dryden respecting his rights to build a Reservoir on the Plaza, made their report which was accepted by the Council.
Angeles Star, September 17, 1864, Page 3.
Office of the Los Angeles Water-Works Company. Notice of delinquent assessments on stock
John Rowland, F.P.F. Temple, Daniel Scheik, Juan Matlas Sanchez, Henry Hancock
By J.W.B. Davis, Secretary
1865 Common Council Meeting, February 8, 1865. Ordinance authorizing the City to lease the water works to David Alexander.
1865 William H. Leighton, it is unclear if this is the man who was Los Angeles city surveyor.
1865 Common Council Meeting, August 7, 1865. Lease of City water works changed from George W. Alexander to J. L. Sainsevain. August 1, 1865.
Council Meeting October 16, 1865. Lease of water works to Jean L.
1865 Common Council Meeting November 22, 1865. Report of the Water Committee on the petition of Jean Louis Sainservaine to prevent the Los Angeles Water Works Company was distributing water from the Zanja Madre rather than the springs owned by William G. Dryden. Accepted by the Common Council.
1867 Common Council Meeting, November 18, 1867. Contract with Sainsevain to lay 5,000 feet of iron pipe, November 18, 1867
1867 William G. Dryden sold the Los Angeles Water Works Company to Juan Bernard and Patrick McFadden sometime before December 1867.
1867 Common Council Meeting, December 28, 1867. A communication from his Honor the Mayor informing the Common Council that from the heavy rains which have lately fallen, the City Dam has been washed away, together with other injuries. Resolved that the Common Council act as a Committee to communicate with Mr. Sansevain and also in the examination of the site of the late City Dam.
Council Meeting, December 30, 1867. Common Council receives
proposals from N.J. Colman to lease the water works of the City.
Also one from P. McFadden.
Resolved by the Council that J.L. Sainsevain be permitted forthwith to remove the water wheel which supplies the water works of the City to a point below where the said Sansevain believe is to be practicable to erect said wheel, order to supply water for the pipes leading through the City, and this at a cost of $1,600.
of the City Dam," Los Angeles Semi-Weekly Times, January 3,
1868, Page 2.
This dam, which furnished the city with water, and was repaired at an expense of some three thousand dollars, was entirely swept away, and until it is repaired, will necessitate the revival of the water cart system which, a few years ago, was our only source of supply.
City Water Ditches," Los Angeles Semi-Weekly Times, January
10, 1868, Page 1.
Proposal to change location of water wheel.
of the City Dam," Daily Alta California, January 12, 1868,
This dam, which furnished the city with water, and was repaired at an expense of some three thousand dollars, was entirely swept away, and until it is repaired will necessitate the revival of the water-cart system which, a few years ago, was our only source of supply.
City Waterworks," Los Angeles Semi-Weekly Times, January 14,
1868, Page 2.
Permission has been given Mr. Sansevaine, to remove the wheel formerly located at the head of the main zanja to a point several hundred yards below.
Los Angeles Semi-Weekly News, January 21, 1868, Page 3.
Suicide. -Damien Marchesseault committed suicide on yesterday morning by shooting himself, the ball entering near the nose, and passing into the brain.
Died. ---Damien Marchesseault, for several years Mayor of this city, died at the Mayor's office, about 7 o'clock AM, on the 20th inst.
Mr. Marchesseault was a native of Canada, and in early life immigrated to New Orleans, where he has a brother now living. He was in Mexico during the Mexican War, and came to this country in 1849, and settled in this city in 1853; where he was for several years engaged in business. He was a man of remarkable energy, of strong convictions, and naturally had many enemies, but leaves a host of friends. The friends and acquaintances of the deceased are requested to attend the funeral at 10 o'clock this morning, from his late residence.
Angeles Semi-Weekly Times, January 24, 1868, Page 2.
The following letter was found upon the table near the late Damien Marchesseault, addressed to Mrs. Marchesseault; and was place in our hands for publication by the friends of that lady:
Office of the City Marshal, Los Angeles City, January 20, 1868.
My Dear Mary: - By my drinking to excess, and gambling also, I have involved myself to the amount of about three thousand dollars which I have borrowed from time to time from friends and acquaintances. Under the promise to return the same the following day, which I have often failed to do. To such and extend have I gone in this way that I am now ashamed to meet my fellow man on the street; besides that, I have deeply wronged you as a husband, by spending my money instead of maintaining you as it become a husband to do. Though you have near complained of my miserable conduct, you nevertheless have suffered to much. I therefore, to save you from farther disgrace and trouble, being that I cannot maintain you respectably, I shall end this state of thing this very morning. Of course, in all this, there is no blame-attached contrary you have asked me to permit you to earn money honestly by teaching and I refused. You have always been true to me. If I write these few lines, it is to set you a night before this wicked world, to keep slander from blaming you in way manner whatever. Now, my dear beloved, I hope that you will pardon me, and also Mr. Sansevain. It is time to part, God bless you, and may you be happy yet, your husband, D. Marchesseault.
1868 Common Council Meeting, January 27, 1868. Common Council receives propositions from Messrs. Doct. J.S. Griffin, P. Beaudry and S. Lazaros to lease for the term of 30 years a water franchise previously leased to other parties. The petitioners proposed to relieve the City authorities from all responsibility. Also P. McFadden, appearing in person and reminding the Council that he had a previous petition to lease the said water franchise and at a higher figure than the new proposal. Referred to Water Committee.
Evidence of Progress," Los Angeles Semi-Weekly Times,
January 28, 1868, Page 2.
Sale of sixty-nine acres of hill lands at auction to P. Beaudry.
Water Works," Los Angeles Semi-Weekly Times, January 31,
1868, Page 2.
On Monday last, Dr. J.S. Griffin, P. Beaudry, S. Lazard and others filed with the Clerk of the Common Council, a proposition to lease the city water works for a term of thirty years, at a yearly rent equal to that paid to the present lessee, to assume all liabilities or damages growing out of the present contract of lease, to build substantial and competent reservoirs, and to replace the wooden pipes with iron ones as fast as the same shall become necessary, and to make all repairs of the works that may be required to place the water in the pipes in the shortest possible time. The proposition with another from other parties was referred to a committee, who will report at the next meeting.
Council Meeting, February 4, 1868. Petition from P. McFadden
was read, containing propositions for the leasing from the city a
franchise of water rights, for supplying the City with water for domestic
Report presented from Committee appointed by the Council to hear propositions from different persons relative to the lease of the City Water Works.
1868 Common Council Meeting, February 5, 1868. The assignees of J.L. Sainsevain will proceed under the contract formerly executed by J.L. Sainsevain and the Corporation of the City of Los Angeles relative to the lease of the city Water Works.
Alta California, February 6, 1868, Page 2.
Account of the suicide of former mayor Marchessault.
the Hon. Mayor and Common Council of the City of Los Angeles," Los
Angeles Semi-Weekly Times, February 7, 1868, Page 1.
Report of committee describing two proposals in detail.
of Committee," Los Angeles Semi-Weekly Times, February 7,
1868, Page 2.
Summary of two proposals. J.S. Griffins and others have been assigned the lease of Mr. Sansevaine.
A second article mentions that the reservoirs of the city water works had been cut by a malicious person.
Dam," Los Angeles Semi-Weekly Times, February 11, 1868, Page
The wing dam recently constructed at the site of the old dam was carried away by the temporary rise of the river.
it so?" Los Angeles Semi-Weekly Times, February 14, 1868,
We understand that a drove of hogs are frequently seen bathing in the water used for domestic purposes.
Journal of the Senate during the Seventeenth Session of the
Legislature of the State of California, 1867-8.
Page 408: Senate Chamber. February 19th, 1868. Introduction of Bills.
By Mr. Conn— An Act to authorize the Los Angeles Water Works Company to lay down water pipes in the public streets of the City of Los Angeles, to ratify and approve certain ordinances and acts of the corporate authorities of the City of Los Angeles in relation thereto; to ratify and approve the incorporation of the Los Angeles Water Works Company, and to define and confirm the rights and privileges of said company. Read first and second times and referred to the Los Angeles and San Bernardino delegations. [William Alexander Conn]
Journal of the Senate during the Seventeenth Session of the
Legislature of the State of California, 1867-8.
Pages 415-416: February 20, 1868. Mr. Conn, from the Los Angeles and San Bernardino delegation, made the following report:
Mr. PRESIDENT: The delegation from Los Angeles and San Bernardino, to whom was referred Senate Bill No. 324—An Act to authorize the Los Angeles Water Works Company to lay down water pipes in the public streets of the City of Los Angeles, to ratify and approve certain ordinances and acts of the corporate authorities of the City of Los Angeles in relation thereto; to ratify and approve the incorporation of the Los Angeles Water Works Company, and to define and confirm the rights and privileges of said company—beg leave to report that they have duly considered the bill and made several amendments thereto. They have also examined the several ordinances of the corporate authorities of the City of Los Angeles; also the several conveyances and assignments to said company, and in their opinion the public interest of the citizens of said city will be promoted by the immediate passage of said bill. They therefore report the bill back and recommend its passage as amended. CONN, for Delegation.
1868 "City Water Works," Los Angeles Semi-Weekly Times, February 21, 1868, Page 2.
Los Angeles Semi-Weekly Times, February 25, 1868, Page 2.
The lessees of the city Water Works are pushing forward the repairs of the Water Works, and we are assured that the pipes will be well supplied with water in a few days.
Legislature," Sacramento Daily Union, February 27, 1868,
Senate. February 26, 1868. Senate Bill No. 824— An Act to authorize the Los Angeles Water Works Company to lay down water pipes in the public streets of the city of Los Angeles, to ratify and approve certain ordinances and acts of the corporate authorities of the city of Los Angeles in relation thereto, to ratify and approve the incorporation of the Los Angeles Water Works Company, and to define and confirm the rights and privileges of said company — was explained by Mr. Conn, the author, as intended to authorize the rebuilding of the water works in that city, which were destroyed by the late floods, was moderately opposed by Mr. Hager on the ground that the general law would have answered the purpose, and was passed.
1868 Common Council Meeting, March 2, 1868. Resolution to the Legislature now in Session requested to pass no law confirming any pretended contract for furnishing water.
1868 Senate bill No. 324 - An act to authorize the Los Angeles Water Works Company to lay down water pipes in the public streets and ratify certain Ordinances and Acts, Passed by California Senate on February 26, 1868 and House on March 9, 1868, vetoed by Governor Haight on March 14, 1868, sustained unanimously by Senate on March 16.. (from California State Archives)
Pipes," Los Angeles Semi-Weekly Times, March 10, 1868, Page
The City Water Works Company received six thousand feet of iron pipes, per steamer orizaba, all of which will be laid down in different streets this month.
Journal of the Senate during the Seventeenth Session of the
Legislature of the State of California, 1867-8.
Pages 617-618: STATE or CALIFORNIA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Sacramento, March 14th, 1868.
To the Senate of the State of California:
I herewith return to your honorable body, without my approval, Senate Bill No. 324— An Act to authorize the Los Angeles Water Works Company to lay down water pipes in the public streets of the City of Los Angeles, to ratify and approve certain ordinances and acts of the corporate authorities of the City of Los Angeles in relation thereto, to ratify and approve the incorporation of the Los Angeles Water Works Company, and to define and confirm the rights and privileges of said company.
Since the passage of this bill I have received a protest from the Mayor and City Council of Los Angeles setting forth, in substance, that this bill, if passed, would inflict a wrong upon the corporation, and would virtually confiscate fifty thousand dollars expended by the city authorities in the construction of water works; that the bill violates the rights and franchises of the municipality, and would diminish its revenue for the benefit of a few individuals interested in the company.
I learn, also, from the gentlemen who advocated the bill, that they were acting under a misapprehension of facts and would not, as at present advised, favor its passage.
Having no reason to doubt the correctness of the representations made by the city authorities, I return the bill without my approval.
H. H. HAIGHT, Governor.
1868 San Francisco
Bulletin, March 18, 1868, Page 1.
Sacramento, March 17, 1868. Also, returning without his approval Senate bill No. 324 - An act to authorize the Los Angeles Water Works Company to lay down water pipes in the public streets and ratify certain Ordinances and Acts -- the Governor having received a protest from the Mayor and Common Council setting forth that the bill would inflict a wrong upon the corporation by virtually confiscating $50,000 worth of property.
The Governor's veto of Senate bill No. 324, relating to the Los Angeles Water Works Company - The circumstances were briefly explained by Mr. Conn - was unanimously sustained.
Los Angeles Semi-Weekly Times, March 20, 1868, Page 2.
The City Water Works Company are now laying down iron pipes the entire length of Aliso street. It is a much needed improvement.
Pipes," Los Angeles Semi-Weekly Times, March 31, 1868, Page
The lessees of the City Water Works have laid down iron pipes from Los Angeles street through Aliso street to the "Aliso Mills," and down Los Angeles street to First, and are actively engaged in extending the pipes thorough Jail to Fort street. The pipes are of a most substantial character, and the fact that the city has been compelled to pay own over six thousand additional feet of pipe to accommodate the demands of the public, is an evidence of the rapid increase of population and business of the city.
Water Works," Los Angeles Semi-Weekly Times, April 7, 1868,
On Saturday last the city water wheel was completed, and notwithstanding the frequent assertions of knowing ones that it would be a failure, proved a success. The wheel is now revolving much better than before it was taken down, furnishing a bountiful supply of water. The mechanical portion of the work reflects credit upon the contractors, Messrs. Perry & Woodworth. The wheel is fifty feet in diameter with buckets upon each side, which furnish more water than is required for domestic purposes. We understand that the lessees have perfected such arrangements as will in the future prevent any failure of the water.
Ordinance," Los Angeles Semi-Weekly Times, May 1, 1868, Page
To approve and ratify the contract heretofore made with J.L. Sainsevain, and to provide for payment of the warrants issued in payment for pipes and work done in extension of the City Water Works. Approved April 29, 1868.
Water Works," Los Angeles Semi-Weekly Times, June 5, 1868,
At the meeting of the Common Council, on Monday evening last, an ordinance was passed granting the City Water Works to John S. Griffin, Prudent Beaudry and Solomon Lazard, the associates and assigns of J.L. Sainsevane, for consideration in the ordinance expressed, the outlines of which are as follows: –
The grantees to pay to the city ten thousand dollars, in installments of two thousand dollars per annum, for five years, and to surrder to the city six thousand dollars in city warrants, bearing ten per cent. per annum interest, and other indebtedness of the city to the amount of eight thousand dollars – making a total payment of $24,000; with the further conditions that the grantees lay twelve miles of iron pipes in the city; build additional reservoirs of sufficient capacity for twenty days' supply of water for domestic purposes; to construct a ditch around the base of the hills, for hte purpose of supplying the reservoirs with water; to place hydrants at the street corners, to supply water in case of fire; and to build an ornamental fountain upon the Public Plaza, at a cost of one thousand dollars; and to give bonds in the sum of fifty thousand dollars for the compliance with the conditions of the ordinance.
1868 "Veto Message," Los Angeles Semi-Weekly Times, June 12, 1868, Page 2.
1868 "The Common Council and the City Water Works," Los Angeles Semi-Weekly Times, June 19, 1868, Page 2.
of the City Council," Los Angeles Semi-Weekly Times, June
19, 1868, Page 3.
June 17th, 1868. Notice of J.S. Griffin, P. Beaudry, and S. Lazard, claiming a continuance of the lease of the City water for a further term of six years, read and placed on file; also notice of the same parties, advising the Council of the appropriation for certain lands for the purpose of building Reservoirs. Read and referred to the Committee on Lands.
Ordinance," Los Angeles Semi-Weekly Times, June 23, 1868,
Establishing an Overseer of Water.
1868 "Will the City Authorities build a Dam?" Los Angeles Semi-Weekly Times, June 26, 1868, Page 2.
of the City Council," Los Angeles Semi-Weekly Times, July
10, 1868, Page 2.
July 7th, 1868. The petition of Chas. Taylor and others, for an extension of the city water pipes to Ninth street, for the purpose of supplying the inhabitants of that locality with water for domestic purposes.
of the City Council," Los Angeles Semi-Weekly Times, July
14, 1868, Page 2.
July 10th, 1868. The Special Committee appointed in the matter of the petition of Juan Bernardo, who proposes to remove the reservoir from the public square, for an exchange of 400 feet square of land upon Fort Hill, for the purpose of a reservoir, recommended that the exchange be made. Whereupon a special committee, consisting of Messrs. Boyle, Mascarel and Schumacher, were appointed to communicate with said Juan Bernardo, to determine the precise locality of the 400 feet of land, as also the time in which to perfect the said exchange.
The City Attorney presented a draft of an Ordinance and contract, wherein J.S. Griffin and others propose to lease the City Water Works for a term of thirty years, paying an annual rent of $1500, and at the expiration of said term the city to purchase certain improvements at their valuation. After discussion, the same was referred to a special committee, consisting of Messrs. Boyle, Botilier and Roeder.
1868 Contract between City of Los Angeles and J.S. Griffin, P. Beaudry, and Solomon Lazard, July 20, 1868 to lease water works for 30 years, and Ordinance approving same, July 22, 1868. Revised Charter and Compiled Ordinances and Resolutions of the City of Los Angeles (1878)
of the City Council," Los Angeles Semi-Weekly Times, July
31, 1868, Page 2.
July 27th, 1868. In the matter of the donation of 400 feet square of land on Fort Hill to Messrs. Temple & Co. for the purpose of a reservoir, upon condition of the removal of the present reservoir, it was ordered that 200 feet square be granted these gentlemen.
Daily Union, August 17, 1868, Page 2.
Incorporated.- There was filed in the office of the Secretary of State yesterday, the certificate of incorporation of the Los Angeles City Water Company. Capital stock, $220,000, in $2,20 shares of $100 each. Trustees for the first three months - P. Beaudry, John S. Griffin, S. Lazard, John G. Downy, J.L. Sainsevain, A.J. King, Charles Lepaon and Eugene Meyer.
1868 Official Map No. 4 of Los Angeles City, November 1868. | Also here | Shows the location of the toma, the City's first water wheel and water wheel at Solano Street. The reservoir constructed by Sainsevain was located north of the Roman Catholic Cemetery. [notes from Brooks 1938]
1868 Map of Zanja Madre, by William Moore, 1868 | Zanja Madre map with water wheels added, from here. The location shown for the "1863 Jean Sainsevain" water wheel is probably incorrect, as the city's 1868 Official Map No. 4 shows located at the dam in the Los Angeles river where the "1854 City Council" wheel is shown. |
1869 Ordinance authorizing J. S. Griffin, Prudent Beaudry, Solomon Lazard, and other directors of the Los Angeles City Water Company to occupy certain lands for the purpose of building a reservoir. February 11, 1869.
of the City Council," Los Angeles Semi-Weekly Times,
February 13, 1869, Page 2.
The use of certain lots on Fort Hill, was, in accordance with the terms of a previous contract in connection with the Water Works granted to Griffin and others of the said Water Co. for the construction of a reservoir, to revert to the city upon the expiration of the original lease of the City Water Works.
Reservoir on Fort Hill. As it was a portion of the original contract made between the City and Los Angeles City Water Company, that land which might belong to the City should be granted to the Company for the construction of a reservoir, to hold water sufficient for the domestic use of the City for twenty days, the Common Council employed County Surveyor Hansen to make an estimate of the area which such a reservoir would occupy, who reports that allowing forty gallons per day per head to the estimated population ten years hence, it will require a fraction over six acres, with a uniform depth of ten feet of water. The council therefore passed an ordinance at their last meeting, granting the Company what land long to the City in the blocks designated in Mr. Hansen's report as the proper location for the reservoir, which is to be on Fort Hill, that point having been selected by the Water Company; the land to revert to the City, with all improvements that may be upon it, at the expiration of the lease of the Water Works held by the Company.
The daily allowance of forty gallons of water to each inhabitant would at first appear to be a large estimate, but as Mr. H. remarks in his report - the people generally of Los Angeles are noted for their habits of cleanliness, and a fondness which is observable in every part of the city, for the cultivation of flower gardens, shrubbery and ornamental shade trees, which require irrigation - that amount is probably not more than would be needed.
1869 William G. Dryden, Died September 10, 1869. | Wikipedia entry |
Daily Union, December 30, 1869, Page 2.
The Los Angeles City Water Company have bought the works and franchise of the old company, and now have complete monopoly of the city water.
1870 An act to ratify certain acts and ordinances of the Mayor and Common Council of the City of Los Angeles. April 2, 1870.
1870 An act concerning water courses in the City of Los Angeles. April 2, 1870.
of grant to W.G. Dryden, June 23, 1870, Revised Charter and
Compiled Ordinances and Resolutions of the City of Los Angeles
The ordinance granting the privilege to W. G. Dryden or his assigns to erect a reservoir on the Public Plaza, be and the same is hereby repealed.
1870 An act to create a Board of Water Commissioners in the City of Los Angeles, and to define their power and duties. April 2, 1870.
1870 Report on water rates, April 13, 1870
1870 Map of the lands of Los Angeles Canal and Reservoir Company, December 1870
1870 Agreement with the Los Angeles City Water Company to remove the reservoir now being on the public plaza, December 2, 1870. Revised Charter and Compiled Ordinances and Resolutions of the City of Los Angeles (1878)
1871 Los Angeles as it appeared in 1871, this shows Main Street as being Calle San Fernando.
1872 An act to repeal an act entitled an act to create a Board of Water Commissioners in the City of Los Angeles, and to define their power and duties, approved April second, eighteen hundred and seventy. January 19, 1872.
1872 Permit given to Prudent Beaudry to lay pipes through the city streets. October 31, 1872. Water was pumped from Abila Springs with a steam pump located at Alameda Street and College Avenue. Abila Springs was formerly owned by William G. Dryden and was the source for his water system.
1873 Map of the old portion of the city surrounding the plaza, showing the old plaza church, public square, the first gas plant and adode buildings, Los Angeles city, March 12th, 1873. | Modern redrawing.|
Angeles Daily Herald, December 4, 1874, Page 3.
The Fort Hill reservoir project of the Water Company involving the lease of lot No. 8., Fort Hill, has assumed a quietus. No report on the matter was presented in the Council yesterday and consequently no action was taken concerning it.
Ordinance Setting Water Rates, September 2, 1874.
1876 An act authorizing the Mayor and Common Council of the City of Los Angeles to pay a certain indebtedness created by the former Board of Water Commissioners of said city. February 12, 1876.
1876 An act authorizing the corporation, the Mayor and Common Council of the City of Los Angeles to issue bonds and to provide means for the improvement of irrigation in said city. February 28, 1876.
1876 Buena Vista Reservoir photographs
1876 View of water-wheel photographed some distance away on Thomas Leahy's (winemaker) place on Alameda Street between 7th and 8th Streets, built in 1876. This may have been what Dryden's water wheel looked like.
historical sketch of Los Angeles county, California. From the Spanish
occupancy, by the founding of the mission San Gabriel Archangel,
September 8, 1771, to July 4, 1876, by Juan José Warner
Page 69: 1868. In July of this year the "Los Angeles City Water Company," represented by Dr "John S. Griffin, Mr. P. Beaudry and Mr. S. Lazard, received a franchise for supplying the city with water for domestic purposes for a period of thirty years, and, by agreement, and purchase of existing works, became possessed of a sole right. Previous to 1863 the city was poorly supplied, carts hauling water from the zanjas and from the river, and distributing it to the houses. In that year Jean L. Sansevaine, under franchise from the city, laid down wooden pipes in a few of the streets, which, however, soon became rotten and worthless. Since the introduction of pure water into the city, dysentery, which had been exceedingly prevalent, has become a rare disease. The "Los Angeles City Water Co." now represents a capital of $930,000. It has in the ground 24 miles of mains, the largest being 22 inches in diameter; daily consumption of water, 750,000 gallons; daily capacity, 1,000,000 gallons; estimates that it can supply a city of 100,000 inhabitants; expects to construct during the ensuing year another reservoir, 60 feet higher than the present one, to supply the hill lands.
Page 70: In the year 1872 improvements were commenced in the hills West of Los Angeles City. These hills, although offering delightful sites for residences, from lack of water and difficulty of access, had not shared in the prosperity of the city, but remained comparatively valueless and neglected. To the energy and perseverance, more especially of two men, Mr. P. Beaudry and Mr. J.W. Potts, is due the change that has taken place. The work with which Mr. Beaudry's name has been more especially linked is the furnishing of an abundant supply of water to these hill lands. Mr. Beaudry has had excavated a large basin amid the springs lying along upper Alameda street, from which, with a sixty horse power engine running a Hooker pump of the capacity of 40,000 gallons per hour, water is forced to an elevation of 240 feet, which it is received by two reservoirs with a storage capacity of 3,500,000 gallons, and thence distributed through eleven miles of iron pipes over the tops of the highest hills. These works have cost $95,000.
1878 An act to authorize the corporation of the City of Los Angeles to issue bonds for improving the water supply of said city, and provide for their payment. March 20, 1878.
of the Sepulveda Vine Yard, Ybarra Vine Yard and S.J. Hall or Sisters
Tract, now Owned and Occupied by P. Beaudry, by F. W. Wood 1878. | CF114
from Clerk Filed Maps Table CF0100 to CF0199 |
Shows old Arroyo Seco Road that was deeded to Dryden in exchange for land used in opening Main Street. In 1863 Dryden sold this land to Green. Also shows Beaudry's reservoir and pump.
1882 Los Angeles, Engineering News, 9:419 (December 9, 1882)
1882 Los Angeles from "The Water-Supply of Certain Cities and Towns of the United States," by Walter G. Elliot, C. E., Ph. D.
City Water Company," Los Angeles Herald, July 10, 1884, Page
Statement of the Condition of the City Water System.
On the 22d day of July, 1868, the Mayor and Common Council of the city of Los Angeles leased the works of the city of Los Angeles to John S. Griffin, Solomon Lazard and Prudent Beaudry for the term of thirty years. By the provisions of this lease the lessees were to provide the inhabitants of tho city of Los Angeles with water for domestic purposes. It also provided that the Mayor and Council should fix the rates to be charged by the lessees for water, but not below what was then charged. It was also provided that the lessees should provide water free for fires and hydrants erected for that purpose at places designated by the lease; and it was further provided that the lessees should extend iron pipes as fast as the citizens desiring to be supplied with water would agree to take sufficient water to pay ten percent per annum upon the cost of extending the pipes through the streets supplied with water.
The lease was assigned to the Los Angeles Water Company, a company incorporated to carry out the provisions of tho lease. At the time the water works were leased the city of Los Angeles was a small but growing city. The works leased were crude, the pipes being of wood and the water taken from the river near where the East Los Angeles bridge now stands, by means of a wheel which lifted the water into a flume from which it was carried into a small reservoir and from thence distributed over a small portion of the city. The water company, anticipating a city of reasonable size, expended between the years 1870 and 1878 about $350,000 in extending its main , constructing a new ditch and building reservoirs, and its indebtedness to-day, on account of these expenditures, is more than $125,000.
The Water Company is now supplying 23,000 persons with water for domestic purposes and estimates 8000 people remaining to whom the company does not furnish water, and the demand upon the resources of the company each day increasing. In addition to this the city consumes at least 300,000 gallons of water per day for street sprinkling purposes.
1884 Map of the City of Los Angeles, California, shows some reservoirs.
1886 Irrigation Development: History, Customs, Laws, and Administrative Systems Relating to Irrigation, Water-courses, and Waters in France, Italy, and Spain, Volume 1, by Wm. Ham. Hall, State Engineer | Volume 2 |
1887 Map of Molino Cañon showing location of Pipelines, Reservoirs, etc. surveyed August 1887 by Fred Eaton, CE.| CF0076 from Clerk Filed Maps Table CF0001 to CF0099 |
Illustrated History of Los Angeles County California
Pages 262-264: The Water System
Page 264: in 1857 the city granted to William G. Dryden the right to place a water-wheel in the Zanja Madre to raise the water by machinery to supply the city with water; and this was followed by giving other citizens the right to take water from the zanja by wheels and hydraulic rams, for domestic purposes.
In 1858 a corporation known as the Los Angeles Water-works Company was formed, with a capital of $10,000. The object of this company was to introduce water into that part of the city on the northwest and above the zanja. This was followed by many other schemes for providing the city with water; yet they all seem to come to naught, for as late as 1866 the citizens were so poorly provided with water that it had to be hauled in carts from the river.
Pages 264-267: The Water Works
Page 265: A freshet in the Los Angeles River carried away the dam, which left the wheel without water to propel it, and, cutting off the water supply for the city, caused a water famine, and water-carts had to be resorted to in order to supply the inhabitants with water. The city refused to rebuild the dam. This company, composed of Griffin, Lazard and Beaudry, then rebuilt the dam (without which the wheel, flumes, reservoir and wooden pipes were useless), and built, nearly opposite the Catholic cemetery, in the Zanja Madre, a wheel to raise the water to a height sufficient to flow into the old wooden pipes until they could furnish a more permanent supply. At this time the Los Angeles City Water Company was organized. The old city works were entirely abandoned as useless.
Several years prior to the building of the Los Angeles City-water Works, W. G. Dryden, acquired a right from the city to erect a wheel in the city zanja to pump water into the city and also a grant of the Plaza in front of the old Catholic Church, on which to erect a reservoir to be supplied by pumps operated by the wheel he built in the zanja near the present junction of Upper Main and Alameda streets. Later on the pump and wheel of these works were moved to the junction of Marchessault and Alameda streets, and as before propelled by the waters of the zanja.
Patrick McFadden became interested and managed these water-works. From this reservoir on the Plaza, water was distributed through some of the streets and furnished several houses. These works were bought by the Los Angeles City Water Company, and were also abandoned, returning the Plaza to the city for a consideration.
1888 "Los Angeles," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 1.
of the South: Its Physical Geography, Climate, Resources, Routes of
Travel, and Health-resorts; Being a Complete Guide-book to Southern
California, by Walter Lindley and Joseph Pomeroy Widney
Pages 88-89: The water for drinking and domestic purposes is brought from the head-waters of the Los Angeles River in the Sierra Madre Mountains, and is supplied through an entirely different system. While the irrigating system is owned by the city, the house supply is owned by two corporations— the Los Angeles City Water Company, and The Citizens' Water Company. The former supplies the principal part of the city, the latter furnishing water for the residents of the hills in the western part of the city; only the water rates are regulated by law, being one dollar and a half per month for an average residence. There are also many wells within the city limits, water being reached at a depth of from twenty to eighty feet. The water from these wells is usully pumped by windmills.
1888 A brief history of the Los Angeles city water works as originally built by the city with ordinances, contracts, state ratification, affidavits, etc. Reprinted in 1897.
1890 "Los Angeles," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 2.
illustrated history of Southern California : embracing the counties of
San Diego, San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Orange, and the peninsula
of Lower California, from the earliest period of occupancy to the
present time; together with glimpses of their prospects; also,
full-page portraits of some of their eminent men, and biographical
mention of many of their pioneers and of prominent citizens of to-day
Page 773: History of Los Angeles County. The Water Supply.
1891 "Los Angeles," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 3.
1891 Map of Los Angeles, Cal., population of city and environs 65,000, by H. Elliott.
1895 "The New Water Supply of Los Angeles," by Wm. Mulholland, Superintendent Los Angeles City Water Company, Engineering News 33:37-38 (January 17, 1895)
1897 "The Water Rates Adopted," Los Angeles Herald, February 24, 1897, Page 6.
1897 "Judge Wright on the Water Contract," Los Angeles Herald, November 27, 1897, Page 6.
1897 "Los Angeles," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 4.
OF LOS ANGELES, Respondent, v. LOS ANGELES CITY WATER COMPANY et al.,
Appellants.—L. A. No. 655. CITY OF LOS ANGELES, Appellant, v. LOS
ANGELES CITY WATER COMPANY et al., Respondents.— L. A. No. 656. LOS
ANGELES CITY WATER COMPANY, Respondent, v. CITY OF LOS ANGELES et al.,
Appellants.—L. A. No. 657. CRYSTAL SPRINGS LAND AND WATER COMPANY,
Respondent, v. CITY OF LOS ANGELES et al. Appellants.—L. A. No. 658.,
124 Cal. 358, May 5, 1899, Supreme Court of the State of California.
Water Supply Of Los Angeles — Contract — Limitation — Consent Of Council—Acquiescence.— Under the contract of the city of Los Angeles with the Los Angeles City Water Company for thirty years' supply of water to the inhabitants of the city, made in 1868, when its population was less than six thousand, a provision that the water company should not take from the river more than ten inches of water for the use of its waterworks without the previous consent of the city council, whatever its meaning, cannot limit its right in supplying water to the city to ten inches measured under a four-inch pressure, without formal consent of the city council, where it appears that that amount was from the first totally inadequate, and that without objection and with the acquiescence of the city a supply of three hundred inches of water was originally taken and used to supply the city, and that the supply was, with like acquiescence, increased with the increase of the population to seven hundred inches.
Id.—Withdrawal Of Consent—Invalid Ordinance.— The city having acquiesced in the continued use of a greater amount of water by the water company from 1868 to 1896, and in its expenditure of vast sums of money in supplying the city with water in pursuance of the contract, upon the faith of the continuance of its right to use sufficient water for that purpose, could not withdraw its consent to such use within the period of the contract, and an ordinance passed by the city council in 1896 limiting the supply of the water company from the river to ten inches of water under a four-inch pressure, is invalid.
Id.—Agreement To Pay For Improvements—Expiration Of Contract—Right Of Possession—Tender.—Where the water company receives possession under the contract of a small line of wooden pipes, and agreed to construct iron pipes throughout the city, and build new waterworks, as the demands of the city required, and at the expiration of thirty years to return the whole to the city "upon payment to them of the value of the improvements made," et cetera, which the city agreed to pay, the contract is not one of lease; but whether so considered or not, the rights of the parties at the expiration of the contract are fixed by its terms, and not by legal implication; and the city cannot reclaim possession from the water company without first paying or tendering the value of the improvements.
Id.—Right To Water Rates—Receiver—Injunction.—The city, not having paid or tendered the value of the improvements, and having no right to the possession of the works, and no rights in the contracts between the water company and the rate payers, and being adequately protected by the value of the improved waterworks, it cannot, through the appointment of a receiver and by means of an injunction, prevent the water company from receiving payment of water rates after the expiration of the period fixed by the contract.
Id.—Rights Of Water Company—Mortgagee In Possession.—The water company is substantially in the position of a mortgagee in possession, having a lien on the property involved as security for the performance of the covenants of the city contained in the contract, and without tender of payment, its possession should not be disturbed or a receiver appointed.
Id.—Injunction Against City.—The water company, not having an adequate remedy at law, may enjoin the city from using its municipal power to take forcible possession of the waterworks.
1899 "The Supreme Court's Decision," Los Angeles Herald, May 7, 1899, Page 12.
1899 City of Los Angeles, Respondent, v. A.E. Pomeroy, 124 Cal. 597, June 3, 1899, Supreme Court of the State of California.
1899 "The Water Controversy in Los Angeles," by Fred Eaton, Mayor of Los Angeles, California Municipalities 1(4):99-106 (November, 1899). Thanks to Hal Eaton for this reference.
Story of a Plaza," by J.M. Guinn, Annual Publication of
the Historical Society of Southern California and Pioneer Register,
Los Angeles 4(3):247-256 (1899) | Also here
Pages 253-254: After its purification by hemp, the Old Plaza became a thing of utility, and was made the distributing point for a water system. In 1857, the City Council granted to Judge William G. Dryden the right to convey the water from his springs, located on the low ground southeast of where the River Station now is, "over, under and through the streets, lanes, alleys and roads of the city, and distribute it for domestic purposes."
Dryden raised the water by means of a pump propelled by a current wheel placed in the Zanja Madre into a reservoir on the Plaza, from whence it was distributed by pipes to the houses in the neighborhood. When Messrs. Griffin, Beaudry and their associates obtained the thirty years' lease of the city water works, one of the conditions of that lease was the building within a year at a cost not to exceed $1000 of an ornamental spring fountain on the Plaza. Another condition was the payment by the company to the city of $1500 a year for the rent of the water works.
Juan Bernard and Patrick McFadden, who had acquired possession of the Dryden franchise and water works, disposed of their system and the old brick reservoir on the Plaza came into the possession of the City Water Company, the successors of Griffin, Beaudry, et al.
A year passed and no fountain played on the Plaza, another year waned and passed away and still the Plaza was fountainless. A third year was passing and still the unsightly debris of the old reservoir disfigured the center of the square. At a meeting of the Council, Dec. 2, 1870, the late Judge Brunson, attorney of the City Water Company, submitted the following propositions as a settlement of what he styled "the much vexed question of the reservoir and Plaza improvements:"
The Water Company will remove the reservoir from the Plaza and deed all its rights and interests in and to the Plaza to the city of Los Angeles; will build a good and substantial fence around said Plaza; will lay it off in ornamental walks and grounds; will erect on it an ornamental fountain at a cost not to exceed $1,000 and will surrender to the city all city water scrip (about $3,000) now held by the company; provided said city will for the considerations named above reduce the rent ($1,500 a year) now paid by the company to said city under a certain contract made July 22, 1868, to the sum of $300 per annum. Some of the Councilmen demurred to giving up $1,200 a year "for very little return."
Then Judge Brunson executed one of those brilliant legal "coup de etats" for which he was famous. He threatened to bring suit against the city to defend the Water Company's rights. McFadden, one of the former owners of the reservoir, stated to the Council that the Water Company had no right to the Plaza except the right to use it as a reservoir site, and since the company had ceased to use the reservoir the Plaza reverted to the city. But the Council, frightened at the prospect of a law suit and fearful of losing the Plaza, hastened to compromise on the basis of $400 a year rental instead of the $1,500 specified in the original contract.
The fence was built, the walks were laid, and the ornamental fountain, too, was erected by the company, and for nearly thirty years it has spurted the crystal river water into the moss-covered basin where the gold fish play.
of Los Angeles County, California, with illustrations descriptive of
its scenery, residences, fine blocks and manufactories, by
John Albert Wilson
Pages 117-119 : Los Angeles Water-Works
Page 117: July 31, 1858, we read in the Southern Vineyard:- Petitions have been presented to the Common Council by citizens, soliciting permission to take water from the public zanja by wheels and hydraulic rams, for domestic purposes.
And again, December 24, 1858:- The Los Angeles Water-works company has been incorporated, with a capital of ten thousand dollars. The object of this company is to introduce water into that part of the city on the north-west, and above the zanja. The water is to be taken from springs that rise on lands belonging to one of the corporators. The stock is divided into twenty shares of five hundred dollars each. Fifteen shares are already taken and the books are now open at the Bella Union, the Montgomery, and at the office of the company, Temple's building, to receive subscriptions for the remaining five shares.
February 25, 1859, we are informed - The shaft and all the cast-iron work of the water wheel for the construction of the city water-works came down on the Santa Cruz to-day. Mechanics will proceed immediately to the construction and works. The cost of the casting in San Francisco was four hundred and sixty-five dollars.
In March, 1859, the Common Council of Los Angeles contemplated raising on the credit of the city two hundred thousand dollars, at twelve per cent, for twenty years to be used in bringing water from the Los Angeles river onto the plains south-west of the town, so as to bring them under cultivation. There was considerable opposition, but we find that in June following the Legislature authorized the borrowing of a sum not exceeding two hundred thousand dollars, to be used for the purpose of bringing water to the city for domestic purposes and irrigation, for lighting the city, etc. The committee selected to inquire to the best mode of bringing the water into the city, and perfecting a system of water appointed Geo. W. Gift as Secretary and Civil Engineer, to oversee the work.
In 1861 we find that four thousand dollars was raised for the purpose of bringing water into the city, and perfecting a system of water-works, yet all this labor must have gone for naught, for as late as 1863 (and according to Dr. Griffin 1866) citizens were but poorly supplied with water hauled in carts from the river.
August 25, 1864, we read — The work of laying pipes to conduct pure water into Los Angeles is progressing.
And on November 5th of that year — People are beginning to have the water brought into their houses from the pipes laid in the streets.
Little Testament," The Saturday Post (Los Angeles,
California), 1(17):11 (April 28, 1900)
How we pay the water company high rates for water stolen from the Los Angeles River. What the Testament issued by the company twelve years ago defined to be the amount of water taken from the river.
1900 Los Angeles v. Los Angeles City Water Co., 177 U.S. 558, April 30, 1900, United States Supreme Court.
1900 "Los Angeles City Water Co.," Los Angeles Herald, May 6, 1900, Page 2.
1900 Los Angeles City Water Co. v. City of Los Angeles, 103 Fed. 711, August 13, 1900, Circuit Court, Southern District of California.
Herald's History of Los Angeles City by Charles Dwight Willard
Page 298: In 1849 a special water department of the city government was organized, for at that time the city owned and operated is own water system. In 1857 Wm. Dryden was given a franchise to supply water drawn from the springs located on the land in the vicinity of the old Southern Pacific depot on San Fernando street, which was raised by means of a water wheel in the zanja. A brick reservoir was constructed in the plaza and some iron pipe was laid along Main and Los Angeles streets. This system was maintained until 1861.
1902 Annual Report of the Board of Water Commissioners of the Domestic Water Works System of the City of Los Angeles, for the Fiscal Year Ending November 30, 1902.
1903 Second Annual Report of the Board of Water Commissioners of the City of Los Angeles, for the Year Ending November 30, 1903.
1904 Third Annual Report of the Board of Water Commissioners of the City of Los Angeles for the Year Ending November 30, 1904.
1905 "Los Angeles and the Owens River," by Charles Amadon Moody, Out West 23(4):417-442 (October, 1905
1905 "The Social Significance of the Owens River Project," by William E. Smythe, Out West 23(4):443-453 (October, 1905)
1905 Water Commissioners Report for the Year Ending November 30, 1905, including Report on Water Supply by Wm. Mulholland, Superintendent.
1905 Report of the National Board of Fire Underwriters by its Committee of Twenty on the City of Los Angeles, Cal.
1906 Fifth Annual Report of the Board of Water Commissioners of the City of Los Angeles for the Year Ending November 30, 1906.
1907 Sixth Annual Report of the Board of Water Commissioners of the City of Los Angeles for the Year Ending November 30, 1907.
History of California and an Extended History of Its Southern Coast
Counties, Volume 1, James Miller Guinn
Pages 338-346: Chapter XLIX. Water System of Los Angeles.
1908 Seventh Annual Report of the Board of Water Commissioners of the City of Los Angeles for the Year Ending November 30, 1908.
Angeles Times, October 10, 1909, Page 7. [Benjamin S.
Eaton's son Frederick Eaton was a colleague of William Mulholland with the
Los Angeles City Water Company.]
Knew Trials in Early Days. Father of Irrigation in Southland Died. Has Credit for the First City Water Works Here. Funeral of B.S. Eaton to be Held on Tuesday.
Benjamin S. Eaton, a pioneer of Los Angeles, died yesterday afternoon at his home at No. 402 Grand View Avenue.
He is credited with having been the one who conceived and constructed the first city water works for Los Angeles, where the inhabitants has before been watered by the bucket and barrel brigade. Years afterward he devised and constructed the first waterworks for Pasadena and a number of the smaller cities of Southern California.
Took Water From River. In those days every one had to go to the river for water and either carry it in buckets or haul it in barrels. To Mr. Eaton was given the task of bringing the river water around the hills by conduit to furnish the city with water. The water was then taken out of the river at the old woolen mills.
1908 Topographic map of the Los Angeles aqueduct and adjacent territory
1909 Eighth Report of the Board of Water Commissioners of the City of Los Angeles for the Period from Dec. 1, 1908 to June 30, 1909.
1910 Ninth Annual Report of the Board of Water Commissioners of the City of Los Angeles for the Year Ending June 30, 1910.
1910 First Annual Report of the Board of Public Utilities City of Los Angeles covering the period from organization of the board to the close of the fiscal year June 30, 1910.
1911 Tenth Annual Report of the Board of Public Service Commissioners of the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Water Works and Supply for the Year Ending June 30, 1911.
1912 Second and Third Annual Report of the Board of Public Utilities Los Angeles, California, June 1, 1910 to June 30th, 1912
1913 Fourth Annual Report of the Board. Department of Public Utilities Los Angeles, California. July 1, 1912 to June 30, 1913.
1914 Fifth Annual Report of the Board of Public Utilities Los Angeles, California. July 1, 1913 to June 30, 1914.
1915 Sixth Annual Report of the Board of Public Utilities Los Angeles, California. July 1, 1914 to June 30, 1915.
1915 A History of
California and an Extended History of Los Angeles and Environs: Also
Containing Biographies of Well Known Citizens of the Past and Present,
by James Miller Guinn
Pages 299-321: Chapter XLIV. The Owens River Aqueduct.
Pages 390-399: Chapter LVI. Water System of Los Angeles.
Page 391: Under this system, a brick reservoir was built in the center of the plaza. It was supplied by a water wheel located at San Fernando [later Main street] and Alameda streets. Later on the wheel and pump were moved to the northeastern corner of Alameda and Marchessault streets, where the water company's office building now stands, and as before, was propelled by the waters of the zanja. Iron pipes were laid from this reservoir on the plaza and water was distributed to a number of houses along the principal streets.
1916 "Sanitary Features of Los Angeles Aqueduct," by Burt A. Heinly, Municipal Journal 40(2):35-37 (January 13, 1916)
1916 "Purity of the Los Angeles Water Supply," Municipal Journal 40(2):45 (January 13, 1916)
1916 Seventh Annual Report of the Board of Public Utilities Los Angeles, California. July 1, 1915 to June 30, 1916.
1916 Fifteenth Annual Report of the Board of Public Service Commissioners of the city of Los Angeles, California for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 1916.
1916 Complete Report on Construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct: With Introductory Historical Sketch; Illustrated with Maps, Drawings and Photographs
1917 Eighth Annual Report of the Board of Public Utilities Los Angeles, California. July 1, 1916 to June 30, 1917.
1918 Ninth Annual Report of the Board of Public Utilities Los Angeles, California. July 1, 1917 to June 30, 1918.
1918 Seventeenth Annual report of the Board of Public Service Commissioners of the city of Los Angeles, California for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 1918.
Annual Report of the Board of Public Utilities Los Angeles, California.
July 1, 1918 to June 30, 1919.
1920 Eleventh Annual Report of the Board of Public Utilities Los Angeles, California. July 1, 1919 to June 30, 1920.
1921 Twelfth Annual Report of the Board of Public Utilities Los Angeles, California. July 1, 1920 to June 30, 1921.
1922 Thirteenth Annual Report of the Board of Public Utilities Los Angeles, California. July 1, 1921 to June 30, 1922.
1920 "A Brief Historical Sketch of the Growth of the Los Angeles City Water Department," by William Mulholland, Public Service, Bulletin Issued Monthly by the Department of Public Service of the City of Los Angeles, California. 4(6):1-8 (June, 1920)
1921 Plate 3 of Baist's real estate atlas of surveys of Los Angeles, California, 1921, showing location of the Plaza and the Los Angeles Water Co. Meter Department, which was the location of Dryden's water wheel.
1921 Plate 4 of Baist's real estate atlas of surveys of Los Angeles, California, 1921, showing location of Beaudry's 1872 water works at Alameda and College streets. This was the site of Abila springs that was the source of Dryden's earlier water works.
1921 Plate 5 of Baist's real estate atlas of surveys of Los Angeles, California, 1921, showing location (on L.A. City Water Co. lot) of the reservoir built by Sainsevain north of the Catholic cemetery.
1921 Plate 28 of Baist's real estate atlas of surveys of Los Angeles, California, 1921, showing location of water works by Elysion Park. This is where the city's water wheel was installed in 1864.
1921 Los Angeles from the Mountains to the Sea: With Selected Biography of Actors and Witnesses to the Period of Growth and Achievement, Volume 1, by John Steven McGroarty. | Volume 2 | Volume 3 |
Years in Southern California, 1853-1913, by Harris
Newmark. Newmark arrived in Los Angeles around 1854.
Pages 115-118: Zanja water was being used for irrigation when I arrived. A system of seven or eight zanjas, or open ditches – originated, I have no doubt, by the Catholic Fathers – was then in operation, although it was not placed under the supervision of a Zanjero, or Water Commissioner, until 1854. These small surface canals connected at the source with the zanja madre, or mother ditch, on the north side of the town, from which they received their supply; the zanja madre itself being fed from the river, at a point a long way from town. The Zanjero issued permits, for which application had to be made some days in advance, authorizing the use of the water for irrigation purposes. A certain amount was paid for the use of this water during a period of twelve hours, without any limit as to the quantity consumed, and the purchaser was permitted to draw his supply both day and night.
Water for domestic uses was a still more expensive luxury. Inhabitants living in the immediate neighborhood of zanjas, or near the river, helped themselves; but their less-fortunate brethren were served by a carrier, who charged fifty cents a week for one bucket a day, while he did not deliver on Sunday at all. Extra requirements were met on the same basis; and in order to avoid an interruption in the supply, prompt settlement of the charge had to be made every Saturday evening. This character was known as Bill the Waterman. He was a tall American, about thirty or thirty-five years old; he had a mustache, wore long, rubber boots coming nearly to his waist, and presented the general appearance of a laboring man; and his somewhat rickety vehicle, drawn by two superannuated horses, slowly conveyed the man and his barrel of about sixty gallons capacity from house to house. He was a wise dispenser, and quite alert to each household's needs.
Bill obtained his supply from the Los Angeles River, where at best it was none too clean, in part owing to the frequent passage of the river by man and beast. Animals of all kinds, including cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, mules and donkeys, crossed and recrossed the stream continually, so that the mud was incessantly stirred up, and the polluted product proved unpalatable and even, undoubtedly, unhealthful. To make matters worse, the river and the zanjas were the favorite bathing-places, all the urchins of the hamlet disporting themselves there daily, while most of the adults, also, frequently immersed themselves. Both the yet unbridged stream and the zanjas therefore, were repeatedly contaminated, although common sense should have protected the former to a greater or less extent; while as to the latter there were ordinances drawn up by the Common Council of 1850 which prohibited the throwing of filth into fresh water designed for common use, and also forbade the washing of clothes on the zanja banks. This latter regulation was disobeyed by the native women, who continued to gather there, dip their soiled garments in the water, place them on stones and beat them with sticks, a method then popular for the extraction of dirt.
Besides Bill the Waterman, Dan Schieck was a water-vender, but at a somewhat later date. Proceeding to the zanja in a curious old cart, he would draw the water he needed, fresh every morning, and make daily deliveries at customers' houses for a couple of dollars a month. Schieck forsook this business, however, and went into draying, making a specialty of meeting Banning's coaches and transferring the passengers to their several destinations. He was a frugal man, and accumulated enough to buy the southwest corner of Franklin and Spring streets. As a result, he left property of considerable value. He died about twenty-five years ago; Mrs. Schieck, who was a sister of John Frohling, died in 1874.
Just one more reference to the drinking-water of that period. When delivered to the customer, it was emptied into ollas, or urn-shaped vessels, made from burned clay or terra cotta. Every family and every store was provided with at least one of these containers which, being slightly porous, possessed the virtue (of particular value at a time when there was no ice) of keeping the water cool and refreshing. The olla commonly in use had a capacity of four or five gallons, and was usually suspended from the ceiling of a porch or other convenient place; while attached to this domestic reservoir, as a rule, was a long-handled dipper generally made from a gourd. Filters were not in use, in consequence of which fastidious people washed out their ollas very frequently. These wide-mouthed pots recall to me an appetizing Spanish dish, known as olla-podrida, a stew consisting of various spiced meats, chopped fine, and an equally varied assortment of vegetables, partaken of separately; all bringing to mind, perhaps, Thackeray's sentimental Ballad of Bouillabaisse. Considering these inconveniences, how surprising it is that the Common Council, in 1853, should have frowned upon Judge William G. Dryden's proposition to distribute, in pipes, all the water needed for domestic use.
Pages 210-211: 1857. It was not until this year that, on the corner of Alameda and Bath streets, Oscar Macy, City Treasurer in 1887-88, opened the first public bath house, having built a water-wheel with small cans attached to the paddles, to dip water up from the Alameda zanja, as a medium for supplying his tank. He provided hot water as well as cold. Oscar charged fifty cents a bath, and furnished soap and towels.
Despite the inconvenience and expense of obtaining water for the home, it was not until February 24th that Judge W.G. Dryden who, with a man named McFadden, had established the nucleus of a system was granted a franchise to distribute water from his land, and to build a water-wheel in the zanja madre. The Dryden, formerly known as the Abila Springs and later the source of the Beaudry supply, were near the site selected for the San Fernando Street Railway Station; and from these springs water was conveyed by a zanja to the Plaza. There, in the center, a brick tank, perhaps ten feet square and fifteen feet high, was constructed; and this was filled by means of pumps, while from the tank wooden pipes distributed water to the consumer.
Pages 349-350: 1865. I have spoken of the use, in 1853, of river water for drinking, and the part played by the private water-carrier. This system was still largely used until the fall when David W. Alexander leased all the public water-works for four years, together with the privilege of renewing the lease another four or six years. Alexander was to pay one thousand dollars rental a year, agreeing also to surrender the plant to the City at the termination of his contract. On August 7th, Alexander assigned his lease to Don Louis Sainsevain, and about the middle of October Sainsevain made a new contract. Damien Marchessault associated himself with Don Louis and together they laid pipes from the street now known as Macy throughout the business part of the city, and as far (!) south as First Street. These water pipes were constructed of pine logs from the mountains of San Bernardino, bored and made to join closely at the ends; but they were continually bursting, causing springs of water that made their way to the surface of the streets.
Pages 365-366: 1867. On November 18th, the Common Council contracted with Jean Louis Sainsevain to lay some five thousand feet of two- and three-inch iron pipe at a cost of about six thousand dollars in scrip ; but the great flood of that winter caused Sainsevain so many failures and losses that he transferred his lease, in the spring or summer of 1868, to Dr. J.S. Griffin, Prudent Beaudry, and Solomon Lazard, who completed Sainsevain's contract with the City.
Dr. Griffin and his associates then proposed to lease the water-works from the City for a term of fifty years, but soon changed this to an offer to buy. When the matter came up before the Council for adoption, there was a tie vote, whereupon Murray Morrison, just before resigning as President of the Council, voted in the affirmative, his last official act being to sign the franchise. Mayor Aguilar, however, vetoed the ordinance, and then Dr. Griffin and his colleagues came forward with a new proposition. This was to lease the works for a period of thirty years, and to pay fifteen hundred dollars a year in addition to performing certain things promised in the preceding proposition.
At this stage of the negotiations, John Jones made a rival offer, and P. McFadden, who had been an unsuccessful bidder for the Sainsevain lease, tried with Juan Bernard to enter into a twenty-year contract. Notwithstanding these other offers, however, the City authorities thought it best, on July 22d, 1868, to vote the franchise to Dr. Griffin, S. Lazard and P. Beaudry, who soon transferred their thirty-year privileges to a corporation known as the Los Angeles City Water Company, in which they became trustees. Others associated in this enterprise were Eugene Meyer, I.W. Hellman, J.G. Downey, A.J. King, Stephen Hathaway Mott – Tom's brother – W.H. Perry and Charles Lafoon. A spirited fight followed the granting of the thirty-year lease, but the water company came out victorious.
1927 Twenty-Sixth Annual report of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners of the City of Los Angeles for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1927
Up with the City," by Mary Timpe Smith, The Los Angeles Times,
October 19, 1930, Page K5 | part
Biography of Fred Eaton and his father, Benjamin Smith Eaton.
1931 "The History of the Domestic Water Supply of Los Angeles," by Elisabeth Spriggs, Master's Thesis, University of Southern California
1931 History and
Reminiscences, Los Angeles City and County, by William Andrew
Page 130: 1853. In this year the council turned down a proposition to distribute water for domestic use in a system of pipes.
Page 145: 1857. William Dryden was given a franchise to supply water from the springs in the upper part of town. The water was raised by a wheel in the main zanja, and stored in a brick reservoir in the Plaza; thence distributed in pipes along Main and Los Angeles streets.
Page 150: 1861. The frequent floods of this period, with the consequent destruction of the various city water systems, served to discourage the authorities from attempting permanent municipal operation of the water supply, and propositions of all kinds looking to private control of this utility were offered and considered during the decade. In 1861, water "script"— an easily negotiable form of municipal obligation—was issued to the amount of $15,000, and a year later the city petitioned the legislature to be allowed to issue bonds to the amount of $25,000 to construct a water system.
Page 151: 1862. The heavy rain which had started December 24th of the preceding year brought disaster and tribulation into the beginning of this year. All of the city's water system was destroyed, and it was probably to replace this system that the water script to the amount of $15,000 was issued and a call for $25,000 in bonds was made.
Page 167: 1865. In this year the city leased its water distributing system to D. W. Alexander at a rental of $1,000 a year for four years. Alexander transferred the lease to J.L. Sainsevain, who took into partnership with him ex-Mayor D. Marchessault. The firm continued operations for three years. They procured pine logs which were bored and fitted together endwise, forming service pipes, which were laid as far south as First street. The system proved anything but satisfactory, as the pipes were continually bursting and flooding the streets. Ex-Mayor Marchessault was so mortified by this failure that he finally committed suicide in the Council chamber.
Pages 171-172: 1867. The Council contracted for 5,000 feet of two-inch iron pipe, for the distribution of water, the laying of which was completed in the following year.
1868. This year there was another flood, and the city water service was again demoralized. In this year J.L. Sainsevain sold his contract with the city to Dr. John S. Griffin, Prudent Beaudry and Solomon Lazard. These gentlemen organized the City Water Company, and made a contract for thirty years in which they undertook to improve the works, build a fountain
in the Plaza and supply the citizens with domestic water for which they were to be compensated by the users. For this privilege the company agreed to pay the city a yearly rental of $1,500. At the end of the thirty-year period the city was privileged to buy back the works at a price to be fixed by arbitrators, A short time afterward a complaisant council
reduced the yearly rental to $400. On January 20th, D. Marchessault, who had been associated with Sainsevain in the early water system, probably overcome by chagrin over his financial failure, committed suicide in the Council Chamber.
Page 203: 1872. This year began the improvement of the extensive hill section in the west of town. Prudent Beaudry was the promoter. He was unable to secure any assistance from the Council in the matter of opening and grading streets; and the City Water Company refused to lay pipes and supply water. So Mr. Beaudry undertook these heavy enterprises on his own account. Mr. Beaudry obtained possession of a tract of several acres on upper Alameda street which had one of the notable springs of the early days, and here he excavated a reservoir of about fifty by one hundred feet, which was self-filling. This he roofed over, and adjoining it built a power-house equipped with a Hooker pump with a capacity of 40,000 gallons per hour. At an elevation of 240 feet in the hills he built two reservoirs, with a storage capacity of 3,500,000 gallons, also roofed over.
With a main pipe running from the spring to the storage reservoirs the pump forced the water up so that it was available to supply the hill section by gravity through a network of eleven miles of iron pipe. The cost of the plant was approximately $95,000.
Pages 319-320: 1898. Another important event was the maturing, July 22d, of the thirty years' contract with Messrs. Griffin, Beaudry and Lazard for the leasing of the public water works. These rights had been transferred to the Los Angeles City Water Company and the plant had been increased to many times its original extent. The terms of the contract provided that, at its maturity, appraisers should be appointed to determine the value of the property, and that the city should have he right of repurchase at the established price. The water works had proven a very profitable investment, and the company was financially strong. More than that, the company had thought it necessary to go into politics in order to protect its interests, and the "Water Company Ring" had become the Bogie Man in every city election. This Water Company Ring, by combining with the railroad machine, which dominated the politics of the State, dictating the nominations of both the old political parties, was actually a political menace. With such financial resources and such political backing, the Water Company, reluctant to give up its profitable business but seeking on the contrary to renew its hold on the community, was a formidable antagonist. But the people of Los Angeles were determined to end the private monopoly, with all of its concurrent menaces, and acquire the water works in accordance with the contract. The question of the value of the plant was submitted to arbitration. The City Council chose James C. Kays as its representative and the Water Company named Charles T. Healey. After mueh time spent in collecting data and discussing values, the two arbitrators were unable to agree, and named as the third member of the board Col. George H. Mendell, a retired army engineer. This board presented its report early in the following year.
Pages 335-336: 1902. After four years of litigation, which terminated favorably to the city, the water system was taken over in February this year. The city retained the experienced officials from the old water company, with William Mulholland in charge. At the time of the transfer the mains consisted mostly of riveted steel pipe, and 70 per cent of the distributing system was 2-inch screw pipe. The system was inadequate for the service required, to say nothing of prospective growth. From the time the agitation had started, six years before, the Water Company had done little or nothing to extend or improve the works, and as little as possible by way of repairs. The pipes were old and rusty and had to be replaced in toto. This work of rebuilding had to be prosecuted gradually and circumspectly, so that no section of the city should be cut off from its daily supply. The work was carried on with vigor until all of the old pipes had been replaced by larger and heavier ones, and meanwhile new and larger reservoirs were provided for storage, and the intake from the river was much improved.
of Los Angeles: From the Arrival of the First White Men to the Civil
War, 1769-1861, by Joseph Gregg Layne
Page 77: Again in 1857, John G. Nichols served the city as Mayor, and the first real effort was made to establish an adequate water supply system, when a franchise was granted to Judge William G. Dryden. Water was raised from the zanja and stored in a brick reservoir, built in the center of the Plaza
City that Grew, by Boyle
Workman, as told to Carolina Walker. Workman was born in Los
Angeles in 1868, his father William
Workman had moved there in 1857.
Page 57: In addition, he [Dryden} had the right to place the first water wheel in the Zanja Madre, which was to raise the water to another zanja that carried it to the first force pump in the pueblo, located at the base of a brick reservoir, about 15 by 30 feet.
In addition, he had the right to place the first water wheel in the Zanja Madre, which was to raise the water to another zanja that carried it to the first force pump in the pueblo, located at the base of a brick reservoir, about 15 by 30 feet. This he erected in the Plaza, which at that time was simply a treeless, vine-less plain.
The permission was given for the construction of this water wheel, with the restriction that he should infringe upon no individual water rights, and not hamper the free flow of the zanja.
From that reservoir, wooden pipes were laid to the homes of consumers fastidious enough to object to drinking and cooking with waters that man and beast had used for bathing purposes.
Pages 83-84: The wheel was propelled by the current of water running through a flume, and it raised the water 36 feet. It was conveyed by a flume and a zanja to the reservoir built by Sainsevain north of the old Catholic cemetery which stood for years on North Broadway and Bishop Road. The wheel was erected on the Zanja Madres, just north of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company yards at Elysian Park.
on Los Angeles Water Supply, by Thomas Brooks, assisted by
Laurence E. Goit, September, 1938. Los Angeles
Page 5: The winter immediately following was marked by a flood that washed out the new city dam and Dryden's water wheel. The city had the dam rebuilt; and Dryden installed a new water wheel for his system. [This is the first reference to Dryden's water wheel being washed out in the flood of 1861/62, which doesn't appear to have happened.]
1948 "How the Thirty-Year Water Lease was Made," J. Gregg Layne, Intake 25:10 (November 1948)
1950 "Government and Water: A Study of the Influence of Water upon Governmental Institutions and practices in the Development of Los Angeles," by Vincent A. Ostron, June, 1950, disseration in Political Science, UCLA | text |
1952 Water and Power for a Great City: A History of the Department of Water and Power of the City of Los Angeles to December, 1950, by Greg Layne | Table of Contents |
1962 "Los Angeles," from Public Water Supplies of the 100 Largest Cities in the United States, 1962, US Geological Survey Water Supply Paper 1812, by Charles Norman Durfor and Edith Becker
Angeles: Epic of a City, by Lynn Bowman
Page 159: As the townspeople began to want a more dependable supply of water than the variable Los Angeles River, a brick reservoir to store water was built in the center of the Plaza. To distribute water through the downtown area, a pipe system was needed. Metal pipe would be difficult to obtain, however, and no engineer was available for advice; so when Mayor Damien Marchessault and Jean Louis Sainsevain offered to save the day, the city made a contract with them. The "pipes" were pine trees: holes were bored the length of each tree, and the logs were wired together. No unexectedly they kept leaking
Angeles in Civil War Days, 1860-1865, by John W. Robinson
Pages 20-21: Water is a major concern. The zanjas (irrigation ditches), relics of Spanish days, still criss-cross town, but they are in sufficient for the growing city's needs and pose a sanitation problem. Presently the water comes from the Los Angeles river and springs north of town. A large water wheel hoists the water into a master zanja, which carries it to a brick reservoir in the Plaza. From here, iron pipes recently installed take the water down Main and Los Angeles streets into the business district. The system, built by William Dryden, is an improvement over the old method but remains inadequate.
1978 "Los Angeles and the Owens River Aqueduct," by Gordon R. Miller, Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Department of History, Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, California.
1983 Water & Power: The Conflict over Los Angeles Water Supply In The Owens Valley, by by William L. Kahrl
1997 "51 Miles of Concrete: The Exploitation and Transformation of the Los Angeles River," by Blake Gumprecht, Southern California Quarterly 79(4):431-486 (Winter, 1977)
Los Angeles River: Its Life, Death, and Possible Rebirth, by
Pages 63-69: The development of a domestic water system.
Pages 63-64: Dryden ... erected a forty-foot water wheel in the Zanja Madre (fig.2.8). Storms in December 1861, however, destroyed the water wheel. After the failure of the Dryden system, city official in August 1862 contracted with Jean Louis Sainsevain, nephew of pioneering vintner Jean Louis Vignes, to construct an improved system, though one less elaborate than the one that which had been recommended. [The water wheel shown is the city's wheel built by Perry and Woodworth in 1863. No contemporary evidence suggests that Dryden's water wheel was damaged or destroyed in the 1861 freshet, and the Dryden system remained in service until it was sold in late 1869 to the Los Angeles City Water Company.]
2002 William Mulholland and the Rise of Los Angeles, by Catherine Mulholland
2003 "The History and Archaeology of the Zanja Madre, Los Angeles, California," Cogstone Resource Management, Inc.
2007 "The Zanjas and the Pioneer Water Systems for Los Angeles," by Abraham Hoffman and Teena Stern, Southern California Quarterly 89(1):1-22 (Spring 2007)
L.A.: Race, Space, and Municipal Power in Los Angeles, 1781-1894,
by David Samuel Torres-Rouff
Page 147: Dryden's pipe dream finally came true. In lieu of the $1,000 still owed him, he graciously accepted a thirty-five-acre plot of vacant city land. The grant included the Abila Springs north-northeast of the Plaza (near the present day intersection of Alameda and College Streets), which were fed by a subterranean flow of the Los Angeles River. [The 35-acre donation lot that Dryden received was lot 3 in block 26 of Hancock's Survey (see 1856 and 1857 references and 1884 map). This land was southwest of the corner of Diamond street (now Beverly Boulevard) and Alvarado street, west of downtown.]
Page 148: Figure 4.3. William Dryden's Water Wheel, late 1850s. [This is actually the city's water wheel installed on the Los Angeles River in 1863.]
Page 175-176: In 1865 citizens complained that Sainsevain was drawing water from the main zanja to supplement his reservoir. [Sainsevain actually complained about Dryden and the Los Angeles Water Works Company taking water from the zanja madre rather than from his own lands (see 1865 reference above).]
2015 Water to the Angels: William Mulholland, His Monumental Aqueduct, and the Rise of Los Angeles, by Les Standiford
2016 Floodpath: The Deadliest Man-Made Disaster of 20th-Century America and the Making of Modern Los Angeles, by Jon Wilkman
2016 Heavy Ground: William Mullholland and the St. Francis Dam Disaster, by Norris Hundley, Jr. and Donald Jackson.
2016 The Incredible Sainsevain Brothers
2017 Municipal Water and Power, 1902-1980, August, 2017. Los Angeles Historic Resources Survey
Water Works: Documenting Water History in Los Angeles
Water in Early Los Angeles, Water and Power Associates
Historical Photo Collection of the Department of Water and Power, City of Los Angeles
Los Angeles Aqueduct Digital Platform
City of Los Angeles, Records Inventory Report Cited above as LACA with relevant Box number, volume, and pages.
Department of Water and Power Records Inventory
City Council Minutes 1850-1979
LA County Property Assessment Information
LA County Land Record Information
St. Francis Dam At two and a half minutes before midnight on March 12, 1928 the dam failed catastrophically and the resulting flood killed up to 600 people.
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (Wikipedia). This includes the statement "The three men created the Los Angeles City Water Company, which violated many of the provisions of its lease on the Los Angeles River, including secretly tunneling under the river to extract 150 times as much water as the lease allowed," which is untrue as the California Supreme Court held in 1899 that the city of fully aware of and acquiesced to how much water the company was taking from the river.
Los Angeles Star Collection, 1851-1864, USC Digital Library. Thank to Hal Eaton for directing me to this resource.
Los Angeles Star database from Los Angeles County Public Library
Solomon Lazard: Major Jewish Pioneer of Early Los Angles’ Infrastructure
John Strother Griffin
© 2018 Morris A. Pierce