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The fathers of the Los Angeles Aqueduct

The fathers of the Los Angeles Aqueduct

1906: Los Angeles Aqueduct engineers meet to compare notes, from left: Joseph B. Lippincott, Fred Eaton and William Mulholland.

This photograph appeared in the Aug. 6, 1906, Los Angeles Times accompanying an article claiming the Owens River had excess water available for use. But the real importance of this image is explained on the Water and Power Associates website, The Story of the Los Angeles Aqueduct:

In 1904, Fred Eaton and J. B. Lippincott traveled to Yosemite Valley on a family camping trip. They crossed the Sierra at Tioga Pass and headed south to Bishop for supplies, and eventually back to Los Angeles through the Owens Valley. During that trip Eaton began making plans that would bring water to a growing city and launch a long conflict.

Upon his return to Los Angeles, Eaton began to act quickly. Aware that Mulholland was searching for a new source of supply for Los Angeles, Eaton persuaded Mulholland to return to the valley with him. During that trip he convinced Mulholland that the Owens River could provide Los Angeles with a reliable source of water.

Eaton visited the Owens Valley again in 1905 and began to purchase land for the City of Los Angeles. He gave the impression that he was working for the U.S. Reclamation Service on a public irrigation project, angering local residents when they discovered he was buying land and water rights for Los Angeles.

For more check out the Los Angeles Times multimedia project The L.A. Aqueduct at 100.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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