A rather rare sight – the temporarily drained Silver Lake Reservoir – reminded me once again how important water is to Los Angeles.
It is true that water is important to all regions and everyone, but Los Angeles could only become what it is today because of an engineering feat: The 233 m long Los Angeles Aqueduct, projected and overseen by William Mulholland (1855 – 1935).
Once the water came to the city, from 1913 on, the city started to grow at a fast pace. So fast, that Owens Lake, where the water came from, was completely drained by 1928. This fact led to the legendary Los Angeles Water Wars, upon which the movie “Chinatown” is based.
Mr. Mulholland continued on to find new sources for water to bring to the city. He was a highly esteemed and revered character, who once was even considered to become the mayor of Los Angeles. However, when asked whether he would run for office, he reportedly said: “I’d rather give birth to a porcupine backward.” Smart guy.
Sadly his career ended rather abruptly with the tragedy of the St. Francis Dam. After this catastrophe he lived the few remaining years of his life in self-imposed isolation.
Today Mulholland Drive and the fountain at the corner of Los Feliz Boulevard and Riverside serve as a reminder of the man who played a major part in shaping the city of Los Angeles.