Mulholland Memorial Fountain
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"There it is, take it." This is what William Mulholland said at the dedication of the Los Angeles Aqueduct on November 5, 1913, conducted at the Cascades at the base of the Newhall Pass on the north side of the San Fernando Valley. Mulholland, an Irish immigrant, was a self educated engineer and the first superintendent and chief engineer for Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). Mulholland was the driving force behind the engineering marvel that brought water from Owens Valley to Los Angeles hundreds of miles south, over hills and valleys, without the use of pumps. The aqueduct is still in use today, although it was extended further north to the Mono Lake area some years later. The aqueduct has long been controversial as the residents of Owans Valley still feel that Los Angeles stole their water and ruined there once productive farms. As was once said, "Whisky is for drinking, water is for fighting over." Recent mitigation has returned some water to the Owans Valley and mono Lake. Despite this, Los Angles would still be a town of a a few hundred thousand people (rather than several million) had it not been for the aqueduct. While William Mulhulland had a remarkable career and is largely responsible for the growth of the City of Los Angeles, he was also responsible for one of the greatest tragedies in California history, the collapse of the Saint Francis Dam on March 12, 1928. Mulholland took full responsibility amd never recovered from the emotional guilt of this accident, but recent geological studies have shown that the technology of the day could not have detected the faulty bedrock beneath the dam. Mulholland retired shortly after the dam failure and died in 1935. |
The fountain, designed by Walter S. Clayberg, was dedicated on August 1, 1940. The fountain, build by LADWP crews commemorates the work of William Mulholland. The fountain is 90 feet in diameter with colorful night lights. As of this writing ,the fountain is in the final stages of a renovation to mark the centennial of the aqueduct.
City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument number 162, declared in 1976..
The inscription on the plaque states,"
To William Mulholland
A penniless Irish immigrant boy,
Who rose be the force of his industry,
Intelligence, integrity and intreidity
To be a sturdy American citizen, a
Engineering genius, a whole-hearted
Humanitarian, the father of his city's
Water system and Builder of the
Los Angeles Aqueduct:
This memorial is gratefully dedicated
By those who are the recipients if his
Unselfish bounty and the beneficiaries
of his prophetic vision."
Southwest corner of Los Feliz Boulevard and Riverside Drive in a small park adjacent to the southeast entrance to Griffith Park.
Open daylight hours.
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