California Pt. 2Los Angeles and Panama Canal By Kyle Fluck History 141
Cadillac DesertMulholland’s Dream The Los Angeles aqueduct was the first waterway of the fast growing city. It was built because there was a lack of minerals, resources, and overall water flow. The only source of water the city had was the L.A. River and it dried up due to the rapid expansion of the city and its inhabitants. A man by the name of William Mulholland would be the solution to this predicament.
Cadillac DesertMulholland’s Dream William Mulholland was a hydraulic engineer who became the superintendent of the Los Angeles water system. He used his engineer background to help him with the design and building of the Los Angeles aqueduct. His job made him one of the highest paid public employee in California during the time. In 1904 it was decided that the water would need to be taken from the Owens River, the valley in which the Owens river sat was one of the most intense places in terms of weather. In order to move water from the Owens river Mulholland had to move the water over a 200 mile terrain of valleys and hills.
Cadillac DesertMuhholland’s Dream The construction for the Los Angeles aqueduct started in 1905, it required over 100,000 workers to complete. As stated before Owens valley had severe weather which left the workers on the aqueduct working in miserable heat of max temperature of 110 degrees. Due to the extensiveness of this project President Roosevelt made Owens valley off limits to any further development by surrounding it with a National forest and protected land. The aqueduct was an enormous task, one of the biggest known to the world at the time, Mulholland did such a great job on it that it was finished ahead of time and under budget and so well done that it is still used to this day. The aqueduct ended up providing four times more water than was needed, the building of the aqueduct led to Los Angeles county being one of the most productive farming lands in America in 1920.
Cadillac DesertMulholland’s Dream Like every good thing there comes bad, with the building of the aqueduct came greed, everyone wanted a piece of the valuable water. 4 years after the aqueduct was built water started to run out again, this caused the people of L.A to take control of the aqueduct and completely open it up. The dam that held the water back was the St. Francis Dam and when the citizens released it they unreleased a massive destructive force. The water ruined whole communities and took many lives, just as many as the San Francisco earthquake. In 1934 Mulholland took on another project of getting water from the Colorado river. It ended up that L.A started using water from Mono Lake which it does to this day.
Panama Canal The panama canal was a 50 mile short cut to the Pacific ocean. It was built by Count Ferdinand de Lesseps who built the canal like that of an elevator by water for ships whose “locks” would lift the ships 85 feet. One single “lock” was bigger than the Eiffel Tower. The canals purpose was to shorten trade and travel routes by up to 8,000 miles.
Panama Canal The Panama Canal took the lives of 20,000 workers due to disease and injury. Many other problems arose for the building of the canal, the biggest was the fact that the funding to build it ran out due to Lessep ignoring advisors and the reality that the technology to build it did not exist at the time. In 1889 the Canal Company tumbled, it led to many trusting investors to lose their entire life savings and it became the biggest financial failure up to date. In 1903 a new Canal treaty was made for the U.s. to start up where the French had left off, they bought the rights to the dam for 10 million.
Panama Canal When the U.S. took over President Roosevelt appointed John Stevens the chief engineer, he was the finest railroad engineer at the time. His first move was ordering thousands of feet of wire net to protect his workers from mosquitoes and disease. Unfortunately Stevens quit the job for unknown reasons. Colonel George Washington Goethals took his place and led the Canal to completion.
Panama Canal The canal was finished before schedule and under budget for the U.S. It was designed to power itself, which saved it quite a lot of cost in energy to work it. To this day the canal remains a neutral waterway for any nation that needs its use, it is a huge short cut for travelers and traders. It is one of the wonders of the world and one of Americas greatest completed projects, a true piece of history.