William Mulholland Memorial Fountain, Walter S. Clayberg, Designer, 1940, a photo by Michael Locke on Flickr.
William Mulholland was a 'penniless Irish immigrant' and a self-taught engineer who became head of the Los Angeles Bureau of Water Works & Supply at a time when business and civic leaders in Los Angeles were realizing that development would remain limited without additional water resources. Mulholland, with the support of another visionary, Fred Eaton, implemented a plan to redirect water from the Owens Valley on the eastern slopes of the Sierras. The result of their efforts, the California Aqueduct, is one of the great engineering wonders of the world. Employing 5000 workers and 6000 mules, the 238- mile long aqueduct was completed under budget in record time.
Mulholland, the poor immigrant who lived for a time in a one-room wooden shack near the present-day fountain died in 1935. The fountain dedicated to him was completed in 1940. Approximately 3,000 people attended the dedication ceremony on August 1, 1940. A memorial plaque at the foot of the fountain reads, 'To William Mulholland (1855-1935): A Penniless Irish Immigrant Boy who Rose by the Force of his Industry, Intelligence, Integrity and Intrepidity to be a Sturdy American Citizen, a Self-Educated Engineering Genius, a Whole-Hearted Humanitarian, The Father of this City's Water System, and the Builder of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. This Memorial is Gratefully Dedicated to those who are the Recipients of His Unselfish Bounty and the Beneficiaries of His Prophetic Vision.'
The Mulholland Fountain is located at the Intersection of Riverside Drive and Los Feliz Blvd. in Los Feliz. It was declared an Historic-Cultural Monument in the City of Los Angeles in 1976 (No. 162).
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