Waterworks on the hillside

Behind the houses on the opposite side of the street from our house is what I refer to as Canyon 8 (counting around the hillside from Lida Street), which has the remains of an early water supply system, presumably water from springs in that canyon. Dense vegetation makes the area awkward to access, but with a little persistence, one finds a large concrete water tank, probably 20 feet square in area and about 4 feet deep. The downstream concrete wall has been knocked out so that water can no longer accumulate in the tank. Some rusty pipes remain adjacent.

What is the history of this relic? Perhaps it was part of the original water supply for houses in the Linda Vista area, maybe as far back as the late nineteenth century. The 1895 book “History of Pasadena”, by Hiram A. Reid, gives background information about the area. Page 348 provides the following description of the Linda Vista Tract, Linda Vista being the part of Pasadena where we live, and it includes reference to a water supply. Perhaps our old concrete tank was part of that. Here's what the book says:

Linda Vista Tract.— In 1883 Prof. J. D. Yocum purchased a body of wild land on the west bank of the Arroyo Seco which had long been known as "Indian flat," where a few families of native Mexicans lived in their miserable shiftless and thriftless way. This tract extended from the foot of Jumbo Knob opposite Reservoir hill up to the Verdugo hills near Devil's Gate, and comprised arroyo bottom and bluff lands, mesa land and mountain land, all densely covered with greasewood and other native chapparal growths. It was a part of the original Rancho San Rafael. Mr. Yocum cleared the land, developed water upon it, opened streets, planted orchards, and made his home there; and eventually sold portions of it to other parties who likewise made homes there. The West Pasadena street railway, with its $8,000 suspension bridge across the arroyo, was built and operated several years to connect Linda Vista with Pasadena; but it failed to pay expenses, was finally sold for debt, torn up, and partly used in constructing the Mt. Lowe Electric railroad.

Click on the following thumbnails to see larger images.

Canyon 8

Concrete water tank

Concrete water tank

Concrete water tank

Pieces of tank wall

Stone wall

Rock wall

Water valve

Large water pipe

Small water pipe

Underground water storage

Metal tank

Canyon 8


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