[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Santa Clarita CA
Mostly clear
Mostly clear
Today in
S.C.V. History
March 19
1875, 1:35PM - Outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez hanged in San Jose [story]
Tiburcio Vasquez

mules110413e[Click here] to watch 1913 film of mules & L.A. Aqueduct construction
* * *

The mules are here.

A hundred pack mules and their muleteers, hired from ranches in the Eastern Sierras, were trailered into Whitney Canyon Park in Newhall on Monday afternoon, getting a little break from their 240-mile walk.

Most of the way, they’ve been hoofing it along the course of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, which was completed 100 years ago – actually 100 years ago tomorrow, Tuesday.

“These mules come from different pack stations, which is a back-county mode of transportation when you go camping,” said Tessanne Moran, one of the wranglers. “Instead of carrying your gear on your back, these beautiful animals will carry your sleeping bags and all of your stuff for you.”

mules110413b“One of the reasons we like to use mules,” said fellow wrangler Seth Riley, “is because they inherited a lot of good traits from the donkey and a lot of good traits from the horse.”

“A lot of these mules are very versatile,” he said. “We have two black mules named Dolly and Peggy; they’re a real good team. I’ve driven them a lot. They ride, drive and pack basically do anything you want.”

As to their reputation for being stubborn, “I don’t think they’re stubborn at all,” said Moran. “They’re just darn smart. … Mules are very calculated.”

The mules are on hand to pay homage to the place Angelenos get their drinking water, and to remind them it’s a precious resource.

Rounding up 100 of them and driving them the length of the L.A. Aqueduct was the idea of Lauren Bon, a Santa Monica-based artist and activist – and granddaughter of philanthropist Walter Annenberg.

mules110413d“(Bon) wanted to commemorate the endeavor of the aqueduct with the mules, and the involvement of both men and mules,” said Moran, “and also the appreciation of the water and where it comes from. This is a great opportunity for us all. … This is a chance of a life time.”

In a statement, Bon says the point is to “move forward into the next hundred years with renewed appreciation for this vital resource. Let it be resolved that the citizens of Los Angeles will do better at utilizing this life-giving resource in the next one hundred years.”

Bon next plans to break through the concrete lining of the L.A. River and erect a 60-foot water wheel to irrigate the area north of Chinatown known as the Cornfield – a onetime industrial brownfield that she converted to agricultural use. Now it’s called “Not a Cornfield,” even though it’s more like an actual cornfield than it was previously.

* * *


While underway, the 100 mules carry saddle blankets marked “100.”

It was Nov. 5, 1913, when workers from L.A.’s Bureau of Water Works and Supply (now called Department of Water and Power) turned the giant spigots at the Cascades – the “waterfall” east of Interstate 5 just below the Newhall Pass – to quench the big city’s thirst with water piped in from the Owens Valley.

William Mulholland’s great water project made possible the further development of Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley we know today.

There were costs – and not only to the L.A. taxpayers who financed the deal. Owens Valley farmers expressed their consternation over the draining of “their” lake by dynamiting sections of the 240-mile pipeline. Then in 1928, just two years after it was completed, the St. Francis Dam collapsed, sending 13 billion gallons of L.A.’s water from Saugus to the sea, killing an estimated 450 people along the way – including most of the student body of three little elementary school districts in Saugus.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

None of it would have been possible, at that time, without mules. Teams of 52 to 54 animals carted enormous sections of pipe from the harbor in Los Angeles all the way up to a point near Independence, the Inyo County seat above Owens Lake.

mules110413cControversial though it was, Mulholland’s aqueduct was also a phenomenal engineering feat. The system was entirely gravity-fed. When it couldn’t go over a mountain, as in the Elizabeth Lake area, work crews drilled through the landscape. (The aqueduct runs 250 feet below Lake Elizabeth). But in most places, tunneling was unnecessary. At a place called Jawbone Canyon near Red Rock in the Mojave Desert, the water runs downhill with enough force to push it back up through the pipe over another hill. The same thing occurs within Santa Clarita, on a much smaller scale, near Saugus High School and the Centre Pointe business park and in Placerita Canyon, where the pipe can still be seen above ground.

Mules had to scale all of those hills.

Today’s 100 mules will be heading to a ranch in the Sun Valley area as they near the end of their journey. It culminates Nov. 11 in a Veterans Day Parade on Western Avenue in Glendale.

Meanwhile, Tuesday at noon, the L.A. DWP will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of water with a reenactment at the Cascades. Paid actors will play the roles of William Mulholland and other key figures, telling the story of the aqueduct as they might have told it.




Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.


  1. Carrie Adamson – check this out!

  2. We went to the reenactment of the opening of the Cascades this afternoon. Very impressive!

Leave a Comment

SCV NewsBreak
Tuesday, Mar 19, 2019
Hart Park’s Barnyard, Placerita Nature Center Birds Under Quarantine
A quarantine has been placed on the barnyard at William S. Hart Park in Newhall and birds at the Placerita Canyon Nature Center, due to the threat of Virulent Newcastle Disease.
Tuesday, Mar 19, 2019
SCV Sheriff’s Honoring Fallen Deputy Arthur Pelino
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station is honoring a fallen deputy. Forty-one years ago, SCV Sheriff's Deputy Arthur Pelino was shot and killed by a mentally deranged suspect.
Tuesday, Mar 19, 2019
Nearly 2,000 Educational Books Waiting to be Donated In Bulk
When Lisa Capella stumbled upon thousands of educational books in a school building that was waiting to be demolished, she knew something had to be done.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
The Lancaster JetHawks announced Monday that they will become “El Viento de Lancaster” for ten Friday night games throughout the 2019 season, as they celebrate local Hispanic and Latin culture in the Antelope Valley.
JetHawks to Celebrate Hispanic, Latin Cultures with ‘El Viento de Lancaster’
The Valencia High School Concert Band was selected to perform at the legendary Carnegie Hall in New York City on Sunday, March 17.
Vikings Concert Band Selected to Perform at Carnegie Hall
The Southern California Chapter of the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) is honoring Lundgren Management with a Project Achievement Award for its excellent work on the Santa Barbara City College New West Campus Center.
Local Construction Firm Lauded for Santa Barbara City College Project
Dust off your boots, and dance the night away at the city of Santa Clarita’s Line Dance Night, to be held at the Canyon Country Community Center on Saturday, April 6, from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
April 6: Santa Clarita Line Dance Night at Canyon Country Community Center
On Friday, Golden Valley High School’s competitive show choir team, Voltage, dominated the intermediate mixed division at the Los Alamitos 2019 Xtravaganza.
Golden Valley’s Choir Dominates Los Alamitos 2019 Xtravaganza
West Ranch High School’s Instrumental Music Program is excited to announce their inaugural Golf Tournament fundraiser to be held on Monday, April 22, at The Oaks Club at Valencia.
April 22: West Ranch Instrumental Music Program’s Golf Fundraiser
A quarantine has been placed on the barnyard at William S. Hart Park in Newhall and birds at the Placerita Canyon Nature Center, due to the threat of Virulent Newcastle Disease.
Hart Park’s Barnyard, Placerita Nature Center Birds Under Quarantine
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station is honoring a fallen deputy. Forty-one years ago, SCV Sheriff's Deputy Arthur Pelino was shot and killed by a mentally deranged suspect.
SCV Sheriff’s Honoring Fallen Deputy Arthur Pelino
When Lisa Capella stumbled upon thousands of educational books in a school building that was waiting to be demolished, she knew something had to be done.
Nearly 2,000 Educational Books Waiting to be Donated In Bulk
Los Angeles County residents have been receiving phone calls from alleged Los Angeles County Sheriff’s personnel.
Residents Warned of Jury Duty Scam
Mary Jane Hartman, who has been volunteering with the SCV Senior Center since 1994, received the Carmen Sarro Community Service Award on Saturday from Zonta Club of the Santa Clarita Valley.
Zonta Club Celebrates Women in Service
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Katie Hill, (D-Agua Dulce) announced Tuesday that CA-25 will be participating in the Congressional Art Competition, an annual nationwide competition for high schoolers sponsored by the members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
SCV High School Students Urged to Take Part in Congressional Art Competition
In a small library, deep in the basement of the Los Angeles County Hall of Administration, Assessor Jeffrey Prang discovered 20 historic journals that will now become part of the collections at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM).
Discovery of Historic Journals Offers Glimpse into LA County’s Past
1875, 1:35PM - Outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez hanged in San Jose [story]
Tiburcio Vasquez
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce's next Business After Hours mixer is set for L.A. Film Locations in Newhall on Wednesday, March 20, from 5:50 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
March 20: Chamber After Hours Mixer at L.A. Film Locations
The next regular meeting of the Governing Board of William S. Hart Union High School District will take place Wednesday, March 20, at 7 p.m.
March 20: Hart District Governing Board Regular Meeting
Friday afternoon on a sunny, windy day in Placerita Canyon, the Mustangs rode Robert Winslow's strong right arm to an 11-1 victory over Hope International in the second game of a double-header. The Royals won the opener 7-3.
Winslow Pitches Mustangs to Split with Hope Int’l
March is recognized as Poison Prevention Awareness Month and National Poison Prevention Week is globally observed in the third week of March.
March 18-24: National Pet Poison Prevention Week
Homes 4 Families hosted its third Celebs4Vets Build at the Veteran Enriched Neighborhood off Soledad Canyon Road in Santa Clarita on Saturday.
Celebrities Help Build Homes for Veterans in SCV with Homes 4 Families
Southern California Gas Co. announced Monday that it achieved the highest level of spend with diverse business enterprises in the history of the company, spending more than $673 million dollars with 583 diverse suppliers last year.
SoCalGas Records More Spending with Diverse Suppliers Than Ever
An eight-member jury on Friday found Apple infringed three of Qualcomm’s patents used in iPhones, awarding the San Diego-based company over $31 million in damages in the first U.S. jury trial of a global intellectual property dispute between the two technology giants.
Qualcomm Awarded $31M in Patent Spat With Apple
Rep. Katie Hill (D-Agua Dulce) has sent a letter to the Interior Board of Land Appeals requesting that immediate action be taken to resolve the dispute between the city of Santa Clarita and Cemex USA.
Hill Picks Up Fight to Stop Cemex Mega-Mine in Soledad Canyon
In a room filled with at least 75 young speechmakers, Santa Clarita students celebrated their city’s first ever World Speech Day on Saturday.
Orators, Speechwriters Gather for First SCV World Speech Day Event
The California Central Coast Area Team of AFS Intercultural Programs is pleased to announce that Justine Tuncan, a Valencia High School junior, has become the team’s newest registered volunteer.
Valencia Junior Joins AFS Intercultural Programs as Registered Volunteer
Positioned in front of a backdrop sprinkled with NAIA logos, and wearing a lapel mic, Stephanie Soares tried to explain the Mustangs' staple defense.
Women’s Hoops: TMU Advances to NAIA Quarterfinals for Second Time
Feature films, reality TV shows and commercials among the productions filming in the Santa Clarita Valley aka "Hollywood North" the week of March 18-24, 2019.
‘Bless This Mess,’ ‘Murder for Hire,’ ‘Good Trouble’ Now Shooting in SCV
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, March 19, starting at 9:30 a.m.
March 19: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
In celebration of its 15 years of educating the students and community of Santa Clarita, Golden Valley High School held a quinceanera celebration Saturday.
Golden Valley High School Celebrates Quinceanera
Parents, coaches and eager, young chess masters crowded into the halls, patios and conference rooms of the Hyatt Regency Valencia for the annual Southern California SuperStates Scholastic State Chess Championships on Sunday.
Young Chess Masters Flex Brains at SoCal State Championships
Over the last few weeks, thousands of wildflower enthusiasts have descended on a small Southern California town to experience the “super bloom” of California poppies and other wildflowers brought on by a very wet winter.
Poppy, Wildflower ‘Super Bloom’ Draws Crowds, Chaos in Lake Elsinore
Four astronauts are preparing for their first spacewalks outside the International Space Station, scheduled for March 22, March 29 and April 8, and NASA experts will preview the spacewalks during a news conference on Tuesday, March 19, at 11 a.m. PDT.
March 19: NASA TV to Preview 3 Space Station Spacewalks
In the wake of the massacre at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand last week, deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station stepped up patrols around local mosques and tried to reassure local Muslims.
SCV Deputies Protect Mosques, SCV Muslims Send Flowers
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested two men on multiple felony charges after a traffic stop in Newhall on Friday morning, the station reported Sunday.
2 Out-of-Towners Booked on Multiple Felonies in Newhall
Caltrans continues to close portions of State Route 14 this week for a $6.6 million pavement rehabilitation project to improve the condition of the lanes and create a smoother ride for motorists.
March 18-23: Nightly Lane Closures on Highway 14 for Road Rehab
1919 - Swall Hotel in Newhall burns down (corner Main & Market) [story]
Swall Hotel
1927 - Newhall telephone exchange, est. 1900, now serves 100 phones [story]