Frederick Eaton and William Mulholland



Frederick Eaton (1856-1934)

Frederick Eaton was Mayor of Los Angeles from 1898-1900. During Eaton's administration, Congress approved the San Pedro Harbor. The city had a population of 100,000 with 200 automobiles.

While Eaton was the LA Mayor he created the Los Angeles Water Department (later DWP)* and appointed William Mulholland as superintendent and Chief Engineer. Both Eaton and Mulholland conceived the idea of bringing water to LA from the Owens Valley. Together they planned and developed the Los Angeles Aqueduct.


Click HERE to read more about Fred Eaton and his involvement with the LA Aqueduct.


William Mulholland (1855-1935)

In 1886, William Mulholland was hired by Frederick Eaton as a ditch-digger for the newly formed Los Angeles Water Company (LAWC). Water was delivered to Pueblo de Los Angeles from the Los Angeles River in a large open ditch, the Zanja Madre. The man who tended the ditch was known as a zanjero.

In 1898, the Los Angeles city government decided not to renew the contract with the LAWC. Four years later the Los Angeles Water Department (later DWP)* was established. Mulholland was selected by Eaton to be the Los Angeles

Water Department's first head.

William Mulholland will best be remembered for being the man most responsible for building the first Los Angeles Aqueduct. This 233 mile long aqueduct that brings water from the Owens River in the Eastern Sierras to Los Angeles would change LA's future forever.


Click HERE for a more detailed biography of William Mulholland.





DWP - LA Public Library Image Archive

*DWP - Name Change Chronology and Clarification

PBS - New Perspectives on the West: Fred Eaton

LA Examiner, LA Herald-Express, and LA Times, March 13, 1934 Articles: Frederick Eaton



< Back