Daily Archives: February 14, 2017

Hetch Hetchy Valley c. 1909 (Photos)

With national news reporting on the potential for catastrophic failure of the Oroville Dam in northern California, other water projects in California are also getting increased attention.

One of those is the O’Shaughnessy Dam, at the center of the Hetch Hetchy Water Project.

The dam, built in the 1920s, transformed a beautiful valley into a reservoir that has delivered drinking water to San Francisco for nearly a century.

There was an extended political battle over the planned dam, but the need for water eventually won out. Protests continue today, with some advocating the removal of the dam and restoration of the valley.

My sister, who died in October 2016, worked as a training officer at Hetch Hetchy for nearly three decades.

I found a DVD among her papers and possessions containing five photographs of Hetch Hetchy Valley in about 1909, before it was flooded. They were copied from versions held by the Yosemite National Park Research Library.

Click on either photo to see a larger version.

Before the reservoir

Before the reservoir

And here’s what the same area looks like now.

Before the reservoirMay 2002 Photo by Daniel Mayer