Laguna Honda watershed

by Joel Pomerantz

November 8th, 2010

Check out what interesting stuff I’ve sleuthed up for the “trek” I’m leading with Nature in the City on November 14th.

The tour will start in Golden Gate Park, because since the late 1800s, the Laguna Honda watershed has been a main source of water for irrigation of the Park.

The creation of the irrigation system happened at the time when the Park was being entirely re-configured. Development of Golden Gate Park had been firmly within the “rustic” aesthetic of William Hammond Hall. Then railroad magnate Collis P. Huntington gave funds to build a waterfall and land speculator Thomas U. Sweeney donated for a fortress-like observation deck on top of the hill in the center of the reservoir.

The grand entry of Sweeney observatory was reflected in a 50,000 gallon pool which provided the headwaters of the falls.

This was the turning point for the Park, after which everything was named for funders (e.g., Huntington Falls) and no longer for function (e.g., Deer Glen).

That’s right, I’m referring to Stow Lake as a reservoir. It was dug into the hillsides surrounding Strawberry Hill so that water pumped out of the dunes near 13th Ave. and Lincoln Way could be stored, then flow to all the new planted areas of the Park by gravity.

We’ll head up to see the abandoned reservoir at Laguna Honda itself, of course. Come join us next Sunday, and learn more! These watershed tours tend to attract a lot of knowledgeable people who have much to share!
RSVP to linda at natureinthecity dot org.

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