Tour Recap: The Watersheds of Laguna Honda

by Joel Pomerantz

November 16th, 2010

Joel sez: Here in Strybing Arboretum is where Golden Gate Park gets much of its water. The pumps are at the arboretum's lowest point, near Lincoln & 13th Ave.

You never know what kind of weather you are in for in San Francisco, but Sunday morning was amazingly warm and pleasant — the perfect day to walk and talk about water and the history of the city.

We started in Golden Gate Park, heading over to Stow Lake first, then down to the Botanical Garden, then up to the Laguna Honda Reservoir, passing through the Garden for the Environment.

Joel was full of great stories about the changing landscape of the area. It turns out that all the bodies of water in this area share a history that has to do with both making the park flourish with plants (motivated by both business and pleasure) and the politics of water management. The Laguna Honda Reservoir itself was a feat of engineering in its time, replacing the natural lake by the same name.

We had smart and engaged people on the tour asking questions and providing insight. I hope to see you all again on a future tour. All of Joel’s tours evolve (in fact, this one will probably go in the opposite direction next time and gain new material) so feel free to come again!

If you have any questions about the tour material, or if it sparked any thoughts for you, please open them for discussion here.

Here are a couple of the images we looked at on the tour. Others may appear in the Thinkwalks slide show soon.

Laguna Honda Reservoir schematic showing paths of sewer lines beneath it. If you figure out for certain why there's a divider down the middle let us know!

The original elevation diagram shows the gentle slope of the gravity-fed flume (aquaduct) as it crosses canyons and hills going from Pilarcitos Creek (reservoir) to Laguna Honda reservoir.

2 Comments to “Tour Recap: The Watersheds of Laguna Honda”

  1. lawraine smith says:

    thanks for the follow-up. no, I didn’t take any pix…I avoid technology outside of work, even at work would rather give my phone over to someone to take off the alarm I set up myself the week before…
    The tour was so nice for me…learning through walking on a beautiful day in company of interested and interesting people … so nice…thanks for doing this…
    Yes, I think you should start the tour at Laguna Honda and work down.
    You might add some details of who was the investor in the area we’re walking through who started the neighborhood…maybe the term is speculator…but the houses and designs and all that is probably more of a tour for…oops, the Victorian houses tour guide/person…???…as long as we’re walking through urbania some comments would be cool…
    just an idea…
    thanks again.
    and thanks to Amy for driving my weak ankle and myself more than half way ‘home’… laughed when all the cars behind us honked…ah, I love this city of tolerance!
    I am interested in the wiggle walk, we’ll see.
    thanks again,

  2. Andrea Jadwin says:

    Great walk around my neighborhood! I loved the old photos of the victory garden across from the reservoir and appreciated Joel’s wealth of interesting factoids. I definitely want to tell my fellow gardeners at White Crane Springs about the next tour date and will keep in touch via Nature in the City’s email newsletter. Count me in for a Thinkwalks tour in the near future.



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