“The Los Angeles River was a beautiful, limpid little stream with willows on its banks….it was so attractive to me that it at once became something about which my whole scheme of life was woven. I loved it so much.” — William Mulholland, 1855-1935.
You have to admit there’s a certain irony to this quote. Thanks to the draining of the Owens Valley and, later, the St. Francis Dam disaster, “nature lover” isn’t exactly the first thing that pops to mind when today’s Angeleno thinks “Mulholland.”
Hero or villain, with his legendary engineering prowess Mulholland helped pave the way for this town’s explosive growth in the 1900s. The crazy twist is his beloved river also ended up paved in the process.