Mulholland Dam and Lake Hollywood
Careful readers will recognize the name Vince Devlahovich, my primary source of all geological information. We're collaborating on a project for College of the Canyons about the Saint Francis Dam disaster of 1928. This is part of a bigger picture – how Los Angeles acquires its water. More about San Francisquito Canyon and the Saint Francis Dam later – to visualize what the dam looked like before it folded in on itself that fateful evening, we visited its twin, the Mulholland dam, also known as the Hollywood Reservoir or Lake Hollywood.
The Mulholland Dam was named for Bill Mulholland, the self-taught civil engineer who designed and built the Owens River Aqueduct, among other marvels of water engineering. Also known as "Lake Hollywood" this is a man-made reservoir built in 1924, filled in 1925 and capable of holding more than 2.5 billion gallons of water. Other "fun facts:" The dam is located
in Weid Canyon, east of the Cahuenga Pass. This puts it roughly parallel with the Griffith Observatory and just south of the iconic Hollywood Sign. It is 210 feet high, 933 feet long and 16 feet wide at the crest with a maximum depth of 183 feet. 172,000 cubic yards of concrete were used for the construction of the dam. After the failure of the Saint Francis Dam, the Mulholland Dam was reinforced and that phase was completed in 1933. There is an additional smaller upper reservior. When the department of Water and Power mandated in 1988 that reservoirs be covered and chlorinated, homeowners groups swung into action. According to the Hollywood Knolls Community Club website, t
wo new Toyon tanks, among the largest in the world, have taken over the water storage role previously played by both Hollywood Reservoirs. Even though the reservoirs will remain full in case of emergency, reservoir water will no longer need to be chlorinated. Best of all, for the homeowners (which at one time included Madonna), they won't lose their beautiful lakeside views. The south side of the reservoir, Mulholland Dam, is closed to the public indefinitely.