William Mulholland and the Rise of Los Angeles by Catherine Mulholland
Fans of the movie "Chinatown" may wish to know about the real Noah Cross, a.k.a. William Mulholland, as described by his granddaughter. We see the immigrant Irish engineer who designed and built the system that brought water to Los Angeles, allowing for its remarkable growth. Mulholland's tenacity enabled him to become the Faust of southern California, draining distant lakes and turning a desert into a garden (called L.A. and Orange County). His endeavor parallels the career of California Governor-turned-U.S. Senator Hiram Johnson, one of the major figures of Progressivism. More probing works are needed to reveal the founder behind the bureaucrat, but the example of Mulholland is the stuff for such speculation.
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This article appeared in the Winter 2002 issue of the Claremont Review of Books