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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Water Walk, 2

Whew! We've just walked through the magical passageway pictured in yesterday's post, just south of the Devil's Gate Dam in the central Arroyo Seco. There's a fresh, cold stream here that flows year 'round from east to west (sometimes it's more full than others). It's in my picture, actually, but so wealthy with reeds at this point that you can't see the water.

And what's this little house? At 5'4", surely I can lean my elbow on the roof.

I would love to tell you that faeries live here, or that it was built by elves, or even that it was once a folly for a turn-of-the-20th-century Pasadena maiden. But it's a mini water treatment plant, or so I was told by Bellis, my guide. We both think it's still in operation, because it sounded like machines were churning inside.



14 comments:

llandudnopictures said...

Well, at least it's a magical looking mini water treatment plant...

Anne Louise Bannon said...

See? Practical things don't have to be ugly. That is so sweet!

Adele said...

Nice mix of useful and just plain cute!

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Cute way to cover up the 'workings'.. Our city did the same for some electrical workings alongside the Santa Clara that runs thru our city.

Petrea Burchard said...

I think this building is 80-90 years old, maybe more. This I'm not sure of.

Anne's statement, "practical things don't have to be ugly," ought to be the motto of every designer and builder! It's what I call "superfluous details." Put some art on it! Make it pretty! Why the hell not?

Geoff (Llandudno) is from Wales, where I've never been. But my experience of the other side of the pond (mostly southern England and northern France) is that they do a good job of including impractical beauty with historic preservation. It's why everyone wants to go there!

TheChieftess said...

Actually Petrea...the noise was just the faeries and elves doing their work in their little work house...

LONDONLULU said...

That is probably the most enchanting little water treatment plant I've seen - I also love the idea that things can be beautiful and practical both:)

Petrea Burchard said...

I received an email from a knowledgeable commenter, straightening us out on some information:

This is the Coronation well, the place where the water from the Arroyo Seco went into [Benjamin] Wilson's ditch and later the pipeline to Pasadena. The water came - and still comes - from Hahamongna through two large underground tunnels. A small semi-submersed concrete dam above Devil's Gate (before the big dam was built) diverted the Arroyo Seco water into the tunnels. Water's still leaking into the tunnels, which is why this stream runs all year round.

I'm not sure when this well house was built but it may have been in 1916, when the Pasadena Water Department added a chlorination plant, to strong opposition from people who didn't want their water tampered with. It's not working any more, because the water doesn't go anywhere except back into the Arroyo. It'll soon be used to irrigate Brookside golf course, which is currently being watered with expensive drinking water.

Bellis said...

If the well house isn't working any more, we must indeed have heard the faeries inside! I love the bulrushes (cattails)growing around this little temple, and the cress growing in the cool, clear flowing water. My dog really appreciates the water after a hot, dry summer's walk.

Benjamin Eaton built the ditch in 1867 to irrigate Wilson's land, Lake Vineyard, and it flowed entirely by gravity. Brilliant engineering by someone with a Harvard law degree.

Petrea Burchard said...

It was a lovely walk, Bellis. Interesting to think this treatment plant was built nearly 100 years ago and it's still working.

Ms M said...

It's a very charming well house/treatment plant. I totally agree that practical things don't have to be ugly. (You're SURE it has nothing to do with faeries? ;-) )

Petrea Burchard said...

I am absolutely, positively, not sure.

Jilly said...

How fascinating. I love that someone has made a water treatment plant so attractive. There's one at the top of my track and it's concrete and ugly and yuck. I love 'wealthy with reeds' ...

Petrea Burchard said...

Merci, Jilly!