Water Began it All features meticulous paintings by Michael J. Hart. Mr. Hart's long history as Vice President and General Manager of the Sunny Slope Water Company got him interested in the San Gabriel Valley's long history with water. If you want to see what the land looked like before it was settled, Hart's detailed paintings give you a good idea.
There used to be a lot more water here.
One of Hart's inspirations is still visible on the property of the Sunny Slope Water Company. Turn north onto La Presa Drive from Huntington Drive. Within a block or so you'll see a stone marker by a fence on the west side of the street. Just beyond the fence--the eastern boundary of the water company's land--you'll see a stone dam built by Tongva Indians under the supervision of Joseph Chapman (a story in himself). I included a photo of the dam in an article I wrote for Patch a little over a year ago.
**********At first J and I thought the spurs pictured above were not everyday spurs, and were worn only for show. But the more I think about it the more I realize that's a 20th-Century concept. The Spanish who settled here in the 18th and 19th centuries didn't ride for show. They rode for a living. They conquered the Tongva and they conquered the water and to them, all of it was business.