The following is a collection of oral histories covering the growth and development of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) as seen by the participants – its employees.  The collection preserves the stories of distinctive and diverse individuals whose historical experiences have shaped the collective memory of DWP.

It is our belief that the interviews are not only an important source of DWP history but are useful to today's management in providing context to current issues.


Interviews Related to the Los Angeles Aqueduct and Owens Valley

Doreen W. Blair – A DWP “BRAT” GROWING UP IN THE OWENS GORGE - Began working for the DWP August 2, 1948, in the position of Intermediate Clerk Typist. Retired in the position of Principal Stenographer, Water Executive Office, January 1, 1986.

Jessie M. (Edgemon) Harpham – A DWP 'WIFE' LIVING IN THE FIELD – Married to Albert Harpham who joined the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in 1925. He was a "cat-skinner" in Los Angeles and by 1931 was building roads along the Los Angeles Owens River Aqueduct. By the mid-30s, he and his family were stationed along the aqueduct where he was an aqueduct patrolman. In 1941, the family returned to Los Angeles when Albert took up the job of reservoir keeper. Albert retired from DWP service on July 19, 1976.

Paul Henry Lane – A GENERAL MANAGER REMEMBERS – Joined DWP January 18, 1949. Appointed Northern District Engineer, Aqueduct Division, November 6, 1961. Appointed Aqueduct Engineer, Aqueduct Division, September 19, 1966. Appointed Chief Engineer of Waterworks, May 1, 1972. Appointed Assistant General Manager, February 22, 1982. Appointed General Manager and Chief Engineer, April 1, 1983. Retired February 1989.

Le Val Lund – Retired April 1, 1989 as a Principal Waterworks Engineer, Engineer in Charge, Los Angeles Aqueduct Division.

Alvin Edgar and Mary Jane Majors – AN AQUEDUCT PARTOLMAN/RESERVOIR KEEPER’S LIFE- Alvin joined the DWP July 1, 1925 as a laborer in the Water System.  Retired December 1, 1973 as a reservoir keeper at Fairmont Reservoir.

Mary Jean (Pearson) Piercy – Retired June 30, 1985 as a Senior Clerk Typist in the Commercial Division in Independence.

Thomas Eugene “Gene” Barrows – OWENS VALLEY ELECTRIC SYSTEM - Retired January 31, 1964 as Electrical Plant Superintendent, Independence, California.

Thomas Craig Poole – Retired December 1, 1988 as a Senior Storekeeper – “Two Generations Working in the Owens Valley”

Lloyd S. Phillips - Retired November 30, 1979 as Water Dispatcher – “Working in the DWP Aqueduct Division”


For more DWP Oral Histories click one of the following:


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