Zanjeros: 1781-1903

(1879)* - A copy of the Duties of Deputy Zanjeros.  


The Zanjero

The Zanjero was an important position in Los Angeles city government. He oversaw protection of the water courses against blockage, contamination, breaches in the system, and illegal use by persons without authority to take the water. Deputy zanjeros reported to him. The duties of the deputy are spelled out in the official bulletin seen above.



Deputy Zanjero

William Mulholland started his career with the Los Angeles Water Company as a zanjero - a ditch tender.

A story is told of Mulholland that is exemplary of his personality. The story is that as he was clearing weeds in one of the ditches, the president of the water company rode by, looked down at him and asked him what he was doing. In a gruff voice, not knowing who the man was, Mulholland answered "None of your damned business!" After being told by a fellow worker that the man he had just spoken to was the company president, young William went to the main office to hand in his resignation. But the president, William Hayes Perry, was so impressed by Mulholland's attention to the job that he promoted him to foreman. Click HERE to see more in William Mullholland's Biography.



Historical Notes

In 1854, the head zanjero was designated a city official. Thereafter, the zanjero became such an important man that by 1860 he received a higher salary than the mayor.*^




Click HERE to read 'LA's Early Water Works System' from the LADWP Historic Archive.


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* DWP - LA Public Library Image Archive

*^LADWP Historic Archive


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