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A famous engineer's plan for supplying water to San Francisco at the turn of the century.

Place/Date: San Francisco / 1889
$700.
Title: General Map of the Spring Valley Water Works Hermann F.A. Schussler Chief Engineer. 1899
Technique
Lithograph
Dimensions
51 x 30.5 cm (20 x 12 in)
Identifier
NL-00552
Coloring
Original color
Condition Rating
VG+

Description

The importance of this map and the historical and geographic context which it conveys is best explained by Gray Bechin in Imperial San Francisco. Bechin writes that:

“As imported water raised land values and stimulated growth, San Francisco’s need for more distant watersheds grew. The Spring Valley Water Company’s aqueducts first tapped the creeks of San Mateo County, and then of Alameda and Santa Clara Counties. The lands acquired by the company in the nineteenth century today provide about 18 percent of the city’s water.”

This map, with its proposed aqueduct and tunnel from Arroyo Valley and a proposed pipeline and tunnel connecting the Calaveras Reservoir to the Crystal Springs Reservoir, represents Schussler’s vision for supplying water to the city, in turn increase the power and wealth of the company he did much to help build.

Cartographer(s)

Hermann Schüssler

Hermann Schüssler or Schussler (1842 -1919) was a German water-systems engineer and architect of dams famous for designing the Comstock water system.

He emigrated to California 1864 and started working for the Spring Valley Water Works of San Francisco. He worked on several projects in the Bay Area. Remarkable projects are the dams at Crystal Springs Reservoir and San Andreas Lake which survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

Schüssler became chief engineer of Marin County, and later of Virginia City. In Virginia City, he worked for Virginia City and Gold Hill Water Company and build the Comstock water system. Schüssler also worked for the Sutro Tunnel Company and designed the water system for Tuscarora and Pioche. In 1878, he worked on several water projects in Hawaii.

Condition Description

Soft horizontal fold.

References

Brechin, Gary. Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin. University of California Press, 2006, p. 88.

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