Old School Eco-Terrorism


Dynamite attacks on the Los Angeles Aqueduct

Following a Nov. 1, 1931, explosion on the Los Angeles Aqueduct, the Los Angeles Times in a Nov. 3, 1931, article reported on the years of dynamite attacks:

Sunday night’s blast touched off on the Grape Vine siphon marked the eighth actual dynamiting of the Owens Valley Aqueduct system in a series of outrages directed against the city’s water supply system outside the city of Los Angeles. The dynamiting included the following:

The first one, which was regarded as more in the nature of a warning of what might follow, occurred May 21, 1924, when a section of the open aqueduct about two miles north of Lone Pine was blasted by a charge of powder. Actual damage to the structure itself was slight. A gang of thirty or forty masked men were reported to have participated in the explosion.

On May 14, 1926, a hole was blown in the concrete structure carrying water about a mile south of the spillway in the Alabama Hills.

By far the most spectacular and disastrous dynamiting came when the No Name siphon was blown out on May 27, 1927. This job was engineered by someone who knew how to do a real job of dynamiting. At least two cases of blasting gelatin were floated down the siphon. The time fuse on one of them burned as scheduled and the resulting explosion tore a great hole in the siphon. For some reason or other the second case did not reach its destination. It was found within the tunnel leading to the siphon after the explosion. The fuse on it had failed.

The great gap rent by the explosion let the water out the siphon so fast that before air could get into it through the manhole above, a great vacuum had been created and about 300 feet of the monster steel pipe collapsed like so much tin. In this respect the outrage committed last Sunday night turned out more fortunate than might have been the case. The siphon did not collapse. The guards at the siphon had been kidnapped before the explosion.

The Times article reported additional dynamite attacks on June 19, 1927, and two on July 16, 1927. Also, The Times reported on Nov. 20, 1924, that Owens Valley residents took possession of the Alabama control gates for 65 hours.

Those Owens Valley residents took objection to Los Angeles taking all their water and turning Owens Valley into a desert. It’s a little known story of California history. One of the amazing things about our history here in Big Smoggy is we managed to maintain a clean reputation.

When you think of big city corruption you’re more likely to think of New York or Chicago. Of course until Chinatown came out Hollywood never did movies about how things really were in the Golden State and Dragnet and Adam-12 convinced people the LAPD was filled with boy scouts.

You can read more about the Los Angeles Aquaduct here.


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"If you hit an artery, somebody can bleed out in two minutes."
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74 Responses to Old School Eco-Terrorism

  1. DandyTiger says:

    Hey LA, we’d like our Colorado river back.

  2. I see things like this and realize how very fortunate I am. Have never lived anywhere with water issues. Not real ones anyway. I have lived in towns that imposed watering bans on occasion. But never in a state where there are actual historic fights over stealing of water.
    So glad we have our own well now.

    • myiq2xu says:

      Here in the Central Valley (and many other areas of the West) the wells have run dry because we pumped out all the groundwater.

      • 😦
        Not a problem here so far.And so far Mother Nature has seen fit to continue to send us snow and rain enough to keep the wells full. Last winter we had not so much snow- but the spring (Feb through June) rains made up for it and then some lol.

  3. myiq2xu says:

    The problem is that the LA Basin is basically a desert. When they say “It never rains in Southern California” that’s almost the literal truth. That means there are a lot of thirsty people (and thirsty lawns) in La La Land.

    They diverted the Owens and Colorado Rivers and that still wasn’t enough. For years they’ve been trying to divert the Sacramento Delta too.

    • One of these days I will have to delve into the history there and try to figure out why the heck anyone even settled there to begin with. Why settle in a desert?

      • myiq2xu says:

        Cuz the weather is nice.

      • Check out Ken Burns “The West” documentary series. It is excellent and covers this issue as well. It’s a little heavy on romanticizing Native American issues, but also very informative on the same. It also does a pretty good job of dealing with Mormon expansion settlements.

      • Because that’s where the Spaniards built the mission? But seriously it has a delightful climate and stuff grows amazingly well. It also has a little more rainfall than myiq implies but not nearly enough to sustain a big city’s population and needs. It was great for row crops and truck gardens. The Owens Valley project was “needed” because the city could not get access to all the basin’s water. The farms had their allotments secured.

        LAX sits on land mostly stolen from the irrigated farms of Japanese citizens who were picked up and detained at the beginning of WWII. Before then most of the produce in the western US was trucked FROM LA basin packing houses. That all changed afterward.

        Also, the 30 or more defense plants during WWII needed workers from the midwest, so the city expanded even more during that period. No water? No problem. Just build another pipeline for Colorado River water being wasted (at the time) to the Gulf of California. It made sense, once. .

    • DandyTiger says:

      Yup. In my years in N. CA. we would have water rationing all the time, while in LA there was no rationing. A daily reminder of who was boss.

    • Constance says:

      Here in Seattle we have lots of rain water and cheap hydro electric power. But being so far north it is dark by 4:15 pm in the winter and on some really cloudy days in December it never really looks light out at all. We don’t get that much rain in inches, but it is a non stop drizzle that keeps everything wet from October through March. The plants love it though and people treat the random sunny days like a celebration day.

      • myiq2xu says:

        The weather you’re talking about continues all the way down the coast almost to SF. Mostly it’s cool/cold and cloudy all the way to LA

  4. myiq2xu says:

    • Constance says:

      Cool but I think I need a 1960s version because I seemed to be remembering my kids childhood with this version.

    • DandyTiger says:

      Yikes, yeah, most all of these are after my time too.

    • There’s some overlap with my childhood and my daughter’s there. I was glad to see the Land Before Time mentioned. One of my favorite memories of my daughter’s childhood is how she would come up and lick my face as a display of love when she was a toddler, because she saw it in in LBT.

    • HELENK says:

      makes we want to go find some of those things for my great grandkids

  5. myiq2xu says:

    Do you pronounce “poem” as “po-em” or “pome”?

  6. myiq2xu says:

  7. yttik says:

    I love to read history like this because it reassures me that the world is not going to hell in a hand basket. People have always been nuts.

  8. HELENK says:


    Victor Davis Hanson and Allen West on the decline of education in America

  9. votermom says:

    I am just watching Dr Carson’s prayer breakfast speech now.
    Anyone else guess Obama is wondering if he can put Carson on his drone list?

  10. DeniseVB says:


  11. votermom says:

  12. myiq2xu says:

    February 9, 1943: Guadalcanal Secured

    America’s first offensive victory in the Pacific war.

    A six month campaign, one of the longest in the war, fought on land, sea and air. Although the Marines initial assault was relatively unopposed, the Japanese stiffened resistance and the next six months were a bloody struggle of back and forth of intense combat and strained lines of supply.

    Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone, USMC, Platoon Sgt. Mitchell Paige, USMC, 2nd Lt. Jefferson DeBlanc, USMCR and Signalman 1st Class Douglas Munro, USCG were all awarded the Medal of Honor.

  13. HELENK says:


    here we go again.” IT’S RACIST”

    how about the fact that they are losing money?

  14. myiq2xu says:


  15. HELENK says:


    paranoia or true??

    pretty sure Germany in the 1930s thought it could not happen in their country

  16. myiq2xu says:

  17. votermom says:

    Someone already set up this fan account

  18. CAROL BARTLEY says:

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless Smartphone

    The Crawdad Ho

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