A Look Back in History: Equestrian Permits

Before the municipalization of the water supply in the Bay Area in 1930, water supply and largely water rights were controlled by the Spring Valley Water Company (SVWC).

The foundsf.org website describes the forces that drove SVWC’s expansion:

“The 1890s saw a rash of development of communities down the Peninsula for the land barons who had made their fortunes in gold, silver, land speculation, railroads, and business ventures, shady and otherwise. Mansions with gardens modeled on British estates and Loire Valley chateaux required prodigious amounts of water, pushing the Spring Valley Water Company to proceed to expand into the Alameda Creek watershed.”

One aspect of the operation on the Peninsula was access to the watershed lands, typically a restricted location (much as it is today), SVWC was willing to grant equestrian access to certain individuals. What follows is a sampling of documents from the SFPUC Archive that represent the exchanges that took place in pursuit of a nice ride in the otherwise secluded watershed lands. It was almost a private playground.

Spring Valley Water Company Equestrian Pass for 1922.
Conditions Associated with the SVWC Equestrian Pass in 1922.
Envelope Sent to W.B. Lawrence of SVWC – Probably a Key Return.
E.F. Hutton is a Brokerage Firm that was Founded in San Francisco in 1904.
Franklin L. Hutton was one of the two founding brothers.
The nephew, Curtis, speaks for himself.
Permits requested for the Woodside Riding Club – an exclusive organization.
Mrs. Bourn was the wife of William Bowers Bourn II.
Bourn was a major stockholder of and president of the Board of SVWC from 1908 to 1923.
In 1923 the position of board chair was created, and Bourn was elected to the role.
Samuel P. Eastman was elected to the Presidency upon Bourn’s ascent to Chairman.
Note W.B. Lawrence’s inked inquiry regarding installation of the Saddle Gate.
Another Eastman request on behalf of equestrians for more gates.