A Look Back in History: Hetch Hetchy Dam Factoids

The photograph below is the cover to Contract No. 61 of the San Francisco Department of Public Works. The contract is for the construction of Hetch Hetchy Dam. Notice that it is the “Proposal form” of the contract. This contract includes 98 pages of text and 46 pages of drawings. Going through the pages, it appears to be in good shape for being 100 years old. The document does not leave the Archive, but it can be viewed upon request. In fact, is has been captured digitally and will be given a home on the SFPUC network eventually.

May 1919 Publication of the Hetch Hetchy Dam Construction Proposal Form.

In going through the document, here some fun trivia questions loosely tied to Hetch Hetchy Dam.

  • What dam in the Hetch Hetchy System pre-dated O’Shaughnessy Dam?
    • Lake Eleanor Dam – This dam, completed in 1918 is a concrete, multiple arch dam standing to a height of 68 feet. Its length is 1,260 feet. It was built for year-round hydroelectric power generation, which was then sold to help finance construction of the larger O’Shaughnessy Dam, completed in 1923.
  • The O’Shaughnessy Dam was raised from its original height in 1938. How tall is the O’Shaughnessy Dam today?
    • 312 feet above riverbed (430 feet above bedrock),
  • How tall was the original O’Shaughnessy Dam?
    • 226 feet above riverbed.
  • What is the year that Hetch Hetchy water finally arrived in San Francisco’s water supply?
    • 1934.
  • What was the nickname of Engineer City Michael M. O’Shaughnessy?
    • “More Money O’Shaughnessy” – due to his repeated “visits” to the bond sales table.