CC Pierce's 1908 panorama shows streams curling down from foothills north of Colorado. (ERVHS)
Gathering wildflowers north of Colorado. (ERVHS)
North of Colorado. (ERVHS)
NORTH OF COLORADO
When Bob Cota's family moved onto Loleta Avenue between Colorado and Hill in the 1910s, streams ran down to the valley from the foothills. Cota estimates there might have been 4-6 such streams. Because most of the land had only trees and sagebrush on it, one could easily tell where the water ran because that's where the cattails grew. Cota remembers one such perennial stream running roughly south along Loleta. Its source was a spring at the top of Dahlia Drive.
Together with Mr. Bellringer, who had subdivided the land, Cota's father dug a well, whose pump was powered by wind. Neighbors helped each other get water. The saying Cota remembers was, "you work together or die by yourself."
The water was clean, and there was no need to filter it. The family used it for everything: drinking, growing vegetables, and raising chickens.
After Eagle Rock became annexed to Los Angeles, the city ordered the Cotas to seal the well. They were to pipe in city water instead!
The dirt that was removed in order to fill the well created a large rectangular hole, which then conveniently became the new cellar for the house. This is where Mrs. Cota would keep preserves, and Cota remember his neighbors gaining cellars in the same fashion. Though Bob thinks back fondly of the well, he remembers that even despite fees for maintenance and improvement, most Eagle Rockers would have been excited "...to have water come to them without having to work like dickens to get it." Running water was an amenity that would ensure future development in Eagle Rock.
"People say, 'give me the good old days,' and I say, 'Forget it!'" adds Cota.
The stream that originated at the top of Dahlia was used to fill a large water tank in the 30s, to serve the people of Kincheloe and Upper Townsend.
Bob Moffitt told me about another perennial stream on Loleta. This second stream originated from the Stimson Grove spring, and ran southwest towards Dahlia Drive. This stream now merges with the Dahlia Drive spring in the storm drain system. In heavy flow season, this stream was about 4 feet wide, and 4-6 inches deep. A block of five or six properties situated where the stream crossed diagonally from Loleta Avenue to Dahlia Drive were the very last in the neighborhood to be built upon. As late as 1945, it was largely open space- a perfect place for neighborhood football games...
When Hill Drive was paved, the stream was diverted into a storm drain. Says Moffitt, "They didn't want water flowing across Hill Drive. We liked the stream. It was nice clean water. We felt hurt when they cut it off."