Fred Eaton

From Academic Kids

Fred Eaton (1856-1934) was Mayor of Los Angeles, California, USA from 1898 through 1900. He was best known for being a mastermind (along with William Mulholland) behind the Los Angeles Aqueduct. The Aqueduct brought plentiful water to Los Angeles, enabling its explosive growth. It also took water away from the Owens Valley, disabling agriculture there.

In 1875, Eaton became head of the Los Angeles City Water Company, where he hired Mulholland as a ditch-digger in 1878. When Eaton became Mayor, he created the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, appointing Mulholland as superintendent. Together, they planned and organized the Aqueduct, which was completed in 1913.

Eaton used inside information from the Aqueduct project to enrich himself and his friends at the expense of the City of Los Angeles and other landowners. See California Water Wars for more information. Eventually, his demands became so great that they ruptured his relationship with Mulholland. Eaton wanted a million dollars for some land needed by Mulholland to build a dam reservoir. Mulholland refused to buy and relocated the dam. This relocated dam was the St. Francis Dam, which soon collapsed, killing many people.

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