Edendale Water Tank

A Century Old Water Tank

Crowns One of Echo Park’s Highest Hills

By Scott Fajack

In the summer of 1906, the City of Los Angeles Water Department constructed the Edendale Tank to serve the growing community then referred to by the Los Angeles Times as the “rapidly settling, up-high section lying west of Elysian Park and including the settlement of Edendale.”

Costing a total of $4,994.92, the tank was originally constructed of steel plate atop the highest points in Echo Park, at the time 125 feet higher than any other stored water in the city. To fill the water tower, Los Angeles River water was pumped from the newly finished Ivanhoe Reservoir in Silver Lake.

With a capacity of 528,000 gallons, the 60-foot wide, 25-foot tall tank was instantly derided for its unsightliness by “the Citizens of Edendale who raised a storm about the ears of Superintendent Mulholland,” according to the L.A. Times.

But the tank remained. Surrounded by trees and houses, it now sits at the junction of Cerro Gordo and Lemoyne streets. In March of 1911, seeking to increase the safety and capacity of Edendale Tank, the Water Department lined the interior and exterior of the tanks steel walls with a total of 15 inches of reinforced concrete while at the same time increasing the tank’s height to 30- feet and topping it all with a reinforced concrete roof.

After construction was completed, the Los Angeles Times noted that the tank’s capacity had been increased to 700,000 gallons, and the tank “is a real ornament to the region.”

Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Water Department Fred Fischer wrote: “Moreover, this improvement has meant the replacement of an unsightly black tank with a concrete structure simple yet commanding in appearance and serving for a landmark that is visible for miles up the San Fernando Valley.”

Today the Edendale Tank, in combination with Elysian Park Tank at Park Drive and Avon Park Terrace, provides the majority of the Echo Park and Silver Lake communities with potable water by and large from the Colorado River via Eagle Rock Reservoir.

*Until 1911, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power was named simply the Water Department
This article appeared in the Spring 2006 issue of the EPHS News.