San Francisco (Calif.). Board of Supervisors.

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and, as pointed out by City Engineer M. M.
O'Shaughnessy, elsewhere in this number of San
Francisco MUNICIPAL Record, one with a gross
revenue of approximately $7,000,000 annually,
and which will net the city $1,200,000 annually
from public ownership, after paying the bond re-
demption and all operating expense.

Acquisition by the City of the Spring Valley
properties was an uphill battle — dating back fifty
or more years — and with five separate elections
having been held before the City finally was suc-
cessful in voting a bond issue to take over the
private water system. It was not until May, 1928,
that a two-thirds majority vote was obtained for
a bond issue of $41,000,000 to purchase the
Spring Valley properties.

FORMAL acquisition of the Spring Valley prop-
erties was had on March 3, the passing of the
private water company to municipal ownership
having occurred at the City Hall, where Mayor
Rolph and other city officials and representatives
of the Spring Valley Water Company and the
Bank of Italy, accomplished the transfer.

Through an ordinance of the Board of Super-
visors, the Board of Public Works created a new
bureau — San Francisco Water Department. At
the department's head is Nelson A. Eckart, one
of the most competent and best known engineers
in the country, and a man of unusually capable
executive ability. That Mr. Eckart will conduct
this new municipally owned utility under the
most business-like conditions that can be estab-
lished by ordinance, consonant with existing
charter powers and restrictions, goes without

To the more than 400 officers and employees
of the former water company and who officially
were welcomed by Mayor Rolph as members of
this city's big municipal family of more than 1 1,-
000 employees, San Francisco MUNICIPAL REC-
ORD bids welcome.

Spring Valley is ours! It is one of the finest
water system in the world and one to which all
San Franciscans can point with pride.

San Francisco Knows How

BECAUSE of the good judgment displayed
by Mayor Rolph and the Police Department
during the recent "Unemployment Day" demon-
stration, San Francisco took its place as the out-
standing city of the world where paraders in the
army of unemployed did not resort to violence.
Instead of commanding the police to use clubs
on paraders and to trample them under the hoofs
of horses, as was done in many cities on that day,.
Mayor Rolph ordered for them a police escort ;|
he invited them to City Hall and there provided
a platform for speakers. The Mayor, recogniz-
ing that those unfortunates are human — like the
rest of us — welcomed them with handclasp, sat on
the same platform with their speakers and lis-
tened to their troubles. That action alone stamps
Mayor Rolph as the outstanding municipal ex-
ecutive of the world during these days of labor
depression. Surely San Francisco does know how/

The City's Health Record

SAN Francisco stands preeminently as one of
the healthiest cities in the United States! The
city's outstanding health record was entered the
latter part of last month in a national contest
among 125 American cities, conducted by the
United States Chamber of Commerce, by the
San Francisco Chamber of Commerce health
conservation committee.

Philip J. Fay, Chairman of the Chamber's
health committee, and City Health Officer Dr.
William C. Hassler predicted that San Fran-
cisco's record would win high standing. Dr.
Hassler said that 99 98/100 per cent of San Fran-
cisco dwellings are connected with the municipal
water system, whereas some eastern and mid
western cities show only 40 per cent of the dwell-
ings so connected.

San Franciscans point with pride to their city'i
unprecedented health record.

Nothing worries a chronic kicker like the
refusal of things to go wrong.




Gilmore Iron 8C Steel Co.


821 Folsotn Street


Telephone DAVENPORT 3700
Established 1871 — Incorporated December 17, 1888

The Only Carriage Bolt Works on the Pacific Coast

Manufacturers of

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And All Kinds of


201 Main Street San Francisco, Calif.

Diamond Springs


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The Best for Building Purposes

Developed and Manufactured by


1642 Russ BIdg., San Francisco

Phone DOuglas 1594

The Eby Machinery Company

35 Main Street

Latest Improved

Sawmill and Woodworking


1900 Third Street

San Francisco


MArket 2016
MArket 6909



San Francisco


California •

Manufacturers of

Riveted and Welded Steel Pipe, Well
Casing, Tanks, Boilers and Stacks,
Montague Hot Water Type Heaters,
Montague Siphons


Buy from firms that advertise with us




Nelson Andrew Eckart

'ELSON A. ECKART, named by the Board
of Public IVorks as general manager of the
San Francisco Water Department, newly created to
handle the Spring Valley water properties recently
acquired by the city at a price of approximately
$40,000,000, comes well equipped in education,
training and experience in executive positions, to
take on tliis xcork. His appointment to his present
position is, in a zvay, a promotion from that of Chief
Assistant Engineer on the Hetch Hetchy project,
in which he served for ten years under City
Engineer M. M. O'Shaughnessy.

For seven years prior to that, Mr. Eckart served
in the City Engineer's department, hazing entered
the city's scrz'ice in 1913 to fake charge, under the
direction of Chief O'Shaugltncssy, of the construc-
tion of the extensions to the Municipal Railway
system to serve the Panama-Pacific International
Exposition. These railways, for zuhich $3,500,000
in bonds zvere z'otcd, were constructed in record-
breaking time, and zvitliin the estimates of cost. The
success of that work was due to careful scheduling
by Mr. Eckart, so as to properly coordinate all of
the many contracts cdlling for delivery of the via-
terials and the equipment, the construction of the
tracks and the car barns.

iV 1919, Mr. Eckart left the street railzvay -work
and was detailed by Mr. O'Shaughnessy as con-
struction engineer to take general charge of the
zvork in the field of the construction zvork at Hetch
Hetchy, including the completion and operation of
the Hetch Hetchy railroad, the O'Shaughnessy dam,
and the nineteen-mile tunnel from Early Intake to

Early in 1921, following the resignation of A. J.
Cleary, Mr. Eckart was called to San Francisco as
chief assistant engineer. In that capacity he had,
under the City Engineer, general charge of all
public utility work, covering street railways, electric
power and the Hetch Hetchy zvork, the latter in-
cluding the Bay crossing pipeline, the Moccasin
pozver plant, the sixteen-mile foothill tunnels and
the twenty-eight-mile Coast Range tunnels nozv
under construction.

Nelson A. Eckart was born in Virginia City,
Nevada, in December, 1878, zvhere his father, IV. R.
Eckart, a distinguished engineer, was consultant to
the "Bominsa Kings," Flood, Mackey and O'Brien.

His family having moved shortly thereafter to San
Francisco, young Eckart received his education in
the San Francisco schools. He attended the old
South Co.^mopolitan, the Lincoln Grammar and the
Lozvell High schools. He went to the State Uni-
versity at Berkeley, from which he graduated in
1899 with the degree of Bachelor of Science in
mechanical and electrical engineering. At the Uni-
versity Eckart took an active part in student affairs,
having been a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon
fraternity, Theta Nu Epsilon and Skull and Keys,
and manager of the varsity baseball team.

Y TPON leaving the University, Mr. Eckart
* — entered the Union Iron IVorks as an appren-
tice, zvorking ten hours a day at 10 cents an hour,
but at the same time gained much practical experi-
ence in machine shop zvork as well as valuable un-
derstanding of the workman' s point of znezv toward

In 1900 he left the Iron Works to go with the
Standard Electric Company as resident engineer on
the construction of a 10,000 k.zur. hydro-electric
plant, the first to transmit electric energy at 60,000
volts to San Francisco. After spending three years
on that work, he went ecust to the Westinghouse
Electric & Manufacturing Company, where he spent
a year familiarising himself zvith the manufacture
and design of electrical equipment. Subsequently,
Mr. Eckart was assistant engineer to the California
State Board of Prison Directors, in charge of im-
provements at San Quentin and Folsom prisons,
and also deputy state engineer on the same work.
He resigned to go zvith the Snow Mountain Water
and Pozver Company in charge of their construction

'IS ne.vt employment zvas as resident engineer
for the Oso Development Company, in charge
of all preliminary work for their proposed Yellow
Creek development near Belden, on the Feather
River. He zvas one of the assistant engineers asso-
ciated with John R. Freeman in the completion of
the latter's report on the most available water supply
for San Francisco, soon after zvhich he joined the
staff of the City Engineer.

Mr. Eckart is married and the father of three
children. He is accustomed to an actiz'e outdoor
life, and finds recreation in a round or tzvo of golf
over the week-ends.





General Manager, San Francisco fVater Department




We Are Nearing

Spring Valley Acquisition, Made Possible

Through Giannini's Loyalty to San

Francisco, Marks Another Milestone

Toward the Finest Water System

in the World

By Mayor James Rolph, Jr.

THE long-awaited sale of the $41,-
000,000 Spring Valley 4>4 per
cent bonds has been consummated.
The Bank of Italy, through A. P.
Giannini, made the city a proposition
by which the bonds, voted for the
purchase of the Spring Valley Water
Company properties, were purchased
by the bank at par and accrued in-
terest. The bonds which were voted
about a year and a half ago and which
were first offered for sale in January,
1929, had since been in the hands of
Treasurer Duncan Matheson awaiting
a bid of par and accrued interest from
the first bidder willing to take the
whole issue. However, due to the
serious depression in which the bond
market had been for the last year and
a half no tender was received.

According to the proposition which
Mr. Giannini submitted for the Bank
of Italy, the bank agreed to purchase
the entire $41,000,000 at [tar and ac-
crued interest, provided the City Treas-
urer agreed to deposit the entire pro-

ceeds until March 3, on which date the
Spring Valley properties would be —
and now have been — taken over by
the city. The deposit of the bond pro-
ceeds with the Bank of Italy neces-
sarily had to comply with the require-
ments of the City Charter, which pro-
vides for the payment by the Bank of
Italy to the city of the minimum rate
of interest of 2 per cent and the fur-
nishing by the bank as security for the
deposit of the bond proceeds of Gov-
ernment or Municipal bonds equaling
110 per cent of the amount of the

According to that plan, the city on
March 3 paid the full purchase price
for the Spring Valley properties,
thereby enjoying the full water rev-
enues from that date. On the purchase
price there was deposited with the
Spring Valley treasurer sufficient
funds to pay the $22,000,000 Spring
Valley Water Company 5 per cent
bonds on the next call date, Novem-
ber 1, 1930, together with the amount

necessary to pay interest on the Spring
Valley Water Company bonds from
March 3 to November 1. The balance
of the purchase price was paid to the
Spring Valley Water Company for
distribution to the Spring Valley
Water Company stockholders.

As Mr. Giannini's proposition for
the purchase of the $41,000,000 Spring
Valley bonds was the only feasible one
suggested during the last year while
the bonds remained in Treasurer
Matheson's hands, city officials were
extremely optimistic regarding the
conclusion of this financing. Legal
details were checked and the con-
clusion of negotiations was effected
within a few days.

This is the second time the Bank of
Italy has come forward in the solution
of the city's financial problems.

During the latter part of December,
the Bank of Italy purchased at par
and accrued interest $4,000,000 San
Francisco Hetch Hetchy 4j^ per cent
bonds which were advertised by the




city without success, and the sale of
which was greatly necessary to carry
on the Hetch Hetchy aqueduct con-
struction and which otherwise would
have been brought to a standstill but
for the timely aid of Mr. Giannini to
purchase that block of bonds as a per-
manent investment for the Bank of
Italy Investment Account.

On behalf of the citizens of San
Francisco, I thank Mr. Giannini and
the officials of the Bank of Italy for
their public-spirited solution of the
problem by purchasing the Spring
Valley bonds, thus enabling the city to
immediately enter into the profitable
and highly advisable public business of
operating its own water supply for the
benefit of the people.

The water problem has been the

major project before the people for
nearly half a century and has been
beset during all that time by the tactics
of politicians, obstructionists, theor-
ists and pessimists. Its solution is
cause for general rejoicing.

It is seldom in the life of a big city,
where the spirit of gain seems to be
ahead of almost everything else, that
a native son of this city of San Fran-
cisco, the leading financier of the
world, a man whose very make-up is,
doing unto others and for others with-
out the spirit of gain for himself, a
man who from his boyhood days,
born in meager circumstances, has felt
the force of hard things of life and
who, step by step, climbed the ladder
of fame, all the time mindful of his
fellow citizens' interests and the in-

terests of the city that he loves so
well, that such a man should come
forward and use the influence and the
mighty financial operations of his big
institution to help the city of his birth.
We have grown to have an aflfection
for A. P. Giannini ; we have grown to
know the mighty giant that is within
our midst ; the offer was a patriotic
move on his part, as was his action in
purchasing the $4,000,000 worth of
Hetch Hetchy bonds so that the work
of Hetch Hetchy might be prosecuted
to its completion. And this crowning
glory of .San Francisco, the acquisi-
tion of the Spring Valley properties,
will always bear with it the name of
A. P. Giannini, in bringing these
properties to San FVancisco, free and
clear of all incumbrances.

GIANNINI— Loyal Son of San Francisco

WHEN San Francisco's official
family practically had aban-
doned hope of an early disposal of the
$41,000,000 in bonds that would pur-
chase for this city the Spring Valley
Water Company properties, it re-
mained for A. P. Giannini of the Bank
of Italy to step forward and, in man-
ner characteristic of his everlasting
loyalty to San Francisco, oflfer to buy
the bonds for the investment depart-
ment of his bank.

To his lieutenants, to whom he in-
trusted the legal phase of the bank's
proposition to take over the bonds,
Mr. Giannini said :

"This is a matter that concerns San
Francisco ; it is a matter that I would
like to see handled. In handling it I
want to make no profit." The proposi-
tion was accepted ; Mr. Giannini took
over the bonds and today San Fran-
cisco owns one of the finest water
systems in the world.

A. P. Giannini needs no introduc-
tion to the readers of the Municipal
Record. His name and that of the
Bank of Italy are on every tongue.
Mr. Giannini and his banks, and his
financial operations are world-wide
sensations — no other word would de-
scribe their meteoric rise to fame.

Mr. Giannini was born in San Jose
59 years ago. When he was 7 years
old his father died, leaving the mother
with three children. A few years later,
Mrs. Giannini married Lorenzo Sca-
tena, a commission merchant who later
became the patriarch of the Bank of
Italy. At 12 young Giannini decided
that he was going into business. Be-





fore and after school he followed his
stepfather into the commission dis-
trict. A year or two later he quit
school and became a salesman for
Scatena. His success in the commis-
sion business was phenomenal.

Retiring from the commission busi-
ness, Mr. Giannini entered the real
estate field and, in 1904, organized the
Bank of Italy, the institution's re-
sources at that time being $285,437

Today the resources of the Bank of
Italy exceed $675,000,000.

Mr. Giannini always has practiced
what he preaches. His creed is "Look
ahead — then back your judgment to
the limit."

A History

of the

Spring Valley

Controversy Over Municipal Ownership

Dates Back to 1873, When First

Attempt to Purchase Was Made

By M. M. O'Shaughnessy, City Engineer

THE subject of acquiring the
Spring \"alley Water Company
has been a source of controversy in
San Francisco since 1873, when the
first attempt to purchase it was made.
At that time the city expressed a
serious interest in acquiring the prop-
erty and under the chairmanship of
Mayor James Otis, brought from
Louisville, Kentucky, a distinguished
hydraulic engineer named T. R. Scow-
den, to investigate the question of
water supply and make a report. He
spent a year from August 3, 1874, to
July 30, 1875, in making studies for a
water supply for San Francisco. His
final conclusion and recommendation
was that the city buy the Calaveras
lands in Santa Clara County of over
one thousand acres, and the Vallejo
]\Iills property and water rights down
\iles Canyon in Alameda County.
Resolution Presented

In May, 1875, the Special Commit-
tee presented the following resolution,
declaring it to be expedient and proper
to purchase the water, water rights,
and property, etc., of the Alameda
Water Company :

"Resolved, That it is the opinion
of this Board, after a careful and
thorough examination and considera-
tion of the report of T. R. Scowden,

engineer on the various sources of
water supply, that it is expedient and
proper and for the interest of the city
and county of San Francisco and her
inhabitants to acquire, by purchase,
for said city and county, the water
works, reservoirs, pipes, flumes, ditches,
distributing mains, water rights and
real estate owned by the corpora-
tion known as the Alameda Water
Company, and the real estate con-
nected therewith, with all the water
rights, creeks, ponds, springs and

FIVE separate elections
were held before San Fran-
cisco was able to successfully
carry the purchase of the
Spring Valley Water Company
system, says Mr. O'Shaugh-
nessy in this article, and it was
not until May, 1928, that a two-
thirds majority was obtained
for a price of $41,000,000. The
1929 revenues from the Water
Company measure up to $7,-
000,000 yearly, which will net
San Francisco about $1,200,000
annually from public owner-
ship, after paying the bond re-
demption and all operating ex-
pense. — The Editor.


sources of supply pertaining thereto,
as shown by the reports and sur\eys
filed of T. R. Scowden, Engineer of
Water Supply, and owned by said
Alameda Water Company. Also, to
contract with said corporation to fur-
nish, construct and put in operation
the necessary reservoirs, distributing
mains, pipes, flumes, tunnels, ditches
and machinery to furnish an abundant
supply of pure fresh water, as con-
templated and provided in an .Act ol
the last legislature, approved !\Iarch
30, 1874.

Committee Authorized I

"Resolved, That the Committee,
consisting of the Mayor, Auditor, and
City and County Attorney, be. and js
hereby authorized and empowered to
view and carefully examine the prop-
erty hereinbefore mentioned, and to i
enter into negotiations with the corll
poration known as the .Alameda Water
Company, and to contract with and
purchase from said corporation their
water works, reservoirs, distributing
mains, pipes, flumes, ditches and water
rights owned and claimed by .said cor-
poration, and the real estate connected
therewith, and to contract with said
corporation to furnish, construct and
put in operation the necessary reser-
voirs, distributing mains, pipes, flumes,




tunnels, ditches, and niacliinerv to fur-
nish this city and county and her in-
habitants with an aliundant sui)ply of
pure, fresh water, and report the re-
sult to this Hoard as soon as prac-

On the 31st of May, 1875, tlie fol-
lowing communication was presented,
read and placed on file :

"San Francisco. May 25, 1875.
"James H. Deering, Esq.,
Chairman of Committee on
W'ater Supply.
''Dear Sir:

"I w'ould respectfully state, for the
information of your Committee, and
through them to the Honorable Board
of Supervisors of the city and county
of San Francisco, that the Alameda
Water Company have disposed of
their water rights and real property
appertaining thereto to the Spring
\'alley Water Company of San Fran-

Very respectfully,

President, Alameda \^'ater Company."

This letter at that time ended the
quest of San Francisco in obtaining
a water supply.

Attempt to Purchase

On July 30, 1875, Mayor James
Otis, Monroe Ashbury, Auditor, and
W. C. Burnett, City and County At-
torney, made an attempt to buy the
Spring \'alley Water Works proper-
ties. The companv quoted a price of
$14,500,000, which the Mayor de-
clined on the ground that it was in
excess of the true cost of the works,
as shown by the Company's books, and
also in excess of the real value.

The Spring \'alley Water Company
remained in possession of the source

of su]iply and under the new consti-
tution of the State of California —
1879 — the Board of Supervisors had
annual spring field days in determin-
ing the rate of compensation to be
paid for water during the year. In
those days there were twelve super-
visors. It was necessary to have nine
favorable votes to successfully fix a
water rate. After much testimony and
oratory by witnesses, the rate was
satisfactorily determined each year.

Charter Installed in 1900

Our new Charter was installed in
1900, the number of supervisors in-
creased to 18, and under the leadership
of Mayor Phelan, an active assault
was made on the water company's
rates. Mayor Phelan went further and
had surveys made in the high Sierra
to get the most desirable source of
mountain water supply. He made the
original filings on the Tuolumne River.
These were disapproved by Secretarv
of the Interior Hitchcock, and it was
not until ]\Iayor Rolph assumed con-
trol of the city in 1912 that we got
real action on the Sierra water by
putting through Congress the Raker
Bill, which gave us primarj' rights on
the Tuolumne River.

On the 24th day of February, 1913,
the Board of Supervisors passed Reso-
lution No. 639, requesting the city
engineer to transmit a list of proper-
ties belonging to the Spring \'alley
Water Company, necessary, available,
and usable for a source of water
supply for the city. On the 19th of
November, 1913, I. as the city engi-
neer, filed plans and maps indicating
the necessary properties to be acquired.
On the 31st of December. 1913. the
city attorney, Percy V. Long, filed
action in condemnation in the Superior

Court of the city and county against
those selected properties.

In the meantime, the city appointed
an .Advisory Water Committee con-
sisting of James Rolph, Jr., Mayor;
Matt. I. Sullivan, attorney at law ;
Supervisor Alexander T. Vogel.sang,
Sui)ervisor Thomas Jennings; Percy
\'. Long, city attorney; and M. M.
O'Shaughnessy, city engineer. The
city engineer conferred with the com-
mittee and discussed the of
the properties. The water company
accumulated the purchase of the
properties. The water company ac-
cumulated large areas of land, over
100,000 acres, much of which was for
speculative and much for combative
purposes against the proposed rival

Online LibrarySan Francisco (Calif.). Board of SupervisorsThe municipal employee (Volume v.3 (Jan. - Sept. 1929)) → online text (page 51 of 84)