A Look Back in History: Bay Crossing Pipelines No. 1 and 2

In July 2013, the SFPUC Photography department was asked to participate in the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) program. This program, established in 1969 by the National Park Service in collaboration with the Library of Congress and the American Society of Civil Engineers, documents historic sites and structures related to engineering and industry.

B.D.P.L. 1& 2, Spraying Operation, View SW. 1 of 2 negatives.

In 2014, SFPUC photographers spent two weeks taking large format 4×5 photographs of the Bay Crossing Reach of the Bay Division Pipelines Nos. 1 and 2, including the bridge, the caisson, valve houses and submarine pipes. All photographs had to be done strictly according to the Library of Congress specifications, not an easy task when you are out on the windy bay in a small boat, or dragging heavy equipment along the narrow pipeline bridge.

Bay Crossing Pipeline #2. Concreting submarine pipe.

Images from our historical collection were also chosen for the project. Taken between 1924 and 1936, these photographs document the project during various stages of construction.

For nearly 90 years these pipelines served an important role in supplying the City of San Francisco with drinking water. This year they will be replaced by a new tunnel; one that lies beneath 100 feet of water and stretches five miles across the San Francisco Bay.

The hard work and dedication that went in to the construction of the first Bay Crossing pipelines will not be forgotten. The historical and contemporary photographs were accepted for inclusion in the HAER collection at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and soon will be available online through the Library’s website.

Bay Crossing Pipeline No. 2. Shore conn. East side of Dumbarton Strait.
General View of Dredge looking North. Cold Storage 11/2011