A Look Back in History: A Romp Through the SFPUC’s Construction

Rather than a focus on a specific project or accomplishment of Spring Valley Water Company, Hetch Hetchy Water and Power, the San Francisco Water Department, or the SFPUC, this brief article looks at the ever-so-briefly domain of the agency’s construction history.

Construction history is not restricted to buildings, but it includes the construction of civil engineering and infrastructure. It covers bridges, sewers, power stations, mills, etc. The key focus of construction history is to understand how these objects were constructed.

The construction industry progresses into the future thanks to the breakthroughs of the past, and innovation compounds over time. So the agency owes a debt of gratitude to those who came before, and continue to “pay it forward.”

The following contemporary photo presents a marvelous contrast to the first photo in this article. Yes, it is a different dam. But one can still imagine the striking differences in how construction got done. Think of the headcount, equipment and condition differences between the 1880’s and the 2010’s. If the accomplishment of the new Calaveras Dam is awesome, it’s simply awe-inspiring to consider what they accomplished in the 19th century. And so on back through the ages.