The Battle over Hetch Hetchy: America's Most Controversial Dam and the Birth of Modern Environmentalism

By Robert W. Righter | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4

Two Views of One Valley

"Short-haired women and long-haired men."

CITY ENGINEER MARSDEN MANSON

"Despoiling gain-seekers and mischief-makers
of every degree from Satan to Senators."

JOHN MUIR

IN EARLY 1908, after five years of frustration, the San Francisco team had every reason to be confident. Their view of the use of Hetch Hetchy Valley loomed large. They had the support of Gifford Pinchot, and they expected that President Roosevelt would follow the lead of his chief forester. Secretary Garfield, although he had not made his final decision, leaned toward San Francisco. These three national figures made a formidable alliance. Roosevelt was the strongest politically, although the weakest link philosophically. Yet San Francisco anticipated that the personal influence of Roosevelt's friend, University of California president Benjamin Ide Wheeler, as well as the pleas of Phelan and Manson, would trump the arguments of Muir and Robert Underwood Johnson. Psychologically, the city could capitalize on the nationwide sympathy for a community devastated by earthquake and fire. Politicians would find it difficult to oppose the city's desire for a pure, reliable water supply, whether it was in a national park or not. The leaders of the Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts, although still opposed to the city's water ambitions, were willing to talk as long as San Francisco acknowledged and guaranteed their senior water rights on the Tuolumne River. All the forces seemed aligned for victory.

-66-

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The Battle over Hetch Hetchy: America's Most Controversial Dam and the Birth of Modern Environmentalism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • The Hetch Hetchy Harriet Monroe vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Contents xiii
  • Hetch Hetchy Chronology xv
  • Cast of Characters xvii
  • List of Illustrations xxi
  • Introduction 3
  • Chapter 1 - The Uses of the Valley 11
  • Chapter 2 - The Imperial City and Water 29
  • Chapter 3 - Water, Earthquake, and Fire 45
  • Chapter 4 - Two Views of One Valley 66
  • Chapter 5 - San Francisco to [Show Cause] 96
  • Chapter 6 - Congress Decides 117
  • Chapter 7 - To Build a Dam 134
  • Chapter 8 - The Power Controversy 167
  • Chapter 9 - The Legacies of Hetch Hetchy 191
  • Chapter 10 - Restoration 216
  • Afterword 242
  • Notes 245
  • Index 279
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