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Tuesday, Nov 05 2013 06:00 AM

Mules help celebrate Los Angeles aqueduct centennial

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Mule teams, such as the one in this 1911 photograph, comprised of 50 to 75 mules hauled cement from Monolith up and down the route of the LA Aqueduct during its construction. Photo courtesy of Judi Adamson

A string of 100 mules files out of the Mojave Air and Space Port on their way to follow the Los Angeles Aqueduct south into the LA basin Friday, Nov. 1. The mules are part of a performance art project designed to both commemorate the 100th anniversary of the completion of the aqueduct and the role mule teams played in its construction as well as raise awareness of the issue of water distribution. Gregory D. Cook / Tehachapi News

After resting up for a day at the Mojave Air and Space Port, 100 mules and their handlers head back to the Los Angeles Aqueduct Friday, Nov. 1, on their journey to follow the water way from its origins in the Owens Valley to the LA basin. Billed as a performance art project, the march is designed to both commemorate the 100th anniversary of the completion of the aqueduct and the role mule teams played in its construction as well as raise awareness of the issue of water distribution. Gregory D. Cook / Tehachapi News

Several mules rest in a corral at the Mojave Air and Space Port Thursday, Oct. 31, after making their way along the Los Angeles Aqueduct from Lone Pine. One hundred mules spent the day at Mojave before resuming their journey along the aqueduct. Gregory D. Cook / Tehachapi News

The public was invited to come and visit with 100 mules spending the day at the Mojave Air and Space Port Thursday, Oct. 31. The mules, part of a performance art piece, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the aqueduct's completion and the role mule teams played in its construction, are being led the length of the waterway, and plan on arriving in Glendale on Nov. 11. Gregory D. Cook / Tehachapi News

Much of the materials and worker supplies used in the construction of the LA Aqueduct were transported by mule teams like this 10-mule team seem pulling into a work camp in 1913. Photo courtesy of Judi Adamson

Celebrating the centennial of the opening of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, 100 mules traveling from Owens Valley to Los Angeles made a rest stop at the Mojave Air and Space Port on Thursday, Oct. 31.

"One Hundred Mules walking the Los Angeles Aqueduct" is a performance art piece hosted by founder of Metabolic Studios, Lauren Bon, to raise awareness about the issue of water distribution in California and to reinstill a sense of appreciation for the water source that has long sustained the city of Los Angeles.

Organizers began the journey on Oct. 15 in Owens Valley and will have traversed more than 230 miles by Nov. 11. So far, the mules and 30-person "wrangler crew" have made their way through Lone Pine, Little Lake, and Pearsonville as they make their way south.

The mules were used to not only represent the years since the aqueduct first opened, but symbolize the primary source of labor that was used to help construct more than 100 miles of steel and concrete pipelines that make up the water channel.

The Los Angeles Aqueduct, which was once the city's primary source of water, has long been a controversial topic regarding its social and environmental impact on the Owens Valley.

According to Jennifer Roeser -- who owns a pack station in Crowley Lake with her husband, Lee, and provided the mules for the trek-- the group travels anywhere from 15 to 18 miles per day.

"We have taken a lot of precaution to ensure they safety of the mules," Roeser said. "This has really been a wonderful journey for all of us."

Subsequent to departing from Mojave, organizers planned to make their way to Neenach.

The performance will culminate Nov. 12 with a celebration at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank.

Tehachapi played an important role in the construction of the aqueduct. The cement plant at Monolith, now owned by Lehigh Southwest, was built to provide the material to build the aqueduct.

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