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How Local Politics Shape Federal PolicyBusiness, Power, and the Environment in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles$
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Sarah S. Elkind

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834893

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807869116_elkind

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Flood Control and Political Exclusion at Whittier Narrows, 1938–1948

Flood Control and Political Exclusion at Whittier Narrows, 1938–1948

(p.83) Chapter Three Flood Control and Political Exclusion at Whittier Narrows, 1938–1948
How Local Politics Shape Federal Policy

Sarah S. Elkind

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on the saddle, known as Whittier Narrows, which marks a pinch point for waters underground as well as for the San Gabriel River and the Rio Hondo running on the surface. The same geological processes that made the ridge and saddle known as the Narrows pushed up an underground layer of rock. That rock layer, in turn, forces groundwater nearly to the surface of the broad basin above the Narrows. In the 1850s, this easily accessible groundwater attracted truck farmers to the valley above the Narrows, where they established an agricultural economy that persisted into the early twentieth century. By the 1890s, railroad links from Los Angeles to Whittier and the development of a number of small, private irrigation companies also supported successful commercial citrus and walnut below the Narrows.

Keywords:   saddle, Whittier Narrows, San Gabriel River, Rio Hondo, geological processes, agricultural economy

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