Permission is hereby granted to: [caption title]. EATON LAND, CATTLE CO.

Permission is hereby granted to: [caption title]. N.p. [Bishop, California]: Eaton Land & Cattle Co., n.d. [1920s]. Single sheet, 7.8x13.5 cm, printed on recto only. A printed fishing permit to be filled in by the permittee, accompanied by a preprinted two-cent return envelope with the Eaton Land & Cattle Co.'s return address. According to an Eaton family member: "The family issued permits for those wanting to fish on Eaton property in Long Valley -- it was also to prevent the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power from interfering with Eaton irrigation projects. For a while we had armed guards." A relic of the California water wars. American politician Frederick Eaton (1856-1934) was the man largely responsible for the growth of Los Angeles into a mega-city. In the early part of the twentieth century, Eaton bought Owens Valley water rights for the City of Los Angeles, thereby ensuring a supply of water necessary for expansion. Eaton, a wealthy man who had once been the mayor of Los Angeles, also bought land as a private citizen, hoping to sell it back to Los Angeles at a tidy profit. He acquired a large piece of land in the Long Valley of Mono County which he called the Eaton Land & Cattle Company. "During the time that Eaton was surveying the Owens Valley land for his personal water project, the federal government was also in the process of reclaiming land in that area for a large irrigation system in response to the newly signed Newlands Reclamation Act. Many local farmers willingly gave up their land to make this project possible. However, since Eaton was also buying thousands of acres of land at the same time, 'it was a common but ill-founded assumption in the valley that Eaton was representing the Reclamation Service. Eaton did nothing to correct the inference that his activity in the valley was related to the government project' (Sauder, Robert A., The Lost Frontier: Water Diversion in the Growth and Destruction of Owens Valley Agriculture [Tucson and London: University of Arizona Press, 1994]). In addition to knowingly withholding information, Eaton used inside information from Joseph Lippincott, the regional engineer of the Reclamation Service, to help gain the water rights ... Fred Eaton used his inside advance information about the aqueduct project to enrich himself and his associates at the expense of the city of Los Angeles and the Owens Valley landowners. Eaton claimed in a 1905 interview with the Los Angeles Express that he turned over all his water rights to Los Angeles without being paid for them, 'except that I retained the cattle which I had been compelled to take in making the deals ... and mountain pasture land of no value except for grazing purposes' ("Fred Eaton back from Owens River," Los Angeles Express, August 1905). A portion of the land owned by Eaton was originally planned by Mulholland and Los Angeles to be used to build a storage reservoir. The Round Valley, Eaton's 'mountain pasture land,' was strategically located on the Owens River in Inyo County [i.e. Mono County] upstream of the Owens River Gorge and Owens Valley, and an excellent site to purchase. Eventually, Eaton's demands for a million dollars to sell it became so entrenched that they ruptured his relationship with Mulholland. William Mulholland refused to authorize the purchase and explored other areas to build the reservoir. Eventually he settled on an area which he had considered for a potential dam site during the process of designing and building the Los Angeles Aqueduct, a section of San Francisquito Canyon located north of the present day Santa Clarita Valley, and built the St. Francis Dam. In March 1928, the dam catastrophically failed due to unknown weak bedrock formations. The flood caused much destruction and many deaths downstream along the Santa Clara River. Eaton's finances crumbled, also in 1928, and his ranch was acquired by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, where Crowley Lake was created for the aqueduct system's new storage" (Wikipedia). Excellent condition. (#167946).

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