Pulgas Water Temple

San Francisco gets its water from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite by way of a 167-mile aquaduct. The aquaduct empties into Crystal Springs Reservoir, a man-made lake in an earthquake rift valley on the San Andreas fault, about 20 miles south of San Francisco. The massive water project was completed in 1934. "[A]s a monument to the engineering marvel that brought Hetch Hetchy water more than 160 miles across California from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the Bay Area", San Francisco built the Pulgas Water Temple at the site where the Hetch Hetchy empties into Crystal Springs.

It's just north of Filoli.

Pulgas Water Temple

Pulgas Water Temple

Note that there was no grate over the viewing pool inside the temple was when I was a kid. You could look right down to see the water rushing in under the temple.

Pulgas Water Temple

Drunk teenagers jumping into the temple and drowning in the 1970s put an end to that. It's still a neat place to visit.

Pulgas Water Temple

Pulgas Water Temple

Pulgas Water Temple

The aquaduct empties into a canal behind the temple now, instead of underneath it.

Pulgas Water Temple

There it is: some of the cleanest, best-tasting drinking water anywhere in the United States. San Francisco's water has its own Facebook page.

Pulgas Water Temple

Pulgas Water Temple

Pulgas Water Temple

Crystal Springs Reservoir, and the San Andreas fault, as seen from a freeway rest-stop after lunch.

Crystal Springs Reservoir


Michelle said...

I have a distinct memory of looking down into the temple and seeing the rushing water when I was a kid. Funny how your post brought that back.

Bay Area Tendrils Garden Travel said...

Totally unfamiliar with this temple. Cool post, as always. Alice

Jenn said...

Drunk teenagers - because everyone wants a dead idiot in their drinking water.

One of these days I hope to come up and visit my sister, looking forward to tasting that famous water!

kas said...

I seem to recall it somehow flowed in from all sides and down the center. Anyone else have that recall, I was super small when Dad held me out over it....

chuck b. said...

That's how I remember it too.

MattyF said...

It was most definitely wide open many years ago - I can tell you a little story... my fraternity at a nearby college (shall remain nameless) held our clandestine initiations once a year on late-nite moonlit fall evenings here for several years in the mid 80's. After several fifths of Jack D, we'd walk the pledges through the shallow outer pool and then initiate them in the temple and I distinctly remember it being wide open and you could see what looked like a massive toilet bowl flushing incredible amounts of water over all the edges of a circular pool into the lower channelway... it was always very tempting for one of us to jump over and see if you could swim under the tunnel out the the flume, but no one ever tried it, at least not with our frat.

Anonymous said...

Yep, back in the hippie days, we'd come down from SF and chill there -- smoking something was very much involved.
In those days it was a wide open basin
and to see the tremendous flow of water through it was a total rush, in more than one way!

Liz said...

I, too, have distinct memories of peering over the edge being held fast by my father. The force and power of the water was terrifying and haunts my dreams to this day.
It was only through this post that I validated that strange experience.

ladyc said...

We went there several times when I was a child. It was wide open and one of the scariest places I ever saw. I always had the most awful compunction to jump into it. It is still frightening to think about. My first visit was in the mid 50's.

Michael Moore said...

Thank you! I thought my memory was slipping (or I was more stoned than I thought, "back in the day") but one of my few memories of the 60's was watching the water gushing through the Temple. Sorry to hear they had to cover it up but good to know I haven't totally lost it at 63 ;~)