Inyo County Points of Interest

Historic Point of Interest: Alabama Gates Near Lone Pine Alabama Gates and Gate House
2 November 2012
Historic Point of Interest: Alabama Gates Near Lone Pine Alabama Gates and Gate House
4 March 2016
Los Angeles Aqueduct at Alabama Gates Los Angeles Aqueduct
2 November 2012
Dynamite and wire found in Owens Valley circa 1924 Dynamite and wire found during sabotage incidents of aqueduct
Circa 1924
Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA Library

(Click Photos to Zoom)

Alabama Gates
US 395 at Los Angeles Aqueduct Road
North of Lone Pine
Built 1913

In 1905, Los Angeles officials began buying land and water rights in Owens Valley to divert water from the Owens River to Los Angeles. Construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct started in 1908 and finished in 1913 when the Alabama Gates were built.

The Los Angeles Aqueduct was 223 mile long.

The Alabama Gates were named after the nearby Alabama Hills.

Before being diverted, the Owens River fed Owens Lake which had been twelve miles long, eight miles wide and fifty feet deep in some places. After the Owens River was diverted, Owens Lake went dry and Owens Valley was transformed from The Switzerland of California into a desert. The economy of Owens Valley was destroyed.

Roman Polanski's movie, Chinatown, is based on this sad tale.

On 3 November 1931, the Los Angeles Times reported: Sunday night's blast touched off on the Grape Vine siphon marked the eighth actual dynamiting of the Owens Valley Aqueduct system in a series of outrages directed against the city's water supply system outside the city of Los Angeles.

One of the eight "outrages" occurred in 1927 when a group of armed ranchers seized the Alabama Gates and dynamited part of the system, letting water return to the Owens River.

The gatehouse was bombed again on 15 September 1976. One male juvenile was arrested and convicted.

A historic marker is located about five hundred meters north of here on the west side of US 395.

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