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  • Writer's pictureRobert P. Fitton

William Mulholland, Time Travel and the Los Angeles Aqueduct

Bill Mulholland

Robert P. Fitton Audio

First, how important is William Mulholland? They named a highway winding through the Santa Monica Mountains after him. What about the aqueduct that brought water to Los Angeles? And why should I write a book about time travel back to that epoch? The answer to the first and second questions is the answer to the third question. And the answer to the third question involves a courageous commander, Mark McKenna and the demented genius, Dr. Nieeko Mauro, who wishes to make sure the aqueduct was never constructed. And Nieeko does prevent the water coming to Los Angeles in 1913. The Los Angeles world in a new timeline without the aqueduct comes into being in a way that John Paul Sartre would have a field day-jour de terrain. (I can use the Google translator, too.)lol

Existence Sartre says for human beings is paramount. Forget any essence mankind may have because it doesn’t mean anything. Being in the world and all its dreaded fear is amplified in this desecrated physical landscape. What to do? What to do?

Time Portal Alpha Begins

Commander Mark McKenna is an old adversary of Dr. Nieeko Mauro, primarily because Nieeko is not on the up and up. Nieeko does not think it’s fair that the United States should have abundance. Before we go any further there is another argument which to which I subscribe. Water would have come to LA. Later rather than sooner and probably not by the tenacity and competence of Bill Mulholland. But things would have been different and LA wouldn’t be the powerhouse that it is today.

The Los Angeles of Nieeko’s Time Line

Nieeko wrecks LA by going back in the time, utilizing the time project. What a rat and to complicate things, he uses his holographic image to harass and attack Mark McKenna and his crew. In the old Wild Wild West TV show there were as many villains as there were beautiful women. I was thinking of  Victor Buono’s Count Manzeppi. I would have loved to have Dr. Miguelito Loveless as my villain but that would be too obvious. The Manzeppi character eventually became meaner- a hardened foil to Commander McKenna.

Count Manzeppi.

Loveless played by Michael Dunn

So we know what happens. What about Mullholland? Why is he so important? He migrated to the US from Ireland and after a number of jobs in different cities he became a well digger to San Pedro. As a Deputy Zanjero- the man who tended the ditch of water coming into LA. By 1880 in was Mullholland was in charge of laying iron water pipe. By 1886 he was superintendent.


Owens Valley 1910

Four years later, the Los Angeles Water Department was established with Mulholland as its superintendent. In 1911, the Water Department was renamed the Bureau of Water Works and Supply with Mulholland named as its chief engineer. Mulholland had a grand design to move water to Los Angeles. Mulholland scouted out the route with former mayor Fred Eaton and engineer J. B. Lippincott and then oversaw the 233-mile aqueduct, completed in 1913.

J. B. Lippincott, Fred Eaton and William Mulholland, Los Angeles Times, August 6, 1906.

The Jawbone Siphon

3900 workers at its highest level—-164 tunnels—– As complex as building the Panama Canal. Water from the Owens River poured out at Newhall in November 1913. Mulholland spoke succinctly: “There it is. Take it”

Water from Owens Valley

Look what happened in Los Angeles once the water came to the city. It was the vision and the implementation of a project at the time it was needed in order to boost Los Angeles into preeminence.

“There it is-Take it.”

McKenna struggles through time with Nieeko. The hero is always ready for the journey as he and his prissy girlfriend part ways back in time. The historical plot now moves along with McKenna’s crew, culminating with working on the aqueduct itself. Nieeko’s attacks continues against McKenna and his crew. McKenna meets Aubrey, the love of his life back in 1910. His fight is with Nieeko to restore the timeline. And so it flows and McKenna learns how to live.


In a wild time travel novel, Mark McKenna and the crew of Time Portal Alpha board a vehicle which had only simulated journeys back in time. The maniacal Dr. Nieeko Mauro, a man both genius and evil has broken the time barrier to radically alter the current timeline. Nieeko wishes to diminish the United States of America into a minor world power, seething in poverty and unable to economically take care of its own people. A point in time exists in the twentieth century where Nieeko altered the timeline and prevents a project that brought economic growth to America in the 20th century. McKenna is confronted by Nieeko with unforeseen circumstances and a surprise ending.

LA 1903

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