National Parks - The Great Disaster | 4

American History Tellers

By Wondery

National Parks - The Great Disaster | 4

Wednesday, 5 September

In the early morning hours of Wednesday, April 18, 1906, the city of San Francisco was torn apart by a huge earthquake–but it was the subsequent fires that did the most damage. As the city sought to rebuild, it also sought a more secure water supply, to break the stranglehold of a water company monopoly and insure that if fire were to strike the city again, abundant water was available to fight it.

But a new reservoir would require the flooding of a treasured portion of Yosemite, the Hetch Hetchy Valley, one of John Muir’s favorite locations. He and his new Sierra Club fiercely opposed the plan. But politicians in DC and San Francisco loved it. Played out across the nation, a conflict between preservationists like Muir and conservationists like Theodore Roosevelt would ultimately decide the fate of Hetch Hetchy.


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