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Program Information
TUC Radio
By Dr. Gray Brechin: Imperial San Francisco
Weekly Program
Dr. Gray Brechin
 Maria Gilardin  Contact Contributor
This is Part TWO of the history of San Francisco. The town that grew from 16 houses on sand dunes in 1850 to the largest city on the West Coast in only 30 years.

Gray Brechin explains in the first chapter of his book Imperial San Francisco how the gold rush connected two major factors for city building: A swelling of the population and the growth of investment capital.

But the mix of people and money was lacking another major ingredient: water. As the first wave of destruction of California was brought about by gold mining, the second wave was caused by the damming of rivers, and the flooding of land for reservoirs, even eventually inside the protected space of Yosemite National Park.

Brechin also explains the connection between the building of Los Angles and the draining of farmland in the Owens Valley. He ends with an intriguing sketch of the creation of the Bureau of Reclamation. They made the quest for water a national issue. The Bureau claimed to supply water to small farmers but ended up becoming the greatest builder of cities.

And as this program from the TUC Radio archives is re-broadcast in early December 2022, an extraordinary news item from November 17 headlines that: “The largest dam demolition in history is approved for a Western river. ... Two weeks ago U.S. regulators approved a plan to demolish four dams on the Klamath river and open up hundreds of miles of salmon habitat. That would be the largest dam removal and river restoration project in the world when it goes forward.”

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221129_brechin_imperial_san_francisco_two
00:29:30 1 Aug. 11, 2000
Inverness, CA
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 00:00:30  192Kbps mp3
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Download Program Podcast
221129_brechin_imperial_san_francisco_two
00:29:30 1 Aug. 11, 2000
Inverness, CA
  View Script
    
 00:29:00  192Kbps mp3
(MB) None
73 Download File...