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50 Years Ago: DWP Headquarters Plans Announced

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, February 16, 2011, at 11:14AM
Department of Water & Power Headquarters Dick Whittington Studio / USC Digital Archives

Aerial view of the latter stages of construction at the Department of Water & Power's headquarters building on Bunker Hill. Via USC Digital Archives

On February 16, 1961, the Department of Water & Power announced plans to build its $31-million headquarters building atop Bunker Hill. Fifty years later, the building is still recognized as one of Downtown's most iconic structures.

The 17-story tower, designed by A.C. Martin and Associates, was built to house 3,200 employees, replacing offices in 11 buildings scattered across Downtown. Along with consolidation, the building also offered a healthy dose of high-technology. It was designed to be heated without the use of a boiler, and the pool that surrounds the structure played a part in the air conditioning system.

The structure's first occupants moved in on May 14, 1965, and the building was dedicated one month later in a ceremony attended by civic officials and business leaders. The eight fountains outside the building were turned on by Elizabeth Scattergood and Rose Mulholland, daughters of the two men who were DWP's first chief engineers.

Among the buildings that the department moved out of were three that it owned near Broadway and 2nd. Those structures are now proposed to be turned into a nightlife destination and northern gateway for the Broadway corridor.

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