Fred C. Finkle papers, Water Resources Collection
Scope and Contents of the Collection
The collection comprises correspondence, engineer’s reports, government documents, legal cases, photographs, and over 800 blueprints, maps, graphs, and tables ranging from 1891-1933 (bulk 1902-1912), including survey maps and blueprint designs for dams, tunnels, pipelines, reservoir sites, and irrigation projects in California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Mexico. The collection also includes commercial maps of United States forest lands; U.S. Geological Survey topographical maps of California; water measurement tables; rainfall estimate charts, and blueprint copies of ordering forms for customized turbine components.
- Finkle, Fred C. (Creator, Person)
Language of Materials
Materials are in English
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
All requests for permission to reproduce or to publish must be submitted in writing to Special Collections.
Frederick Cecil Finkle (1865-1949) was an engineer and geologist who designed or consulted on many dams and major hydroelectric projects in Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, California, and Mexico. Finkle was a native of Viroqua, Wisconsin, and studied engineering at the University of Wisconsin from 1882 until 1887. After relocating to California he began his career as assistant engineer with the James T. Taylor & Co. civil engineering firm in Pomona. From 1887 until 1888, he was chief engineer for the North Riverside Land and Water Company, the Jurupa Land and Water Company, and the Vivienda Water Company, while also taking charge of other irrigating systems in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. From 1889 to 1893, Finkle was city engineer of San Bernardino, and at the same time acted as a consulting engineer on water works and sewer systems for institution of the State of California. From 1893 until 1897, he was chief engineer for the East Riverside Irrigation district, the Riverside-Highland Water Company, and the Grapeland Irrigation district, and from 1897 to 1900 was chief engineer for the Redlands Electric Light and Power Company and the California Power Company. In 1900, Finkle began work as chief engineer for the Edison Electric Co. (later the Southern California Edison Co.) in Los Angeles, overseeing the design and construction of seven hydroelectric power plants while consulting on a number of other large water projects. After 1906, Finkle worked as a consulting engineer and expert in hydraulic work for at least 20 irrigation and water supply companies in the western states and in Mexico, as well as for large corporations made up of partnerships between private water companies and public service corporations. Among these included all the mutual water companies in the Imperial Valley of California; the Southern California Edison Company; Arrowhead Reservoir and Power Company, Redlands and Yucaipa Land and Water Company, Mount Hood Railway and Power Company of Portland, Oregon, and the Colorado Power Company of Denver, Colorado. In 1911, Finkle organized an independent civil, mechanical, and hydraulic engineering consultation firm in Los Angeles, a practice which he conducted until the time of his death. He was chief engineer or consulting engineer for eighteen storage reservoir dams, designing the Lake Arrowhead Dam on Little Bear Creek in the San Bernardino Mountains, and the Boulder Creek Power Plant in Colorado. In addition to his professional interests Finkle dedicated much of his time to working for reforms benefitting workers. For example, in 1912 he issued a call for the People’s Charter Conference, which caused a recall of the entire city administration of Los Angeles.
Finkle was also an outspoken opponent of several high profile water projects that he determined were defective or impracticable, including the poorly designed and constructed St. Francis Dam project, which he condemned four years before its catastrophic failure causing the loss of 631 lives and property loss of $20 million. Finkle was also an expert trial witness in water rights and supply cases, serving the Los Angeles Flood Control District and appearing in court for the cities of Burbank and Glendale, California. He died in 1949 in Santa Monica, California.
Sources National Cyclopedia of American Biography Vol. XXVII, pg. 295-6. New York: James T. White & Co., 1951. Burdette, Robert J. Greater Los Angeles and Southern California Portraits and Personal Memoranda. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1910.
35 feet (35 feet (35 boxes) 4 map drawers)
Frederick Cecil Finkle (1865-1949) was an engineer and geologist who worked as Chief Engineer, Consulting Engineer, and expert in hydraulic work for at least 20 irrigation and water project companies in California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Mexico. Among these were the mutual water companies in the Imperial Valley of California; the Southern California Edison Company; Arrowhead Reservoir and Power Company, Redlands and Yucaipa Land and Water Company, Mount Hood Railway and Power Company of Portland, Oregon, and the Colorado Power Company of Denver, Colorado. The collection comprises correspondence, engineer’s reports, government documents, legal cases, photographs, and over 800 blueprints, maps, and graphs ranging from 1891-1933 (bulk 1902-1912), including survey maps and blueprint designs for dams, tunnels, pipelines, reservoir sites, and irrigation plans.
Series 1 Colorado Water Engineering Projects
Series 2 Government Documents
Series 3 Legal Documents (Southern California)
Series 4 Maps, Engineering Blueprints, Graphs, Tables, Diagrams
Series 5 Water Rights and Water Supply in Southern California
Series 6 Field Journals
Series 7 Receipt Books
Series 8 Photographs
Please consult repository.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
No additions to the collection is anticipated.
Arranged and Processed by Russell Michalak in 2009. Series 4 inventoried, arranged and processed by J.M. Finlinson, CCEPS Fellow Summer 2014, Pitzer College.
- Guide to the Fred C. Finkle papers, Water Resources Collection
- Finding created by Russell Michalak
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.