Tuesday, July 31, 2007

No. 50 - Mission Wells and the Settling Basin

Mission Wells and the Settling Basin

Mission Wells and the Settling Basin
Havana and Bleeker Streets, Sylmar – map
Declared: 5/10/67

Oh, man. If you thought the last landmark was Dullsville, you may want to click here for something more interesting and get away from No. 50 as soon as possible.

Mission Wells and the Settling Basin

In the late 1700s, Padre Fermín Francisco de Lasuén and his brethren were trying to figure out where they wanted to build Mission San Fernando Rey de España (the San Fernando Mission). The discovery of natural swamplands in what is now this area in Sylmar is one of the things that helped push the decision to build the mission on the nearby conveniently named San Fernando Mission Boulevard.

Mission Wells and the Settling Basin

If you go there today, you’ll find the site is owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which has the remaining landmarked well (there could be others, I guess) fenced off. When I went, I asked a DWP worker if I could sneak in a few feet to get a shot of the plaque by the well visible through the chain-link fence. He asked his nearby supervisor who mustered a shake of the head, indicating ‘no’.

And don’t ask me what area the ‘Settling Basin’ encompasses specifically, because I don’t know.

Mission Wells and the Settling Basin

I apologize for not getting any good pictures of this Historic-Cultural landmark. As a salve, I arranged what shots I did get in the order of closest to furthest. This way, you can pretend you’re slowly backing away from the site, just like I did in person.

Mission Wells and the Settling Basin

Oh. Here’s a legitimate shot of the same visible remaining well. It’s from the city’s Department of City Planning website.

Mission Wells and the Settling Basin

Nice neighborhood, by the way.

Up next: Phillips House


gc said...


What a strange landmark.

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled across your site and have yet to read any other posts, but I must say I really enjoyed this one. What's up with those DWP employees who denied you from creeping a few steps closer to the well for a photo? I mean who really gives a crap?! If I had been in their position I'd have been excited someone actually cared enough to pay the place a visit.

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

Thanks for checking in, anonymous. For what it's worth, the employee I talked to didn't even accept a token bribe. What's this world coming to?

Anonymous said...

That is not a well, it is a settling basin, which allowed dirt to settle to the bottom before the water flowed into the aqueduct. There were no wells back then because water flowed to the surface naturally. Today the place is called Mission Wells because modern wells have been added. Security is a serious problem because the water supply is considered a terrorist target.

Oldskool Art said...

I ended up here because of a fishing app. Image my surprise. Never knew Sylmar was a swampland. Interesting history. Cool landmark regardless. Any secret fishing hole there? Lol