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Finding Aid to the Spring Valley Water Company Records, 1856-1952
BANC MSS C-G 189  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Corporate History
  • Chronology
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Spring Valley Water Company records
    Date (inclusive): 1856-1952
    Collection Number: BANC MSS C-G 189
    Creators : Spring Valley Water Company
    Extent: Number of containers: 17 boxes, 56 cartons, 152 volumes, 5 oversize boxes and 161 oversize folders Linear feet: circa 150
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    University of California, Berkeley
    Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
    Phone: (510) 642-6481
    Fax: (510) 642-7589
    Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
    URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
    Abstract: The Spring Valley Water Company records, 1856-1952, consist of minutes, organizational papers, and correspondence from the presidencies of William B. Bourn and Samuel P. Eastman, along with property, stock, and financial records for the "S.V.W.Co." and its predecessors, Spring Valley Water Works and San Francisco City Water Works. The bulk of the collection contains correspondence, legal documents, reports, maps, plans, and financial records, chiefly concerning the acquisition, ownership and management of real property, rights of way, and riparian rights in connection with establishing a reliable water supply for the City of San Francisco. Also includes materials pertaining to the pension fund for Spring Valley Water Company employees, and subsidiary companies, including The Suburban Company, Amador Valley Mutual Water Company, Eureka Lake and Yuba Canal Co. Consolidated, as well as Empire Mines, The Empire Mines and Investment Company, The River Mines and the Fioli organizations.
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers

    Access

    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html .

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Spring Valley Water Company Records, BANC MSS C-G 189, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Alternate Forms Available

    Selected items also available on microfilm.
    Additional Notes on Collection:
    Many of the oversize folders associated with individual files contain maps which may duplicate or represent a slight variation of the maps that had been previously removed from the collection and cataloged separately. These may be found by a search under the uniform title: "Spring Valley Water Company Map Collection."

    Related Collections

    Spring Valley Water Company Map Collection [call number varies]

    Separated Material

    Some printed materials have been transferred to the book collection of The Bancroft Library. Photographs have been transferred to the Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library. Maps have been transferred to the Map Collection of The Bancroft Library. Some maps have been transferred to the Earth Sciences and Maps Library.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Water rights--California
    San Francisco (Calif.)--Water-supply
    Minutes.
    Account books.
    Bourn, William, 1857-1936
    Eastman, Samuel P.
    California Agricultural and Improvement Association
    San Francisco Water Works
    Spring Valley Water Company
    Eureka Lake and Yuba Canal Company Consolidated
    Contention Mines

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Spring Valley Water Company Records were given to The Bancroft Library by the Spring Valley Water Company, via Mr. William A. B. Hayne and other Directors, in 1955.

    Accruals

    No additions are expected.

    System of Arrangement

    Arranged to the folder level.

    Processing Information

    Mary Morganti, with assistance from George A. Miller, in 1998-1999.

    Corporate History

    Spring Valley Water Company and its predecessor companies, San Francisco City Water Works and Spring Valley Water Works, were organized in California for the purpose of supplying water to San Francisco. They actively acquired properties and riparian rights throughout the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Alameda, and since 1858 supplied nearly all the water used in San Francisco.
    Around 1903, Spring Valley Water Company acquired Spring Valley Water Works (which had previously consolidated with San Francisco City Water Works) and all its properties, rights and improvements. Discussions concerning possible sale of the company to the City of San Francisco began in 1875, and the purchase was finally realized in 1930. During that time, the activities of the company focused on the continued acquisition and management of its real property and rights.

    Chronology

    1857 Aug. 6 San Francisco City Water Works organized.
    1858 June 19 Spring Valley Water Works founded.
    1861 May 18 Spring Valley Water Works capital increases from $60,000 to $3 million.
    1864 May 27 Spring Valley Water Works initiates study of consolidation with San Francisco City Water Works.
    1865 Jan. 1 San Francisco City Water Works unites with Spring Valley Water Works.
    1866 June 6 San Francisco City Water Works closes and settles affairs.
    1868 Sept. 1 Spring Valley Water Works negotiates to buy Clear Lake Water Company and Lake Merced Water Company for $150,000.
    1875 Aug. 2 Board discusses possible sale of Spring Valley Water Works to City of San Francisco.
    1877 March 14 Board ratifies offer to sell property to City of San Francisco for $10 million.
    1877 June 20 Shareholders authorize introduction of water meters to do away with "arbitrary rates."
    1877 Dec. 1 Board authorizes president to sell all property of company previously offered to San Francisco for $12.5 million.
    1883 Oct. 3 Board authorizes purchase of San Mateo Water Works for $395,000.
    1892 April 7 Board agrees that "the Company would not engage in the business of furnishing water to citizens outside of the City and County of San Francisco."
    1898 Dec. 29 Board instructs Chief Engineer to investigate advisability of building a tunnel across the Bay from Dumbarton Point to Ravenswood.
    1900 May 24 Board responds to resolution of San Francisco Board of Supervisors requiring Company to submit offer for sale of its works to the City, concluding that the solicitation and consideration of offer is premature and unauthorized.
    1901 Nov. 18 Board agrees "we are ready and willing to submit an offer for the sale of our works."
    1902 Jan. 8 Shareholders authorize Board to offer to sell to the City the entire plant of the corporation at a price set by the Board.
    1903 Jan. 14 Board proposes recapitalization of company at annual shareholders and proposes to sell all property to the new company, Spring Valley Water Company, with capital stock of $28 million.
    1903 April 28 Board of Directors of Spring Valley Water Company holds its first meeting.
    1903 June 15 Spring Valley Water Company offers to purchase Spring Valley Water Works for $11.48 million. Offer is withdrawn four days later.
    1903 July 13 Spring Valley Water Company makes new offer to purchase Spring Valley Water Works for $12.6 million. [It appears that this offer was accepted, but the minutes do not indicate when.]
    1906 April 18-19 San Francisco is struck by a strong earthquake in the early morning hours. Board cancels their regular meeting on the 19th because of dangerous fires burning throughout the City.
    1907 Nov. 7 Spring Valley Water Company Board elects William Bowers Bourn as Director.
    1908 Jan. 8 Announcement is made at annual shareholders meeting that San Francisco is planning an independent water supply from the Sierras.
    1908 June Spring Valley Water Works ceases its corporate existence.
    1908 July 31 W. B. Bourn elected to succeed A. H. Payson as President of Spring Valley Water Company.
    1908 Sept. 11 San Francisco Board of Supervisors passes resolution #505 soliciting offer to buy any existing public utility. City indicates that Hetch Hetchy would be a desirable water source.
    1909 Nov. 12 Spring Valley Water Company offers sale of all distribution systems within the City plus 500 acres of Merced Ranch for $19.42 million. Also indicates willingness to sell entire company at a price to be set by a panel of 11 Board members.
    1909 Nov. 29 At a special meeting with Mayor Taylor and the Board, Bourn indicates he estimates value of the Company is in excess of $45 million. Bourn is willing to sell Company for $35 million, or for $31.5 million - excluding property not needed for City water supply.
    1910 April 13 San Francisco voters fail to give 2/3 majority approval to purchase company.
    1910 Oct. 17 Board discusses San Francisco Board of Supervisors' Resolution #6577 requesting Spring Valley Water Company to meet with the Public Utilities Commission to negotiate sale of all or part of the Company to San Francisco.
    1911 March 15 Board authorizes appraisal of Company for possible sale.
    1911 April 12 Plan to proceed with construction of Calaveras Dam is announced at annual shareholders meeting.
    1912 March 15 Board authorizes auditor to credit "stock assessment account" for $611,000, actual cost of rehabilitation of work from 1906 earthquake and fire.
    1912 Aug. 15 City of San Francisco offers $35 million for Company.
    1912 Sept. 11 Board declines City's bid, but offers to sell for $38.5 million if the Company can keep 2300 acres at Lake Merced.
    1913 Jan. 24 Engineering Report submitted to the Board states properties of Company are worth $65 million.
    1913 May 23 Board authorizes Executive Committee to approve plans and direct construction of Calaveras Dam, and hire William Mulholland as a consultant.
    1914 July 30 Board votes to accept City's offer of $34.5 million which excludes certain real estate.
    1916 May 15 Board decides Company will proceed with metering flat rate customers.
    1918 May 15 Board reviews reports on collapse of Calaveras Dam, and two months later authorizes partial reconstruction of Calaveras Dam.
    1920 Sept. 15 Board reviews letter from M. M. O'Shaughnessy urging immediate resumption of construction at Calaveras.
    1920 Dec. 8 California Railroad Commission estimates $37 million as a fair price for the Company.
    1920 Dec. 20 Board calls special meeting of shareholders to approve sale of Company for $37 million.
    1921 Jan. 10 Shareholders approve sale of Company and authorize Board to proceed.
    1921 Aug. 18 Board reviews Railroad Commission decision granting 20% rate increase. Commission urges Company to sell all property not included in sale to City.
    1923 Jan. 26 Bylaws amended to create position of Chairman. W. B. Bourn is elected Chairman and Samuel P. Eastman is elected President.
    1924 Feb. 15 Board sets aside $5000 as a fire insurance fund, and $25,000 to establish nucleus of employees' pension fund.
    1925 Sept. 15 Board pays tribute to Willis Polk for design of the water temple.
    1927 April 8 Board authorizes offer to sell plant and property to City of San Francisco for $39,667,617.
    1929 April 10 San Francisco voters approve purchase of Company by 4 to 1.
    1930 Feb. 17 Board approves deeding property to City of San Francisco. Par value of stock is reduced from $28 million to $5.6 million. Company applies to Compensation Commission to pay $77 dividend.
    1930 March 3 Sale of Spring Valley Water Company to City of San Francisco is completed.
    1930 April 9 Sale of property to City, special dividend, and value of remaining properties is discussed at annual shareholders meeting. Company changes its name to Spring Valley Company, Ltd., and elects seven directors, not including Bourn.
    1932 Jan. 15 Company converts from a liquidating business to an investment company.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Spring Valley Water Company records, 1856-1952, consist of the Board of Directors', President's and Corporate Secretary's files, along with property, stock, and financial records of the "S.V.W.Co.", its predecessors, Spring Valley Water Works and San Francisco City Water Works, and subsidiary companies. The collection chiefly documents the establishment of a reliable water supply for the City of San Francisco, rather than the day-to-day operations of the water company.
    Spring Valley Water Company Board of Directors' files, 1903-1940, contain the official minutes of Board and Executive Committee meetings, as well as certificates of incorporation and bylaws, amended through 1935. There are also 8 volumes of minutes from its predecessor, Spring Valley Water Works (1858-1908), and 1 volume from San Francisco City Water Works (1857-1867). Of particular note are the "original papers" from the years 1906 to 1930. These consist of working notes and drafts of minutes of Board of Directors, Executive Committee, and shareholders meetings, and may contain details not found in the final versions.
    Spring Valley Water Company President's files contain correspondence and a small amount of personal and financial papers from the presidencies of William B. Bourn and Samuel P. Eastman. In contrast to Eastman's letters, which relate mostly to routine business matters, Bourn's correspondence not only gives instruction concerning operation of the company but generally reflects his strong opinions. Bourn was active in San Francisco business circles, civic organizations, politics, and society. Of particular interest is correspondence with architect Willis Polk concerning the construction of Filoli, Bourn's home near San Mateo, as well as his "cottage" at the Empire Mines in Grass Valley.
    The Corporate Secretary's files form the bulk of the collection and document all activities of the company. These contain correspondence, legal documents, reports, maps, plans, and financial records, chiefly concerning the acquisition, ownership and management of real property, rights of way, and riparian rights in connection with establishment of a reliable water supply for the City of San Francisco. Files also relate to water supply and rate issues, legal and financial matters, and the eventual sale of Spring Valley Water Company to the City of San Francisco.
    Spring Valley Water Company stock records include information about individual ownership in the company, while property records contain details about specific properties through its files of agreements, deeds and abstracts, and leases. Company financial records are incomplete, but include journals and cash books, a few miscellaneous ledgers and tax records, as well as materials pertaining to the pension fund for employees. Only a small amount of operational records are found in the collection; these include a record of meter deposits, daily records of reservoir levels and water consumption from the 1880s, and files relating to salaries and labor for a few years, including April 1906.
    The collection concludes with files relating to several Spring Valley Water Company subsidiaries, which include Suburban Company, Amador Valley Mutual Water Company, City and Suburban Realty Company, Empire Mines and Investment Company, Empire Mines, The River Mines Company, Eureka Lake and Yuba Canal Co., and Contention Mines, as well as The Filoli Estate and Filoli Incorporated. Materials include articles of incorporation and bylaws, minutes of board of directors and stockholder meetings, and stock, property, and financial records, although the relationship of each company to Spring Valley Water Company is not entirely clear.