Scope and Content
Title: Charles H. Lee Photograph Collection,
Date (inclusive): 1905-1959
Date (bulk): (bulk 1905-1938)
Collection number: MS 99/1
Lee, Charles H. (Charles Hamilton), 1883-1967
Extent: 893 photographs
Water Resources Collections and Archives
Shelf location: Water Resources Collections and Archives
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to the Water Resources Collections and Archives. All requests for
permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head
of Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Water Resources Center
Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply
permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.
[Identification of item], Charles H. Lee Photograph Collection, MS 99/1, The Water
Resources Center Archives, University of California, Riverside.
Water resources development --California --San Diego County --Photographs
Water resources development --California --Inyo County --Photographs
Owens Valley (Calif.) --Photographs
Los Angeles Aqueduct (Calif.) --Photographs
Owens River (Calif.) -Photographs
Earthquakes --California --San Francisco --Photographs
Tulare Lake (Calif.) --Photographs
Sierra Nevada (Calif. and Nev.) -Photographs
Yosemite Valley (Calif.) --Photographs
San Luis Rey River (Calif.) --Photographs
Mono Lake (Calif.) --Photographs
St. Francis Dam (Calif.) --Photographs
Hetch Hetchy Valley (Calif.) --Photographs
Dams --California --Eel River --Photographs
Elephant Butte Dam (N. M.)
Fort Stanton (N. M.)
Charles Hamilton Lee was born February 1, 1883, in Oakland, California, and graduated
from the University of California, Riverside, with a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1905. He
began his career as a hydrographer for the U.S. Geological Survey but resigned in 1906 to
become assistant engineer for the city of Los Angeles. From 1906-1911, he was involved in
the design and construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. During this period his report on
the groundwater basin of the Independence region of the Owens Valley was published as
U.S.G.S. Water-Supply Paper 294.
From 1912-1917 he had his own practice as a civil and hydraulic engineer in Los Angeles,
serving in 1912 as hydraulic engineer for the California State Conservation Commission.
After World War I, Lee was appointed President of the State Water Commission of
California and subsequently Chief of the Division of Water Rights. In this capacity he
had an active influence on water resources development in California.
In 1921 Lee again set up private practice, this time in San Francisco, doing a wide
variety of work on all phases of water supply and structural foundation. A major client
was the city of Los Angeles, for whom he did work connected with the Owens Valley, in
large part related to pending litigation. In addition to work performed for Los Angeles,
Lee was consulting engineer for several other California municipalities and numerous U.S.
departments and agencies, including the State of California, water, public utility, and
irrigation districts, and private companies and individuals in California and elsewhere.
He was consulting engineer for the fill project that built Treasure Island in San
Francisco Bay and from 1936-1939 he was chief of Water Supply and Sanitation for the
Golden Gate International Exposition.
Other soil engineering work included slide repairs, foundation engineering, tunnels, and
earth dams. He was recipient of the 1939 Norman Medal awarded by the American Society of
Civil Engineers for his research on materials for earth fill dams.
Charles H. Lee died at his home in Berkeley, California on May 4, 1967, at the age of 84.
Scope and Content
Collection of 3 x 5.5-in. black-and-white photographic prints taken by Charles H. Lee,
covering a wide range of water resources development projects in California and New
Mexico in which Lee was involved. Major projects documented include the construction of
the Los Angeles Aqueduct, construction of various dams and reservoirs in San Diego County
and other Southern California locations, water development in Inyo County and Mono
County, and construction of Elephant Butte Dam in New Mexico. Also included are many
views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Yosemite Valley, and the aftermath of the San
Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906.