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Workers discover part of L.A.'s first municipal water system

Workers discover part of L.A.'s first municipal water system

Workers excavating the site of a $100-million Chinatown development have discovered a 100-foot section of Los Angeles' first municipal water system, an ancient maze of brick and wooden pipes and conduits that once fed the city.

The 4-foot-diameter brick pipe that was found beneath what once was Little Joe's restaurant is part of the so-called Mother Ditch, or Zanja Madre, that carried water from the Los Angeles River to the young city, its channels twisting and bending along a 90-mile network.

The antiquity was uncovered April 10 as workers were beginning construction on the Blossom Plaza, a five-story mixed-use apartment and storefront project on North Broadway. About 73 feet...

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