From the Archives: The former Buena Vista Reservoir

Nov. 28, 1955: Buena Vista Reservoir in Elysian Park.
Nov. 28, 1955: Buena Vista Reservoir in Elysian Park.
(John Malmin / Los Angeles Times)

This image of Buena Vista Reservoir appeared in the Dec. 3, 1955, Los Angeles Times as part of the Know Your City photography series. A year later, the reservoir was drained and abandoned. The location is now the Buena Vista Meadow picnic area.

The original Los Angeles Times caption reported:

KNOW YOUR CITY, NO. 16 – A trout farm in the High Sierra? A fenced inlet at the seashore? Uh-uh, From this body of water, nestled in the hills, you can see the City Hall. Thousands pass it every day. What and where is it? The answer is on Page 26, Part II.

ANSWER – Of course, it’s the Buena Vista Reservoir, the granddaddy of all downtown reservoirs. It long was hidden in the hills of Elysian Park – until they put through the Pasadena Freeway, which now zooms right past this old swimmin’ hole which has been there for more than 50 years.

Buena Vista Reservoir was built in 1868-69 and enlarged in the 1880s.

This post was originally published on Jan. 27, 2016.

Dec. 22, 1949: View of caretaker's home at Buena Vista Reservoir in Elysian Park, alongside the Arroyo Seco Parkway. This panorama was made from two prints.
(Paul Calvert / Los Angeles Times)

See more from the Los Angeles Times archives here