There are dam ruins running beneath Echo Park--the old structure was built in the late nineteenth century to create Echo Park Lake (then known as Reservoir Number 4) and a city engineer guesses it "runs south of Bellevue Avenue, perhaps under the Hollywood Freeway." He also "said he could see old culverts and pipes that are likely part of the old dam," according to Eastsider LA. Weirdly, the old dam caused some annoying hiccups for the huge makeover work going on at Echo Park Lake; the thing was probably built before California's Division of Safety of Dams was even a twinkle in some bureaucrat's eye, but even so, "without a permit on file with state dam regulators, the City of Los Angeles might have been required to prove that the old dam met current safety standards or even make costly repairs to make sure the now underground structure was up to code." To deal with the Brazil-style nightmare (and avoid restoring a century-old dam), the city decided to build a new dam, running east to west and splitting the lake--two smaller bodies of water are somehow exempt from the state's jurisdiction. The new dam will be hidden under the water as EPL is refilled. The lake is expected to reopen in the next few months.
· Echo Park Lake gets doubled dammed [Eastsider LA]
· Echo Park Lake Rehab Archives [Curbed LA]