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Full text of "Origins and early years of the Bureau of Sanitary Engineering : transcript, 1970"

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University of California Bancroft Library /Berkeley 

Regional Oral History Office 



Chester G. Gillespie 

ORIGINS AND EARLY YEARS OF THE 
BUREAU OF SANITARY ENGINEERING 



With an Introduction by 
Henry J. Ongerth 



An Interview Conducted by 
Ma lea Chall 



1971 by the Regents of the University of California 




Chester G. Gillesple 
1935 



All uses of this manuscript are covered by a 
legal agreement between the Regents of the University 
of California and Chester G. Gillespie, dated 22 Feb 
ruary, 1971. The manuscript is thereby made available 
for research purposes. All literary rights in the 
manuscript, including the right to publish, are re 
served to the Bancroft Library of the University of 
California at Berkeley. No part of the manuscript 
may be quoted for publication without the written 
permission of the Director of the Bancroft Library of 
the University of California at Berkeley. 

Requests for permission to quote for publica 
tion should be addressed to the Regional Oral History 
Office, 486 Library, and should include identification 
of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use 
of the passages, and identification of the user. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS - ORIGINS AND EARLY YEARS OF THE 

BUREAU OF SANITARY ENGINEERING 

Chester G. Gillespie 



INTRODUCTION by HENRY J. ONGERTH ii 

INTERVIEW HISTORY iv 

BACKGROUND OF THE BUREAU OF SANITARY ENGINEERING 1 

Charles Gilman Hyde 2 

State Board of Public Health 3 

Mr. Gillespie f s Experiences After Graduation 3 

EARLY YEARS OF THE BUREAU OF SANITARY ENGINEERING 5 

SEWAGE TREATMENT FACILITIES 11 

Golden Gate Park 12 

Folsom Prison lU 

Big Basin l4 

SACRAMENTO WATER FILTRATION PLANT 15 

SOME EARLY BEGINNINGS OF WATER SUPPLY SYSTEMS 17 

San Francisco 18 

East Bay 19 

FIRST OFFICES OF THE BUREAU OF SANITARY ENGINEERING 21 

STATE BOARD BECOMES STATE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH 25 

Catastrophes 27 

Santa Ana Typhoid Epidemic 28 

REMINISCING ABOUT COLLEAGUES 30 

AMERICAN WATER WORKS ASSOCIATION 36 

AMERICAN SEWAGE WORKS ASSOCIATION 36 

INDEX 38 



PREFACE 



The development of sanitary engineering in California since the turn 
of the century is the subject of a series of interviews conducted by the 
Regional Oral History Office of the Bancroft Library under a grant from 
the Water Resources Center of the University of California. 

The idea jfor documenting this history was initiated by Henry Ongerth, 
chief of the Bureau of Sanitary Engineering of the California State Depart 
ment of Public Health. In a letter to Professor Arthur Pillsbury, director 
of the Water Resources Center, he suggested that funds be provided to in 
terview Chester Gillespie, the first chief of the Bureau (1915-194?), and 
Professor Charles Gilman Hyde, head of the Department of Sanitary Engineer 
ing on the Berkeley campus from 1905-19^. David Todd, professor of Civil 
Engineering, provided leads for other interviews and the series came to 
fruition. Major funding came from the WRC with some additional assistance 
from the Department of Hydraulic and Sanitary Engineering on the Berkeley 
campus . 

Mr. Hyde was not well enough to interview, but Chester Gillespie, 
Wilfred Langelier (chemist and water purification specialist UCB 1 916-1955) > 
and Percy H. McGauhey (director of the Sanitary Engineering Research Labora 
tory, UCB, 1956-1969) did tape their memoirs. As a result there is on record 
information about administration, teaching, and research in sanitary engineer 
ing from 1905-19715 a period which spans the time when the major emphasis 
of the sanitary engineer was prevention of typhoid fever, to today, when con 
cern is with prevention and control of pollution of the total environment. 

These interviews have benefited greatly from the expert advice and 
assistance of Henry Ongerth and professors David Todd, Erman Pearson, and 
Robert Selleck. 

The Regional Oral History Office was established to tape record auto 
biographical interviews with persons prominent in recent California history. 
The Office is under the administrative supervision of James D. Hart, di 
rector of The Bancroft Library. 

Willa Baum, Head 
Regional Oral 
History Office 

22 February 1971 
Regional Oral History Office 
Room 486, The Bancroft Library 
University of California 
Berkeley, California 



11 



INTRODUCTION 



Chester G. Gillespie was the first Chief of the Bureau of Sanitary 
Engineering in the State Department of Public Health. Chester Gillespie 
was "born and raised in San Benito County, near Hollister. He entered the 
University at Berkeley about 1903 and graduated in the class of 1907. 
This was the first graduating class for Professor Charles Oilman Hyde, who 
had come to the University about 1905 to teach Sanitary Engineering. Later, 
Professor Hyde became Engineering Consultant to the State Board of Health 
and by 1915 promoted establishment of a Bureau of Sanitary Engineering, in 
what was then called the State Board of Health. Professor Hyde recommended 
Mr. Gillespie as Chief for the new Bureau and Gillespie became Chief, about 
August 1915. 

Mr. Gillespie was a tall, slender, very friendly, rather shy person. 
He had a tremendous knowledge of the details of water supply and sewage 
disposal all over the State of California. He spent much time making 
field trips throughout the State and had a detailed knowledge of what ex 
isted in almost every community in the State. His men all referred to him 
as "The Chief," though not when talking to him directly. At least in the 
latter part of his career, Chester Gillespie worked largely by persuasion 
rather than through formal methods of law enforcement . 



Unquestionably, in the early years, through the twenties and into the 
thirties, Mr. Gillespie was the most highly qualified Sanitary Engineer in 
the State . He had a profound influence on the development of sanitary 
engineering works within the State in that period. He employed each of the 
men that succeeded him as Chief of the Bureau, E. A. Reinke, who came to 
work for the Bureau about 1919; Herbert B. Foster, Jr., who came to work in 
the Bureau in 1931; and Henry Ongerth, employed in 1938. Moreover, many 
others who became leaders in the field of Sanitary Engineering worked under 
Mr. Gillespie for varying periods of time. 

Through the entire period of Mr. Gillespie s administration the Bureau 
of Sanitary Engineering was a relatively small organization, always too 
small for the task to be done. Even as late as 1938 there were only five 
engineers in addition to the Chief. Early in this period the first water 
treatment facilities were installed in California. In the period 1915 to 
1920 the typhoid fever rate dropped from 13.6 to U.9 per 100,000 people, 
in part, if not largely, because of installation of water treatment facili 
ties. Many of the community water systems were created in this period and 
many communities installed their first sewage treatment facilities. In 
this period the ground work was laid for installation of sewage treatment 
by the larger communities around San Francisco Bay, including San Francisco 
and East Bay Municipal Utility District. One of the major events of the 



Ill 



Gillespie administration was the suit by the State Department of Public 
Health against the City of Los Angeles. This suit which went to the State 
Supreme Court, resulted in a judgment requiring Los Angeles to install 
treatment for its sewage discharge to the Pacific Ocean. 

Even in those days Gillespie fought for stream pollution control, 
going beyond public health protection, for clean streams, bays, and 
lakes, though there was little public support and much opposition by those 
who were being urged to clean up. One successful effort of special note 
relates to the policy by Gillespie to keep all sewage out of Lake Tahoe. 
This policy saved the Lake from degradation until public awareness and sup 
port to preserve this Lake took over. The Gillespie administration saw the 
start of sanitary engineering in California and carried through to the period 
immediately after World War II when standards and expectations had risen to 
levels that approached those of this decade of the seventies. 

Henry J. Ongerth, Chief 
Bureau of Sanitary Engineering 



8 February, 1971 
Department of Public Health 
2151 Berkeley Way 
Berkeley, California 



IV 



INTERVIEW HISTORY 



The memoirs of Chester Gillespie, the first chief of the Bureau of 
Sanitary Engineering of the California State Department of Health, 
1915-19^7, is one of three interviews on the history of sanitary engineer 
ing in California which have been undertaken by the Regional Oral History 
Office . 



Research and 
and Planning: 



Time and Set 
ting of the 
Interview: 



Henry Ongerth, presently chief of the Bureau, suggested 
this interview with his former boss whom he had known well 
for many years, and he volunteered to conduct the inter 
view. His offer was gratefully accepted. 

After contacting Mr. Gillespie by telephone and arranging 
the time and date for the taping, Mr. Ongerth spent many 
hours going through old Bureau files to obtain material 
for his questions, although his own familiarity with the 
Bureau of Sanitary Engineering and its personnel through 
the years provided its own rich background. He and Mrs. 
Chall, staff interviewer, discussed some of this background 
and decided what particular information they would like to 
learn from Mr. Gillespie. Mrs. Chall then prepared an out 
line for use during the interview. 



The interview took place on January 27, 1970 in Gilroy, 
where Mr. and Mrs. Gillespie were living with a sister- 
in-law and her family. Taping was done in two sessions: 
in the late morning, and again in mid-afternoon after Mr. 
Gillespie had had lunch and a short rest . 

Mr. Gillespie had been ill for several years and when inter 
viewed was not strong. He spoke softly and slowly as he 
answered questions and reminisced about his long career with 
the Bureau. Although the passing of time may have dimmed 
some of the background, the turmoil, and possibly some griev 
ances of those years, they had not diminished the feeling of 
excitement, interest in the job, goodwill toward his fellow 
sanitary engineers, and even the fun which that job obviously 
held for Mr. Gillespie during this thirty-two years as chief. 



Editing and 
Completion 
of the 
Manuscript : 



Mrs. Chall edited the transcript and is responsible for 
subject headings. Because Mr. Gillespie s eyesight was 
very poor, he asked Mr. Ongerth to review the edited 
manuscript and make whatever corrections he thought 
appropriate. Mr. Ongerth s specific comments are indi 
cated by the letters H. 0. During the interim Mr. 
Gillespie sent a photograph and some newspaper clippings 
to insert into the manuscript where relevant . Mr . 
Gillespie died on April 15, 1971, shortly before the 
project was completed. 

Male a Chall 
Interviewer 



18 May, 1971 

Regional Oral History Office 

The Bancroft Library 

University of California at Berkeley 



BACKGROUND OF THE BUREAU OF SANITARY ENGINEERING 



Ongerth: I thought we could talk about the Bureau particularly about 
the early years. The Bureau started in July, 1915- 

Gillespie: That was the date? I wasn t familiar with that; I guess I 
wasn t thinking about it "before you came, but August is the 
date that the active Bureau started. 

Ongerth: I see not July. 

Gillespie : No . In fact in July I was up back of Lake Tahoe . 

Ongerth: Oh? What were you doing there? 

Gillespie: Well, we were at Hell s Hole (laughter) you know where that 
is on the Rubicon River : 

Ongerth: Were you working? 
Gillespie: No, no, just vacationing. 

Ongerth: Your first report... This is the volume of the Monthly Bulle 
tin of the California State Board of Health--! m looking at 
the 1915 period here and your first report is dated Septem 
ber. This reads: Report of the Bureau of Sanitary Engineer 
ing for August and September, 1915. So then, maybe you 
started the first of August? 

Gillespie: Yes I m sure that s right. Since I wasn t around here in 
July. 

Ongerth: How did they get in touch with you : Did Professor Hyde 
[Charles Gilman Hyde] offer you the job, is that how it 
started? 



GUlespi*: It goes *** little farther to.. Jfell, it really starts 
with M wurge of typhoid fevei that was rsnpege in this 
cuwBi&xy. Do yon miiimiiiber Pasteur ? 

Xta. 

UHllespie: Be founded bacteriology largely through his work on feraeot*- 
tlon of grapes for wines. And froo that it soon spread to 

,_ _ fc *^ A aV^M . - - * -- . -t^r* , - ^ *( 

ATQBI u&vt y winter vwu men nwgpn *o r - ___ ; 



So ittocy DB^MDI ^Mjjg^^Bip^Mrtiijj wHtzt slew 
filters. Aiai they fbond that the reooval of becteria ey 
slow sand filters was eztrenely Mf|&, way op im tine 9C per- 
eesits. 



r.~ ;_r 1 : ; I- i.l^ij" - vd; 



SQiespie: Then Massachusetts, I guess, was the earliest state to grstr 

4ft 9UP(9aUfll O ^^TMl T-ffT W 




r: tr. ? 5" j;-?~"5 i~ :. r" : r 



and he was eafHoyed hy the Nassadtasetts State Health De 
partment. le rosed to tell this little story that I think 
is kind of interesting (laughter). Ee said tint oost of 
his work was duut in the sewers * studying ftjyptMjiid fever v 
he always carried *"<pwr with hint because he didn t have 
to peel *en> till luachUoe. (laughter) Bat he had that 
experience with the Massachusetts State Health Department 
for a few years. 



---.- : -?fi?r. 7r-ssid*r_- .: ttJS. - . that tiae, esugjM 

on to all of this and decided BLC. should have a bcareaa of 
sanitary engineering, and in looking axovnd Professor Hyde 

^FRy FCCQDflalCQDQfBQ. wtfr miB m - . 3D t&ff C^flBC "fr^JBr JD "" ~ " " 

the sanitary engineering curriculum in the University of 
California. % to that tine there were a lot of the stu 
dents, I was one of them, that didn t know what they wanted 
to be they Just wandered around. 

Qngerth: You started at Gal in 19Q3~ 

GUlespie: So, in *G2. So Professor nyde gathered a few of us together 
to describe the course in sanitary engineering end aninig; 
other things, he said, lEow, sanitary engineering; gives yoa 
an opportunity to serve not just a few people, but literally 

thousands.* Veil, I was enough of an idealist (laughter), I 

guess, to grab on, and right then I decided I wanted to be a 
sanitary engineer and that s what I ve been ever since. 



Gillespie: It goes back a little further to... Well, it really starts 
with a scourge of typhoid fever that was a rampage in this 
country. Do you remember Pasteur? 

Ongerth: Yes. 

Gillespie: He founded bacteriology largely through his work on fermenta 
tion of grapes for wines. And from that it soon spread to 
bacteriology. From that, water works men began to realize 
that their water supplies were the responsible cause of the 
typhoid fever. So they began experimenting with slow sand 
filters . And they found that the removal of bacteria by 
slow sand filters was extremely high, way up in the 90 per 
cent s. 



Charles Oilman Hyde 



Gillespie: Then Massachusetts, I guess, was the earliest state to grab 
on to that and formed a Bureau of Sanitary Engineering. 
And Professor Hyde was one of the students in bacteriology 
and he was employed by the Massachusetts State Health De 
partment. He used to tell this little story that I think 
is kind of interesting (laughter). He said that most of 
his work was down in the sewers , studying typhoid fever , so 
he always carried bananas with him because he didn t have 
to peel em till lunchtime . (laughter) But he had that 
experience with the Massachusetts State Health Department 
for a few years . 

Benjamin Ide Wheeler, president at U.C. at that time, caught 
on to all of this and decided U.C. should have a bureau of 
sanitary engineering, and in looking around Professor Hyde 
was recommended to him. So he came out in 1905 to set up 
the sanitary engineering curriculum in the University of 
California . Up to that time there were a lot of the stu 
dents, I was one of them, that didn t know what they wanted 
to be they just wandered around. 

Ongerth: You started at Cal in 1903? 

Gillespie: No, in 02. So Professor Hyde gathered a few of us together 
to describe the course in sanitary engineering end among 
other things, he said, "Now, sanitary engineering gives you 
an opportunity to serve not just a few people, but literally 
thousands." Well, I was enough of an idealist (laughter), I 
guess, to grab on, and right then I decided I wanted to be a 
sanitary engineer and that s what I ve been ever since. 



State Board of Public Health 

Gillespie: And then the next move, I d say was that, along about 1900 
when Governor Johnson [Hiram], probably as enterprising a 
governor as this state has ever had, became governor, he 
appointed right off the bat a very active state board of 
health.* Prior to that time the state board didn t amount 
to much. Professor Ebright, George G. Ebright, was made 
president. I think Johnson had a hand in that too. Both 
Professor Hyde and George Ebright were aware of the typhoid 
menace in the state and so they approached Governor Johnson 
to approve of an appropriation for establishing a bureau. 
That was in 1915. 

When they approached Governor Johnson he says, Veil, I ve 
got two requests for appropriations here, one for the women 
folks a bureau of Tuberculosis and now comes yours for a 
sanitary engineering bureau." And he turned to Ebright and 
said, Veil, take your pick." And Ebright was a pretty fast 
thinker, and he said to himself, Veil the women will be a 
hornet in his scalp and so I m going to pick sanitary engi 
neering." (laughter) So it worked just that way. The 
Bureau got its money first. It only amounted to $30,000 
for two years, and then oh my, how the women did turn on 
Johnson and they got their money too! (laughter) 

Chall: The same year? 

Gillespie: The same year, within a few weeks. 

Chall: That s the power of women, even in 1915. 

Mr. Gillespie s Experiences After Graduation 

Gillespie: That s right, (laughter) I had graduated by that time and 
I d worked for Professor Hyde, and I had gone over filter 
plants all over the country to get the lowdown of em. One 
of my jobs was in Minneapolis as assistant engineer for 
George W. Fuller. He was probably one of the greatest sani 
tary engineers there ever was in this country. He had a job 



*Hiram Johnson was first elected governor in 1910, again 
in 



Gillespie: along with Langdon W. Pearse of the Chicago Sanitary District, 
Evanston was just outside of Chicago, and Evanston wanted a 
filter plant and Mr. Fuller was engaged to design it. He 
needed a sanitary engineer too so he called me from the West 
to the East and I was a sanitary engineer for him. 

Chall: Board experience by the time you got back here. 

Gillespie: Yes, it was good experience it was, really. After the fil 
ters were built at Evanston, the city wanted a superinten 
dent of the plant and so they just naturally looked to me to 
be the superintendent. So I served there I think about a 
year or so, and then returned West. I think Professor Hyde 
had told me that there was some effort to get a bureau of 
sanitary engineering, and kind of looked on me as the logical 
head of it. 

The Bureau wasn t ready to be formed when I arrived in the 
West that time. I did get a job with Sacramento. One of 
the things we did was to make a bacteriological survey of 
the Sacramento River from Sacramento down to about Rio Vista, 
and one of the things we described there was of great inter 
est. That was that though there was lots of pollution just 
below Sacramento it pretty quickly disappeared it was self- 
purification in the river. So that by the time Rio Vista 
was reached there was hardly any trace of Sacramento sewage . 
Up to that time we didn t really suspect there was such a 
factor as self -purification. 

Then it might have been in July, Henry, that they told me 
I would be the Sanitary Engineer; but I think there was this 
in it, that the money appropriated wasn t immediately avail 
able by July, it was some time later, and that s how that 
August date came into the picture . 

Ongerth: I see here in this the Board s Monthly Bulletin for July 
1915 inside the front cover they list your name as being 
the Director of the Bureau of Sanitary Engineering. Of 
course the thing might have been published as late as 
August and they might have . . . 

Gillespie : Sure . 

Chall: July is usually the beginning of the fiscal year, anyway. 

Gillespie: I think that s the explanation of that. 



EARLY YEARS OF THE BUREAU OF SANITARY ENGINEERING 



Chall: What did you do when you started to work on the job? 

Gillespie: Here you were confronted by a lot of typhoid fever in 

California. So naturally we thought of measures for com 
batting typhoid fever. That was our first work. It lasted 
nearly five years . 

Chall: Just that program? 

Gillespie: Just that program of dealing with water. Now and then 

there d be interspersed some trouble the Board was having 
from some city and we d have to go out and see what that 
amounted to. You run on to some curious things (laughter). 
One was that Marysville had a sewer farm on the sides of 
the Feather River and the Yuba River and across the river 
was Yuba City. Yuba City was kicking about the smells, 
so I had to go up and see about the source of those smells. 

I got the trustees of both Marysville and Yuba City. We 
went down and followed the banks of first the Yuba River. 
Pretty soon we come to an old dead hog along the bank and 
all swelled up with decay. Everybody, including all the 
trustees, had all the evidence we needed right there. Well 
this was what they smelled. (laughter) 

Ongerth: That solved that one! 

Gillespie: Yes. And then another first job I had was down at San 

Jose, or in fact out of San Jose--up at Wrights Station, 
there was a family that had a fish farm. They wanted to 
convert the fish farm into a swimming pool, and San Jose 
didn t want that. So Dr. Simpson, the health officer, was 
asked to investigate it. He turned to, the state health de 
partment for help and I was picked to help him stop this 
swimming pool. Dr. Simpson and I drove out in a buggy, mind 
you . In those days . . . 



*Clearly Gillespie was being sarcastic here meaning the 
trustees were either lacking in understanding or eager to 
find some other excuse for the odor problem . H .0 . 



Chall: 



We ve been wondering how you got around. 



Gillespie: Yeah, well we had a buggy and we drove out to this man s 
property, and he had a guard at the gate and the gate was 
locked, and the guard had a gun, and so it didn t take him 
long to talk us out of wanting to get inl (laughter) So we 
didn t get in. We turned around and went back to San Jose. 

Chall: Did he build his pool? 

Gillespie: No. No, he never did. It isn t built to this day. 

Ongerth: Somebody else built a pool further down though, you may 
remember; there was a place called Eva s. It was at 
Aldercroft Heights and this was above the San Jose intake. 
Eva s it was called this was in later years. Now I m 
talking about the early thirties. 

Gillespie: I should have known about that, but I don t remember it. 



Ongerth : 



Gillespie! 



Ongerth : 



Gillespie: 



I m sure you did. My aunt had a place down at Aldercroft 
Heights and I went down there for the summer and right next 
door there was another summer home owned by Homer Theile, 
who worked for the City of San Francisco. One Sunday Burt 
Crowley drove Geiger [Dr . J . C . ] down there , and so Geiger 
was down there at the swimming pool when I was, though he 
wasn t swimming in it. And I can remember coming back up 
somehow to talk to you fellows. I don t think I was in the 
Bureau then this was after I graduated, I m sure, so it 
would have had to be after 35. 

I can remember telling you people that Geiger had been down 
there and you were all eager to find out if he d been swim 
ming in the water, (laughter) Well, Geiger was one of the 
people that was in the department back when you came in 15, 
wasn t he? 

Geiger, yes. Yes, he was already in the state health de 
partment and he was in the Bureau of Communicable Diseases. 
Is he still alive? 



As far as I know, 
certain. 



I have not heard otherwise. I m not 



Well, if your inquiry takes you to the early days of typhoid 
fever, I d suggest that there s a couple of people that 
could help you out a lot, and that s Geiger and Ida May 
Stevens. She was mighty active in typhoid fever. Dr. 



Gillespie: Ebright used to say that Ida May Stevens and myself were 
responsible for the big drop in typhoid fever that oc 
curred in 1915-1920. 

Ongerth: Looking at these minutes here in that period and other 

earlier material, when you came to work there were very few 
sewage treatment plants, some septic tanks, and that s 
about all nobody disinfected sewage at all, did they? 

Gillespie : No . 

Ongerth: Some of them kept it on land, but not very many. 

Gillespie: Yes. 

Ongerth: Mostly it went into the streams I guess. 

Gillespie: That s right. 

Ongerth: And as for water treatment, chlorination was just being 
started, I guess. 

Gillespie: It was pretty well started as chloride of lime. Professor 
Hyde had designed a number of chloride of lime disinfectant 
plants. They were scattered around the state. But then 
about that time about 1915, I guess Wallace and Tiernan 
Co. came into the picture. 

They had machines for feeding chlorine gas. Previously to 

that the lime chlorine lime was mean stuff to handle. So 

they began selling their chloride their gas chlorine 
machines . 

Now, coming back to that question that you asked. We d have 
a lot of argument with the trustees over whether their water 
supply was contaminated or not, so we immediately thought 
of a laboratory to examine the water and show the amount of 
contamination. And in building up the Bureau we turned to 
Chicago because I had quite an acquaintance there by that 
time for their men in Chicago who had had experience with 
laboratories. Bill Langelier [Wilfred F.] was one of them. 
And while we didn t engage him in the early Bureau, the Uni 
versity did, and he was a mighty fine professor of sanitary 
engineering. Another was Frank Bachraann, with the Chicago 
Sanitary District . He came out and joined us . 

Ongerth: Did you hire him? 

Gillespie: Yes. Let s see, Ralph Hilscher was another. I don t know 
just where he was working at the time, but anyway he came 



8 



Gillespie: out and he was an assistant engineer in the Bureau. And 

Joe Doman [191^] was a graduate of U.C. in those early years, 
and he came to the Bureau. 

Ongerth : I never heard that name . 

Gillespie: No? He was an active worker, and we liked him very much, but 
he didn t stay very long they wanted a sanitary engineer in 
Connecticut so he went back there and that was the last of 
Joe Doman. Well, that was about the size of the Bureau in 
its early years. 

Chall: That s three men, plus you? 

Ongerth: Here in April 19l6, Mr. Gillespie, they list you and Bachmann 
and Hilscher. 

Gillespie: That s right. With $30,000 you couldn t do a great deal. 
We had two stenographers and those few engineers, and then 
we had in mind to cover the state by good inspections, so 
we d know how to talk to these trustees [city councilmen] 
that didn t want to go along with the program (laughter). 
Well, we got through with our $30,000, it carried us through 
the biennium. (laughter) 

Ongerth: Two years? 

Gillespie: Yes, it was thirty thousand for two years. 

Ongerth: You wrote an article for California s Health in early 1936, 
and you reviewed the twenty years of sanitary engineering 
this is the February first issue, 1936, of the weekly bulle 
tin (l thought it was monthly), and what you say here is, 
"in 1915 the state legislature, harassed by sanitary problems 
and pursuing the precedent of few other states, provided a 
Bureau of Sanitary Engineering in the State Board of Health. 
It has since been maintained with appropriations varying from 
$15,000 to $25,000 per year." 

Gillespie: With each legislature you had a chance to get a little more 
money . 

Chall: You had to go all over the state then during those years, 
to inspect and issue permits? 

Gillespie: Oh yes, I should mention that even when the Bureau was 

established, already the legislature had passed the permit 
system. Does that agree with... 



Ongerth: Yes. Yes, it had been passed in 07. 
Gillespie: Is that so? 

Ongerth: It says I ll continue where I stopped reading "The Public 
Health Act of 1907 provided a permit system and state ap 
proval of plans and sites . This had been rigorously ap 
plied to sewage disposal projects, and as far as time has 
permitted the companion Sanitary Water Systems Act has been 
applied to water supply." 

Gillespie: So, this is 07? The first application of that law was to 
water supplies though. 

Ongerth: The permit law? 

Gillespie: Yes. That required quite a lot of knowledge of every 
system that you acted on for a permit . 

Ongerth: So the Board had already issued permits on some places when 
you came, and this was on the basis of Professor Hyde s 
work, I guess. 

Gillespie: Yes. He had worked for the state board of health, but not 
on any continuing basis, just as the jobs popped up. 

Ongerth: He s listed as a consultant. 
Gillespie: That s right. 

Chall: Was it possible for communities to establish water systems 

and sewer systems without coming to you for a permit? Could 
they try to get away with it? 

Gillespie: Not legally (laughter). 

Chall: Not legally. How did you know whether they were acting 
illegally? 

Gillespie: Well, I don t know. If we knew the project was pendingwe 
generally found that out pretty easily we d go and talk to 
them. 

Ongerth: Yeah, there weren t that many places in... 
Gillespie: No. There weren t, no. 

Ongerth: You know, I think Ed roust have told me thisI m not certain 
my impression is that you had started out, I guess in the 
20s with quite an aggressive program of trying to get things 



10 



Ongerth: straightened out in compliance with the permits, and that 

the State Board of Health for a period in there didn t give 
you much support when things came to a real showdown on 
some of these situations. Does that accurately describe the 
situation? , 

Gillespie: Not vividly in my mind. We didn t really use that permit 
system or enforce it too rigidly. We went on the basis of 
trying to convince a city that they had a problem and that 
this was the best way to go at handling it. And since the 
city engineers knew very little about sanitary engineering, 
that wasn t hard to do. 

Ongerth : It was the people who knew more that gave you the trouble . 
Is that right? 

Gillespie: Yes. 
Chall: How so? 

Ongerth: I know in later times the consulting engineers that knew the 
most were the ones that gave the trouble over disagreements 
on details of sewage plants. 

Gillespie: Well, I think that s a fair statement. Say, I wanted to ask 

a question at this point. In the records of the Bureau, do 

you find a tabulation of water systems and sewer systems in 
the state? 

Ongerth: Yeah, we dug one out not long ago, Mr. Gillespie, that was 
prepared in 1923, I think. 

Gillespie: Was it? I thought it was a little later than that. 

Ongerth: Maybe I m a little off on the date, but we found one re 
cently in some of the old collections. 

Gillespie: Did you save it? 
Ongerth: Yes, absolutely. 

Gillespie: It s a good thing to hang on to. Because sooner or later 
there ll be another survey made and then we can see how 
much things have changed over that long period. 



11 



SEWAGE TREATMENT FACILITIES 



Ongerth: You said here [article in California s Health ] that prior 

to 1915 there were about 82 sewage treatment works built in 
California , and you say since that time k^ of those have 
been abandoned. And then you go on to say that out of l8l 
plants built under state supervision since 1915 > only 10 
have been replaced. So what you re saying is that prior to 
1915 there were 82 plants and in twenty years after that 
they built another l8l. 

Gillespie: The early sewage plants were practically all septic tanks. 
They were overrated for their capacity they were terrible 
for smells, so they are the ones that contribute to this 
heavy abandonment. The ones that the Bureau goton to and 
steered em along better lines, they ve lasted. 

Chall: What replaced the septic tank then, in those days? 

Gillespie: What replaced them? Well, one of the simplest things was 
the Imhoff tank. The Imhoff tank separates digestion, 
which is the source of the smells, from the liquor that s 
being clarified, and that was the simplest. Then we got 
things like contact filters, sprinkling filters. 

Ongerth: They were already in existence early in your career, weren t 
they? In 15 and on? There were a few places... 

Gillespie: Well, let s see. Yes, there were a few, like at Yountville 
they had a contact bed. It was (laughter) a humdinger 
though! There weren t any engineers out here before the 
Bureau was formed that really knew the science of design of 
these plants. Of course very soon after various civil 
engineers found their way into employment by these different 
cities, and our job was to educate the civil engineers. 
( laughter ) And it s worked out all right . 

Ongerth: Well, really in this system of having to come to the state 

health department for a permit, you wound up really straight 
ening out many poor designs, didn t you? 

Gillespie: Yes, yes. And early too, when it s easier to get a change 
made. If they get too far along, you re up against a big 
hurdle . 

Ongerth: I asked you earlier about Paul Bovard and how he happened to 
be up at Santa Rosa. Apparently he was a consultant. 



lla 



Services for Paul Bovard 
--Former Engineer 



Carmel 

Funeral services were held 
here yesterday for Paul 
Fountain Bovard, an engi 
neer and former president of 
the California Filter Compa 
ny of San Francisco. 

Mr.. Bovard, a 1906 gradu 
ate of the University of Cali 
fornia at Berkeley, died here 
Saturday after a long illness. 
He was 86. 

A native of Los Angeles, he 
was a consulting engineer, 
i and was a past president of 
the American Chemical So 
ciety (San Francisco chap 
ter) and a member of other 
engineering societies. 

A resident of the Monterey 
Peninsula for the past 22 
years, Mr. Bovard and his 



wife, Kathryn, had been liv 
ing most recently at Carmel 
Valley Manor. 

He is survived by his wife; 
two sons, Richard H. Bovard 
of Carmel and Robert N. 



Bovard of Pleasant Hill; a 
stepdaughter, Mrs. Peggy 
Arnold of Cincinnati. Ohio; a 
stepson. William Bradley of 
Connecticut; five grandchil 
dren and six great-grandchil 
dren. 

Our CarrftjHindt-nl 



12 



Ongerth : 



Gillespie; 



Ongerth : 
Gillespie : 

Ongerth : 
Gillespie: 



Could you talk about the situation of Pittsburg and Antioch, 
where they both discharged sewage into the waters there 
which was really the lower San Joaquin tidal water? 

Pittsburg was the lower city and subject to more sewage, you 
see, its own plus Antioch, and we persuaded them to chlorin 
ate their water and they did that. But in the course of the 
years something went wrong with the chlorination and the re 
sult was that they had quite a little outbreak of typhoid 
themselves. In other words, they had lost their immunity, 
and were subject to a new infection. Immediately, of 
course it was no trick at all we persuaded them to renew 
that chlorination. As a result Antioch got very little 
typhoid out of that Pittsburg outbreak, though one city was 
just a few miles from the other. 



But upstream. 

Uh huh, upstream, 
the river. 



But the tides ran every day up and down 



I guess it would move that far? 

Oh, yes. The tides carry water and even Sacramento sewage 
as far as the American River. 



Ongerth: Yes, they had that low flow period in about 23 or 



Golden Gate Park 



Ongerth: Mr. Gillespie, when they built the sewage reclamation plant 
in Golden Gate Park... 

Gillespie: Yes --oh yes! 

* 

Ongerth: Professor Hyde wrote an article about that. Could you tell 
us something about that whole situation? 



*Charles G. Hyde, "The Beautification and Irrigation of 
Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California, with an 
Activated Sludge Treatment Plant Effluent," Sewage Works 
Journal (November, 1937). 



13 



Gillespie: Yes. John McLaren was a person whom I knew and admired. 
Well, I think there was a period when he felt the need of 
more water for Golden Gate Park. Instead of buying it, he 
conceived the notion of reclaiming the sewage. 

Ongerth: It was his idea? 

Gillespie: It was his idea. I don t know who engineered that. 

Ongerth: Well did that plant come to the Bureau for a permit and a 
review? 

Gillespie: No. No. 
Ongerth: It never did? 
Gillespie: It never did. 

Ongerth: I wonder why, because there was no effluent discharge I 
guess? 

Gillespie: Well (laughter), I kind of think we looked on it as a bad 
precedent to show approval for. 

Ongerth: I see. 

Gillespie: We couldn t stop it. 

Chall: Over the years now, you wouldn t consider reclamation like 
this a bad practice, would you? 

Gillespie: No, it s been all right. I think if it was widespread it 
would probably be pretty badly abused and become a danger. 
But nobody else that I know of has patterned after Golden 
Gate Park in that respect. 

Ongerth: No, not in the same way. So the Bureau wasn t really in 
volved in that project in any close way? 

Gillespie: No. I think we thought it wasas an activated sludge 

plantit was a good design, though. It s my impression 
that somebody drank some water out of it (laughter), but 
I don t know who it was! 

Ongerth: I wouldn t be surprised. 

Chall: I think somebody always does to prove that it s safe and 
pure. 



Folsom Prison 



Cball: I notice that in 1917 the first activated sludge plant was 
built at Folsom prison. Is that something you had anything 
to do with? 

Gillespie: Yes, yes. That was largely a design of the Bureau. That s 
how we brought in Hilscher, too, come to think about it. 
Hilscher had some previous experience with activated sludge 
and we didn t, so we got Hilscher to come out and join the 
Bureau. 

Chall: How did it happen to be at Folsom Prison? 

Gille spier Well, let s see. That was, I guess, the aftermath of the 

drive on clearing up polluted drinking waters because Folsom 
put its sewage in the same stream that it was taking its own 
water out of. And they had quite a bit of typhoid themselves, 
And all they had was just a septic tank, it was crude 
(laughter), so the activated sludge plant was then a new 
thing that sounded good and we persuaded them to build one. 



Big Basin 



Ongerth: The Bureau was involved in another plant design that was 

an unusual advance also, and that was down at Big Basin, in 
the 30s. 

Gillespie: In the 30s? Is that so? 

Ongerth: Sure. Herb [Foster, Jr.] and Ed [Reinke ] designed what was 
really a reclamation plant down at Big Basin and that had a 
sand filter as far as I know. The only sand filter in con 
nection with a sewage treatment plant anyplace, in the State, 

Gillespie: Did they have an activated sludge plant too? 

Ongerth: No, I think they had a trickling filter, and then a sand 
filter . 

Gillespie: No, I never saw that. 

Ongerth: Didn t you ever see that plant? Herb and Ed designed that 

between them I think about 1937 it was before I came to the 
Bureau. 



15 



Chall: Were you in on some of the early controversies opposing 
chlorinating water? I understand that they were quite 
heated in the early days. 

Gillespie: No, I don t think I d say that. 

Ongerth: No great public push against it the chlorinationthe way 

there was later against fluoridation. You know how much out 
cry there was. 

Gillespie: No nothing like that. 

Chall: I see. 

Ongerth: Not in the West? 

Chall: I had thought there was, but maybe that was earlier in the 
East, at least when they were starting. 

Gillespie: Mm. ..well, probably. Could ve been earlier. 



SACRAMENTO WATER FILTRATION PLANT 



Ongerth: You worked on the design and construction of the Sacramento 

water filtration plant and then on the start-up of its opera 
tion as well? 

Gillespie: No. Not the operation. In fact, I think they ran out of 
money at first and then they had to get another bond issue 
through. I had nothing much to do around the place then, 
and we took a little vacation trip up in Oregon and Washing 
ton, Vancouver and so on. By the time I came back I think 
Harry Jenks had been engaged. 

Ongerth: Oh Harry came down from Canada or someplace and he took 

some graduate work about the time Ed was graduating, didn t 
he? 

Gillespe: Did he? 

Ongerth: That s my understanding. What s your first knowledge of when 
Harry was working in the field? Then at Sacramento? 

Gillespie: I was down in Hollister my father had passed away, and I 
was down there for the funeraland who should show up but 



16 



Gillespie: Harry, to want a job with the Bureau. 

Ongerth: Oh! (laughter) when was this? 

Gillespie: About 22 or 23. 

Ongerth: And what happened? 

Gillespie: I don t know. Harry got appointed. But he didn t stay very 
long. His father was a consultant and Harry leaned that way. 
But after he d learned something about sanitation from the 
Bureau he took up some consulting work. 

Ongerth: That s something I didn t know. You know his son John is now 
carrying on his father s business. 

Gillespie: We had a lad in the Bureau, he was an errand boy for one of 
the drug stores downtown in Berkeley, and we employed him to 
run little odds and ends, deliver messages, and so on... 

Ongerth: Corney Herb? 

Gillespie: Cornelius Herb. When the filter plant was finished Cornelius 
got a job in the laboratory of the filter plant. 

Ongerth: I see. As kind of a dishwasher and helper? lhat sort of a 
thing? 

Gillespie: Yes, and examine the water. 

Ongerth: Oh, really? 

Gillespie: He d gotten to be quite an expert. 

Ongerth: You had taught him this in Berkeley? 

Gillespie: Yes. He had picked it up in the laboratory that was in the 
Bureau. And then I think soon after that Harry [Jenks] as 
you say I didn t know that he had designed an addition to the 
plant. 

Ongerth: Yes, he did. 

Gillespie: Well, anyway, the next thing we knew Cornelius was the super 
intendent of the plant . 

Ongerth: Well, he was into my time. I remember going to the plant in 
the late thirties and he was running the plant in those days . 



17 



SOME EARLY DEVELOPMENTS OF WATER SUPPLY SYSTEMS 



Gillespie: I want to tell you something here that I ve thought about so 
far as the history of water supplies is concerned: that 
history should be read along with the record of growth of 
population and industry in California. By that I mean that 
the earliest people in California were these cattle men, and 
they had their big ranches generally close to a river or 
creek and that s where they got their water from. The early 
residents of California followed that same principle they 
located near a stream. Then the missions there were 
twenty-one missions come on through the years. They did the 
same thing. They had a few principles that seem pretty im 
portant nowadaysthey located their missions approximately 
twenty-one miles apart. That was a day s travel on a mule 
back or by foot. Also, they got close to waterusually 
streamsif you follow every mission along you ll find there 
was a stream nearby. And then, of course, they were looking 
for Indians to convert to Christianity (laughter). 

The missions, then, followed that same principle as the early 
farmers did of getting close to creek water for their water 
supply. And for a long time, as the state grew, the water 
supplies were simple ones. There d be a spring, a stream. 
Later on they began boring wells, and then they wanted to 
take water in their houses and what not and they put in wind 
mills. And later on they improved the pumps that were pumped 
by windmills, so they were a pressure type of pump. Well, 
that went on for quite a while, maybe ten, no fifteen or 
twenty years. 

Gold mining had been started in California and as it pro 
gressed they needed more water. So they started and this 
was in the Mother Lode country where the gold was they 
started digging ditches to bring the water from some river or 
stream or reservoir, lake, down to the jets that they found 
necessary to do their erosion. Now those ditches began to be 
picked up and used by towns along the way. 

Ongerth: Like Jackson, and Grass Valley. 
Gillespie: Sonora, Volcano... 

Ongerth: P.G.&E. ultimately acquired them and they vrere used for power 
development . 



18 



San Francisco 



Gillespie: That s right. That became another use for those ditches. 
San Francisco was an early supply point for the mining in 
dustry, and San Francisco started out with just Lobos Creek. 

Ongerth: In the Presidio. 

Gillespie: In the Presidio. Now I think Schussler [Hermann] wasn t he 
the inspiration? 

Ongerth: I don t know. 

Gillespie: Well, this is something you ought to check with the water de 
partment over there. I think Schussler was the early water 
engineer of San Francisco. 

Ongerth: With Spring Valley Water Company? 
Gillespie: Yes with Spring Valley Water Company. 
Chall: Does that antedate 1915? 

Gillespie: Yes, that was away back around 1850 and 60 and 70s that he 
was active. But he perceived the need of more supply than 
Lobos Creek was capable of handling, and it was the next big 
jump now in the history of water supplythe Pilarcitos 
San Francisco peninsula series of reservoirs... 

Ongerth: Crystal Springs reservoirs. 

Gillespie: Yeah I had forgotten even the names of all of em, but they 
could be gotten from the city... 

Ongerth : San Andreas . . . 
Gillespie: Calaveras, Pilarcitos.... 

Ongerth: Yes, I think those are the three names. And they built that 
dam that is still there that s Crystal Springs Reservoir 
at San Mateo. 

Gillespie: Oh, yes. That was an old time reservoir of Schussler. Well 

that was the beginning of the big jump now from creek water to 
the modern water supplies, and San Francisco through Schussler, 
started it. Now we have to jump across the Bay to the East 
Bay. The story there is rather interesting, I think. 



19 



East Bay 



Gillespie: This man Havens [Frank] was in a position, of course, to 
see these Schussler string of big reservoirs on the San 
Francisco Peninsula, and he then put in some for the East 
Bay at Temescal and Lake Chabot. 

About 1900, when Roosevelt was President he had a Secretary 
of the Interior, Pinchot, that was his name, and he was 
sold on the value of what they called reforestation. The 
idea of that was to plant trees on watersheds and hold back 
the rain that fell; it couldn t run off in a hurry, but it 
would sink in the ground. Havens caught up with that idea 
and that was the reason for all those trees on that water 
shed. 

Ongerth: Is that right! 

Gillespie: Yes. He planted, oh literally millions of pines and 

Eucalyptus. That forest ation idea, though, didn t last 
very long. Inside of I guess fifteen years or so, they 
were giving it up. But the trees kept growing and along 
in 1900 and something they were made subdivision land. 
So this water company man proceeded to sell the land out 
to sub . . . 

Ongerth: He subdivided it himself? 

Gillespie: All those little houses that you used to see out there 
were due to his sales. 

Ongerth: You mean like up in the area where you lived? 
Gillespie: Oh, yeah. Guy P. Jones went up there ahead of us... 
Ongerth: Up on Broadway Terrace? 

Gillespie: On Broadway Terrace, just a little above us, and he per 
suaded us to buy one of these lots and we d have it to 
picnic on on Sundays. So we bought one. I remember the 
price. It was only $6?0. (laughter) 



20 



Ongerth: Gee, that was a nice lot, too. 

Gillespie: Yes. It had a fine view. It wasn t long until we gave up 

the idea of picnicking there and decided to live there. And 
that s how we came to build that house that we had. Did you 
ever see that? 

Ongerth: Oh, yes, yes, you were living there when I came to work in 
the Bureau. 

Gillespie: Well that forestation idea I don t think you d get that 
story from any other source. So it deserves some mention. 
If you go to the water company and quiz them on it, I think 
they could give you good facts. 

A little more on these big reservoirs. I started with San 
Francisco and this string of reservoirs in the Peninsula, 
but I think that about 1900 or so, Schussler saw that there 
was still a shortage facing San Francisco, and one of the 
things that came out of that was the Hetch-Hetchy project . 
That s one of the most famous water supplies in this state. 

O Shaunessy was the city engineer then and he got John R. 
Freeman, a water works man of great renown in the East, and 
he investigated it. 

And I think there s another reservoir. I haven t seen it. 
Cherry Valley? It s pretty good sized. 

Ongerth: Lake Eleanor up there in Cherry Valley. I think there are 

two reservoirs up there. Can you tell us about the creation 
of the East Bay Municipal Utility District, about when, 1921+ ? 
Someplace in there . . . 

Gillespie: I don t know. 

Ongerth: What I was interested in was the controversy that developed 
over whether or not they should go to the Mokelumne River; 
whether they should go way off there or whether they should 
take water out of the lower delta. Can you tell us something 
about that? 

Gillespie: The water company that they were superseding had embarked on 
a program of bringing an augmented water supply into the East 
Bay and they were going in for a lot of filtration, getting 
waters near a dam, and their thought was to go down to the 
lower Sacramento, like in the vicinity of Folsom or between 
Crockett and Antioch. 



21 



Ongerth: Like the Mallard Slough intake, that was the California 

Water Service Company. You know that Mallard Slough was just 
about where the Sacramento Northern Railroad crossing was. 

Gillespie: I thought that the water company was figuring on going down on 
the Martinez side, to tap the river in there. 

Ongerth: But then somebody else had the concept to go farther upstream, 
to go to the Mokelumne project. 

Gillespie: Yeah, I don t know who had that... 

Ongerth: Do you recall what the pros and cons were of one project as 
against the other? 

Gillespie: No. The Mokelumne River would be more like following the 
pattern of Hetch-Hetchy for San Francisco. 

Ongerth: A better chemical quality. 

Gillespie: I never appreciated that there was any heated controversy over 
that. 

Ongerth: I thought there was some. I wasn t aware how much it was. 
Was Louis Bartlett involved in that? 

Gillespie: Louis Bartlett? I don t know that name. 

FIRST OFFICES OF THE BUREAU OF SANITARY ENGINEERING 



Ongerth: When you came to work in 1915 > and Hyde had been the con 
sultant to the State Board of Public Health and he essentially 
had hired you, then the Bureau was housed in the old civil 
engineering building, wasn t it? 

Gillespie: That s right. Right next to Professor Hyde s office. 

Ongerth: And then did you have a fairly close relationship with him 
in those years? 

Gillespie : Yes . 

\ 

Ongerth: He kind of kept track of what was going on then? 
Gillespie: Yes. 



22 



Ongerth: So you had lots of opportunity to talk with him about things? 
Gillespie: Yes. 

Ongerth: I think you were probably in that one place until they built 
the Life Sciences Building, which I think was 1930 then 
probably you movedto 3093 Life Sciences Building. 

Gillespie: I think this is an interesting point too, that we had a 

laboratory that was housed though in the mechanical engineer 
ing building mechanical that wasn t what they called it. 

Ongerth: Mechanics? 

Gillespie: Mechanics. It was a galvanized iron building (laughter), roof 
and sides; everything was about the cheapest construction you 
could imagine. The laboratory was there until 1930. 

Ongerth: Was that just in back of the Civil Engineering Building? 

Gillespie: Yes. Did you know Arnson [Val]? 

Ongerth: Yes he was an instrument man, wasn t he? Val Arnson. 

Gillespie: Well, upstairs there was a second story and that s where our 
laboratory was . 

Ongerth: Then finally the Bureau moved. In the meanwhile Goudey [Ray] 
left sometime in the late 20s, didn t he? 

Gillespie: Yes. He was down South. I don t know that he had left the 

Bureau. I think he merely took trips down Souththat kind of 
a connection, see? 

Ongerth: I m thinking of later when he went to work for L.A. Water and 
Power . 

Gillespie: Yes, well by that time he was living in Los Angeles. 

Ongerth: I was wondering when that was that must have been around 
1930 when he left the Bureau? 

Gillespie: Yeah, I don t think he was ever in the new building. 

Ongerth: Meanwhile you d hired Frank De Martini and later two or three 
years later Jud Harmon. 

Gillespie: Yes. 



23 



Ongerth: Did you hire both of those fellows right out of school? 
Gillespie: Yes. Frank De Martini I think was graduated in 27. 

Ongerth: Right. You were in 07, and Ed was 17, and De Martini was 
27. 

Gillespie: I hadn t thought of that till now (laughter). And then Jud 
came in the Bureau pretty close to 1930. 

Ongerth: I think he graduated in 30. And then Herb [Foster, Jr.] in 
31. 

Chall: What were these men hired to do, specifically? 

Gillespie: They were younger, but they d be assigned to a survey, or 
sampling some streams or water somewhere. 

Ongerth: Just the regular work of the Bureau. 
Gillespie: Yes. Same as you probably started. . .(laughter) 
Ongerth : Right . 

Chall: But by this time you had more than two or three men on your 
staff? 

Gillespie: Yes, we did. I don t know how many we had then. Hilscher 
had left, Frank Bachmann I m not too sure he went back to 
someplace in the East. I don t think Frank Bachciann was 
there very long. Well, there was .Ed Reinke, and Doman, I 
guess was still with us. 

Ongerth: And Goudey. And that must have been the staff in the middle 
of the twenties? 

Gillespie: And myself. That makes four engineers, and a couple of 
stenographers . 

Chall: That wasn t too much of an expansion. 

Ongerth: You know one of the things that you did that I think is very 
remarkable: You did the 1930 Sanitary Surveys. 

Gillespie: Yes. 

Ongerth: Was that the first complete round that was made of all these 
facilities? 



Gillespie: Yes, I think it was. If you could ever find the copies of 
those surveys. 

Ongerth: They re in the archives. 

Gillespie: Well, they ought to show the date on them as to just when they 
were made . 

Ongerth: They were mostly in the year 30, some in 31, I think. Frank 
De Martini wrote a lot of those and Ed some, and I guess you 
wrote some of them... 

Gillespie: Yes. 

Ongerth: And Ray Derby did some of that work. Now how long did Ray 
work for the Bureau? 

Gillespie: He was a pretty good man, too. 
Ongerth: How long do you think he worked? 

Gillespie: I don t know, but it wasn t very long. I think he got caught 
in that Depression in the 30s. 

Ongerth: Someplace along there Joe Sanchis worked for the Bureau. 

Gillespie: That s right, he did too. But the two of them transferred to 
the Los Angeles City Water Department. 

Ongerth: You know, interestingly, Goudey and then Derby and then Sanchis 
in turn headed up the water quality division in L.A. Water and 
Power . 

Gillespie: I hear from Sanchis quite often. You know he used to be a 
bullfighter in Spain. He was born in Spain. 

Ongerth: I didn t know Joe fought bulls, I ll have to ask him about that . 
Gillespie: Well, right you do! (laughter) 
Ongerth: I ll tell him you told me. (laughter) 

Gillespie: But that s it that was the reputation he had when he came to 
the Bureau. 

Ongerth: He was a tough hombre. (laughter) 
Gillespie: He didn t fight anybody up here. 



STATE BOARD BECOMES STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH 



Chall: 



Gillespie: 



Ongerth : 
Gillespie: 

Ongerth : 

Gillespie : 
Chall: 

Gillespie: 
Chall : 

Gillespie: 

Ongerth : 
Gillespie : 



I wanted to ask you, Mr. Gillespie, whether in 1927, when the 
Board of Health became a full-fledged department this had any 
effect on your work. The same officers remained... 

It didn t affect us except as to whom we would be working with. 
Those early years we used to work with Dr. Geiger and Ida May 
Stevens; they were our principal cohorts. If you ever get into 
the story of typhoid in California, those two would know more 
about that part than anybody you could put your finger on . 

Then Dorothy Beck came along someplace too . . . 

Dorothy Beck came in there. She was an assistant to Ida May 
Stevens . 

She wrote up something on the epidemiology of the Santa Ana 
outbreak. 

Yes. I think she went down on that. She must have. 

Did you ever have anything to do with Dr . Charles Halliday who 
was Miss Stevens supervisor? 

Oh yes, yes. He was an epidemiologist for the Board. 

What were your relationships with Dr. Dickie when he was the 
head of the Board? 

Well, the very best (laughter). I still dream dreams about 
him. 

He gave the Bureau good strong support? 

Yes. Well, now to illustrate this point (laughter): In 192^, 
I think, Goudey and I were on a trip, an inspection trip. We 
went up through Dunsmuir and then on up to northern California 
and headed down toward Eureka; but near Arcsta they had been 
doing some road work and had a soft shoulder . Goudey was driv 
ing, but I pointed something out that took my interest and 
Goudey lost his view of this soft dirt on the shoulder (laugh 
ter). So over we went, down and down a steep hill. Pretty 
soon somebody came along that had a sleeping bed up on their 
car top of their car and they loaded me into that and hauled 
me into Eureka, and into the industrial hospital. But the 



26 



Gillespie: doctor there didn t take any interest in me and Dr. Dickie 

sent Miss let s see, what was her name, she was killed down 
there near Salinas, remember? 

Ongerth: A physician? A nurse? 

Gillespie: No, a nurse. Anyway, she came up there and went to the city 
health officer, Dr. Chane I think his name was, and he got 
me moved out of that industrial hospital into the one the 
city had. In a few weeks I was able to travel again and Dr. 
Dickie had me moved down to Oakland. First I thought I was 
well enough that I could go back to my home there , but he 
said, "Nothin* doin 1 , you ve got to go into a hospital." 
(laughter) So I was put into Providence Hospital and I stayed 
there several months . 

Ongerth: Gee, you were badly injured. 

Gillespie: I was, all right. 

Ongerth: Ed told me the story, part of it. 

Chall: What happened to Mr. Goudey? 

Gillespie: Well, it just tore his trousers, (laughter) Right in front. 
Mrs. Gillespie read in the paper about this, and she couldn t 
find out anything about me, but she did know that Goudey was 
in-- cause first we were put in Arcata. She called Arcata 
Hotel and got Goudey, and he wouldn t come to the phone. He 
wouldn t appear in public at all. (laughter) 

Chall: Didn t have a change of trousers! 

Gillespie: After a bit I got put onto one of the Northwestern cars I 

think they were and came down to San Rafael and then over to 
Berkeley . 

Ongerth: Back to relationships with Dr. Dickie. Did he givewere you 
able to get financial support that you needed for the Bureau 
as the job got bigger, as the years rolled on? 

Gillespie: No, not too much. We did, gradually, as we kind of grew and 
people appreciated the services, we d be able to get a little 
support for an increase. Dr. Dickie was pretty shrewd. He 



wasn t a spender by any means, 
me. 



But he certainly was good to 



Chall: 



Who followed him? Who were between him and Halverson? 



27 



Ongerth: There was a doctor Brown in there. 
Gillespie: Yes. Dr. Brown and Dr. Porter [Giles]. 

Chall: Dickie was gone for about four years. He went off to be the 
director of I think it was Public Relations at the CMA, and 
then he came back. Dr. Porter was in there during that time , 

Gillespie: Dr. Porter was formerly with the City of Los Angeles in the 
Health Department. Olson was the Governor at that time. 

Ongerth: That was the early 30s. 



Catastrophes 



Gillespie: Yes. An interesting story remember that Long Beach earth 
quake about 33? Did I tell you this story? 

Ongerth: Yes, you did over the telephone a couple of weeks ago. 

Gillespie: Well. . .(laughter) It was this, that as I say we went out on 
all these catastrophes. I was getting ready to drive down 
in a car, but I happened on to Dr. Geiger who was then in the 
city Health Department of San Francisco, and he asked me how 
I was going and I said, "Drive down." He said, Veil, I m 
going down and I ve got a special car from the SP, don t you 
want to ride with me?" Well, I thought that was fine. So 
(laughter), we go on this car, and being a special car 
possibly two or three cars it had to be sidetracked for every 
other passing, so the result was that it took us about three 
or four days to reach Long Beach, (laughter) I went then to 
the City Hall where Dr. Porter was stationed and he looked at 
me, and he says, "Where in the hell have you been?" (laughter) 

The story there was that Goudey was on the job, but there was 
a fight on between the sewer department and the water depart 
ment over chlorination . Goudey was on one side and the health 
department was on the other. And poor old Dr. Porter, he was 
caught in the middle. He didn t know who was right or who was 
wrong, (laughter) 

Ongerth: You said Goudey was there, wasn t it Jud? 
Gillespie: No. 
Ongerth: Or both? 



28 



Gillespie: It was Goudey. 

Ongerth: He wasn t working for the department then was he? 

Gillespie: No, he might have been down there helping the Long Beach 
Water Department, at that time, see. That frequently 
happened . 

Chall: What was Dr. Geiger like? 

Gillespie: Oh he was fine! (laughter) I used to go out on investiga 
tions of these typhoid outbreaks with him. He d always 
holler for me. One outbreak I remember was on San Pablo 
Creek, at the time they were building that reservoir... 

Ongerth: The dam? 

Gillespie: The dam, yes. He was pretty convinced it was a water-borne 
thing. But you know, it s a peculiarity of water-borne 
typhoid that it ll affect the majority of people who drink 
that particular water. If you find a widespread typhoid 
outbreak, you can be pretty sure it s water-borne and you 
better be looking for polluted water somewhere. But the 
most we could find in that was that the men used the same 
water for their toothbrushes! (laughter) which seemed kind 
of far-fetched for... 

Ongerth: It would ve had to be transmitted with the water they were 
brushing their teeth with. I d be a little dubious. 

The typhoid outbreak in Santa Ana, of course, was a really 
serious one . 



Santa Ana Typhoid Epidemic 

) 
The Notable Santa Ana Typhoid Epidemic 

by C. G. Gillespie 



The Santa Ana Typhoid outbreak occurred in 192*4- 
and by all odds was the most devastating sewage- 
borne epidemic that has occurred during the life 



Mr. Gillespie s answer didn t record properly. He dictated 
this material to his niece for inclusion in the manuscript. 



Gillespie: of the Bureau. The State Department of Health at 
once sent epidemiologists and nurses to assist 
the local Health Officer, Dr. Sutherland, and staff. 
I remained in the Berkeley Office of the Bureau but 
we sent Ray F. Goudey to the scene. Mr. Goudey had 
come to the Bureau only recently on the high recom 
mendation of Professor Whipple of Massachusetts 
Institute of Technology, saying that Mr. Goudey was 
a brilliant student and indeed he was. Mr. Goudey 
phoned almost every day and it is from my memory of 
these conversations that I write this story of the 
Bureau s part in this epidemic. Were Mr. Goudey 
alive today there is no doubt that he could write a 
most vivid story of his part in the control of this 
epidemic . 

In the Santa Ana Water Works there were certain wells 
which were pumped through a low level pressure line 
into a low level reservoir. One noon hour Mr. Goudey 
sauntered down to the reservoir and on peering into 
it was horrified to observe several pieces of human 
feces floating around on the surface of the water. 
To his practiced eye this offered a clue to the cause 
of the typhoid and explained why such typical sewage- 
borne diseases as amoebic dysentery accompanied the 
typhoid. 

On investigation of the sewer system he found that 
one of the sewer lines presumedly was a storm sewer 
but also carried sewage. Some parts of the so-called 
storm sewer lay close to the water line that supplied 
the reservoir. Mr. Goudey also learned that on Mon 
day (wash day) the sewer line overflowed on the ground 
and thence into the water line . 

This solved the cause of the outbreak and little re 
mained except to take care of the ill, trace down 
carriers, and to correct the faulty sewer and water 
system. 

Probably the best thing that came from this experience 
was the adoption by the State Board of Health of regu 
lations prohibiting the cross connections between water 
lines and sources of potentially polluted water. 



1939 



29a 








PROBlMtN EASTBAY ONE OF 






Parran U urges Eerly 
Surrey to Qualify for 
Possible U.S. Funds 



jg the Metropolitan Oak 
land water - frot pollution problem 
s one of the most serious in the. 
United States, Surgeon General 
Thomas M. Parran Jr., director et 
th United States Public Health 
Service, urged officials of the East- 
bay cities yesterday to proceed im* 
inediatcly with survey of the sew 
age disposal in order to qualify for 
Federal aid U and when it becomes 
available. - . 
- Doctor Parraa. on a whirlwind 
visit to the Bay region, met with the 
Karthay Municipal Executives As 
sociation in th office of Mayor Wil 
liam J. McCracken for a discussion 
of pollution and the possibility ot 
gaining Federal funds for construc 
tion of a unified sewage - disposal 
ystem. The 1 meeting was arranged 
by John H. Tolan Jr., secretary to 
Congressman John H. Tolan. 

"You have a filthy situation," Dr. 
Parran said, "but you are to be 
congratulated upon your effort* to 
develop a regional plan for the 
purification of your waterfront." 
FTNANWG POSSIBLE 

He said there is a good possibility 
that Federal aid will be forthcom 
ing under the Barkley pollution 
feill which was passed by the Sen 
ate and is now pending before the 
Home of Representatives. 

This bill, he explained, provides 
for the setting up of divislorf f 
water pollution control In the Ptlb- 
Me Health "Service under which 
money would be made available, 
for 66fh~"preB&ftlnary studies end 
corrective measures. Outright 
grants of one-third of the cost and 
loans for the remainder- are pro- 
vided for in the legislation, he 
Added. 

C. G. Gillespie, chief of the State 
Bureau of Sanitary Engineering 
who was present at th meeting, 
Mid that two-thirds of the State 
pollution problem is in the Bay 
.region and that the worst half is 
along the east shore. 
\ STEP FORWARD 

"If we can clear up this Metro 
politan Oakland problem we will be 
well along the road of cleaning up 
water pollution in California," GQ- 
tecpie said. 

Dr. Parran compared the Zastbay 
waterfront pollution with that of 

the Passaic Valley, New Jersey, 
where a regional sewage disposal 
system was developed with the co 
operation of a number of nearby 
cities and a Federal grant 

Mayor Henry A. Weichhart of 
Alameda, president of the Eastbay ! 
Municipal Executives Association, i 
told the group that a $80.000 survey 

1 




STUDY WATERFRONT 



* - 




Surgeon General Thomas M. Parran Jr. (right), director of the 
U.S. Public Health Service, discussed sewage disposal prob 
lems of Metropolitan Oakland cities with C. G. GUlespie, 
chief of the State s sanitary engineering bureau, at the City 
Hall here yesterday. Tribune photo. 



of, the sewage disposal needs of the 
eight Metropolitan Oakland citie* 
will be undertaken within two or 
three months. Funds for the survey 
have already been pledged by the 
cities for this purpose. The Oakland 
city budget for the current fiscal 
year contains an appropriation of 
$20,000, one-half of tpe-sum which 
was agreed upon as Oakland s share. 

Other cities which have either 
pledged or appropriated funds for 
this purpose are: Alameda, Berke 
ley, Piedmont, Richmond, Emery 
ville, El Cerrito and Albany. 
REVIEWS RESEARCH WORK 

Dr. Parran proceeded from Oak 
land to the University of California 
^o review research which is under 
way in the treatment of influenza 
and cancer. He was to speak before 
the California Academy of Medicine 

In Ran Francisco last nieht. 



Others present at the sewage 
pollution meeting were: City Man 
ager Charles A. Schwanenberg of 
Alameda, City Engineer Walter N. 
Frickstad of Oakland, Acting City 
Manager Charles Fisk of Berkeley, 
Councilman George E. Bachelder of 
Albany, Mayor Al LaCoste of Em 
eryville, Mayor J. M. Turner of] 
Cerrito, Mayor John Bell and City 
Engineer E. A. Hoffman of Rich- 
mond and City Engineer John Dy- 
gert of Albany. 

. pari-an sl^o visited tlie -Oakland 
Venereal Disense Clinic at 282. 
Eighth Street while here yesterday. 
He was influential in starting the . 
clinics throughout the country to. 
battle the spread of social diseases. 



30 



REMINISCING ABOUT COLLEAGUES 



Gillespie: 

Chall: 

Gillespie: 



Ongerth: 
Gillespie: 



Ongerth: 
Gillespie; 
Ongerth : 



You asked me once to enumerate some of the important figures 
that I had dealings with? 

Yes. If you can give me a little item about their personali 
ties too that adds lustre to the report. 

Of course Professor Hyde was my first contact and I ve loved 
him ever since. I remember you told me this the other day, 
that he is now ninety-five years old (laughter). He used to 
pride himself on the longevity of his family and a short time 
after that I noticed in the National Geographic magazine there 
was a long article on longevity of the Hyde family. So it 
looks like he s still carrying on that tradition. 

I think my next important contact was with George W. Fuller. 
He was easily the biggest sanitary engineer in this country. 
He had done work for the Massachusetts State Health Department, 
he was in charge of the Lawrence experiment station where they 
studied these slow sand filters and their efficiency, and by 
the time that I began to know him he was consultant engineer 
in New York city. I ve told you how he brought me into Evans- 
ton as his resident engineer and how that led up to my appoint 
ment to the Bureau of Sanitary Engineering here . 

And then another important figure that I met was George Whipple . 
He was a professor in sanitary engineering too at Massachusetts 
Institute of Technology. It was he who put Goudey on to us. He 
recommended Goudey very highly as very brilliant. Goudey was 
hired, came out, and we were pretty quickly convinced that he 
was brilliant all right. I ll tell you this little story. You 
know the north entrance to the University? 

Up by Northgate, at the foot of Euclid? 

Yes, that s it. Well, I was coming in that gate one day, there 
was s bulletin board right by the gate, and it said, "After 
the Cosmos, What?" And I read on and it was a talk by Goudey 
(much laughter). That was so far above me that I thought he 
must be mighty smart, (more laughter) 

Did he do much of that sort of thing? 

I think he did. He had that kind of a mind. 

Sort of a philosophical bent, huh? 



31 



Gillespie: Yes. Now let s see, well, that s Whipple and Goudey. Sam 

Morris. I knew him very well. Everybody did he had a very 
likeable disposition. Out in San Bernardino there was a Mr. 
Livingstone [Bard], the water superintendent. We developed 
a great acquaintance. And then at the same place I developed 
an acquaintance with Louis Spence. 

Chall: Tell me about Louis Spence. 

Gillespie: He had been for a long time working for the telephone company 
in that San Bernardino area. At the time that I began to know 
him he was appointed a sanitarian for the local health depart 
ment in San Bernardino county, and so I used to see Louis 
pretty nearly every day (laughter). And to this day Louis and 
I are close friends. 



Ongerth : 
Gillespie; 



Ongerth: 
Gillespie : 
Ongerth : 
Gillespie ; 



Louis was a fine fellow I haven t seen him for a long time. 

One day we went out to Forty -Nine Palms on something, stayed 
there overnight and in the same room. We both wore glasses; 
so next morning I put on a pair of glasses, not knowing whose 
they were , and Louis took the other pair . We went on out to 
the Colorado River and that night coming back to San Bernardino, 
the stars were falling to beat the band, and some dim and some 
were bright, so finally I noticed that they had a peculiar 
look. I asked Louis if they looked that way to him. Yes, he 
thought they did. (laughter) So I said, "Do you suppose I ve 
got your glasses and you ve got mine?" (laughter) So for a 
day and a half there we d been wearing the other fella s 
glasses. 

Mr. Gillespie, Karl Imhoff came to California one time... * 



That was along about 

Later, maybe 29, I think. Was it 2U? 

Well, I remember it this way: Clyde Kennedy had got some land 
up above Los Gatos, and he had invited Imhoff to see his place. 
I went along with Imhoff. That was another contact I had. I 
knew Imhoff well. 



Chall: Was he the inventor of the Irahoff tank? 

Gillespie: Yes. He was the leading German sanitary engineer. 

Chall: From where? Where did he live most of the time? 

Gillespie: Well, in Germany, that s where he had his practice. 

* A small album of snapshots taken throughout California by Mr. Imhoff during 
his visit in 1929 has been placed in the Water Resources Archives on the 
Berkeley campus. 



.ua 



_ i. 






jE-ap* 1 -^T n 

^ \ L-^H*^ 




0. Bard Livingstone, retired Son Bernardino water superintendent, admires sign at reservoir named for him fay the city water board. 

Reservoir, Pumping Plant Dedicated to Retired 5.8. Wafer Official 



With tears in his eyes, retired city 
water superintendent D. Bard Living 
stone said "I don t believe it," as San 
Bernardino s newest reservoir chid 
pumping plant was named in his 
honor. 

Livingstone, who was water depart 
ment superintendent from 1934 to 
1952. disclaimed all credit given him 
tor the development of the city water 
svstem. saving it should go instead to 
"the most faithful and best employees 
I have worked with." 

The new reservoir on 42nd Street 
near Kendall Drive in San Bernard- 
dino s north end, has a capacity of 8.9 
million gallons and, with two other 
reservoirs and a pumping plant, makes 
up the Livingstone installation. 

The plant was dedicated to Living 
stone by Water Commissioners Mrs. 
Margaret Chandler and W. R. Hoi- 
comb. 

Mrs. Chandler read a resolution of 
ficially dedicating the plant to Liv 
ingstone. 

It said in part that Livingstone "de 
voted 37 years of efficient and faith 
ful service to the Water Department 
... in the capacity of Superintendent 
tor IS years . . . possessing a high 
sense of duty and interest in the pro 
motion of public welfare." 

Mrs. Chandler then presented Liv 
ingstone with a copy of the resolu 
tion. 



Caught by surprise by the previous 
ly unannounced dedication, Living 
stone was at first too choked up to 
speak. 

After a moment, he thanked Mrs. 
Chandler and the Water Board, prais 
ing his ex-employees for their service 
to him and the department. 

Then Holcomb praised Livingstone 
for his work as superintendent, saying 
he was responsible for one of the city s 
major water sources two wells in 
Cajon Canyon northwest of San Ber 
nardino. 

"Water produced from this source," 
Holcomb said, "is the most economi 
cal within the city s system. During 
1967, approximately 17 per cent of the 
water. proluccd by the city was from 
this supply, costing less than $1 per 
acre foot." 

Following the dedication and un 
veiling, some 200 persons were al 
lowed to tour the new reservoir. A 
reception for Livingstone was given 
at a restaurant across the street from 
the facility. 

The reservoir measures 254 feet by 
294 feet on the interior. Because the 
water is to be stored underground, all 
that passcrsby can see is the dirt-cov 
ered mound where grass is starting to 
peek through. 

By comparison, the reservoir the 
new facility replaces measured 343 by 
165 feet aiid held only 3.2 million gal 
lons of water. 



The original facility was built with 
the help of horse-drawn wagons as an 
earth fill reservoir with an oil lining. 
In 1930 a roof was put over the open 
reservoir, and in 1944 gunite was ap 
plied to the sides to prevent leakage. 

Last year, with the help of a 50 per 
cent grant from the Department of 
Housing and Urban Development 
(HUD), work on the new $387,900 
faciilty was started by Lomar Cor])., 
and all construction was completed 
last month. 

Put into the makings of the sturdy 
structure were 5,247 cubic yards of 
concrete, 379 tons of reinforcing steel 
and 168 concrete and steel columns. 
A polyurethane sealant prevents any 
leakage. 

The reservoir augments two others 
at the site and provides a total capaci 
ty at the Newmark location of 21.9 
million gallons of water. 

The total Newmark operation will 
become the main pumping station for 
the extraction of underground water 
coming from Northern California in 
1972. With the four wells at the site, 
facilities have a total pumping capaci 
ty of 4,541 gallons of water a minute. 

Two other reservoirs, built in 1956 
and 1963, are a part of the total New- 
mark operation. 

Livingstone is a former member of 
the Board of Directors of the Cali 
fornia Section AWWA. 1968. 



Ongerth: Emscher, I guess, eh? You know, that reminds me that in 
the bookcase the same bookcases that were there when you 
were, there s a collection of photographs that Imhoff took 
on that trip he made , and in there there * s a photograph of 
your house up on Broadway Terrace and a few other personal 
photographs that he had taken and I meant to bring that 
along and I forgot it. 

Gillespie: There was Imhoff among these notables that I knew very well. 
I guess there was nobody else from Europe. I counted up one 
day how many people I had good contacts with in this State . 
As near as I could figure it out, there were about three 
hundred. 

Ongerth: Well, I m sure you knew everybody that was working in the 
field in those days, no question about it. 

Gillespie: Well, these were people who leaned on me a good deal for 
their information and advice. If they didn t, I didn t 
count era (laughter) Let s see, who else is there. Sam 
Morris is another good friend I had, and Geiger, and Ida May 
Stevens, and Dr. Kellogg who was in charge of the laboratory 
there. Bert Crowley, of the San Francisco Health Department, 
Dr. Hassler of the San Francisco Health Department... 

Ongerth: Before Geiger . . . 

Gillespie: Yes, he was the head of the San Francisco Health Department. 
Now let s see, who else might there be. Well, there was 
Mr. Goodwin of the San Jose I think he was City Manager of 
San Jose for a time. I ve forgotten his first name. Let s 
see oh, yes, and then the first two men I worked for were 
Wilfred Deberard. He came out on an experimental filter plant 
for the East Bay, see. And Langdon Pearse of the Chicago 
Sanitary District came out with him. And my first job was 
under those two. 

Ongerth: Wasn t he at Chicago for many years later? 

Gillespie: Oh, yes, yes. You see, the Depression of I think it was 1907 
or 08 came on while that experimental filter plant was in 
use and the water company being a corporation found it hard to 
raise money, and the result was that Deberard and Pearse both 
left. Pearse went back to the Chicago Sanitary District, 
Deberard he was a newspaper man with the Engineering News 
Record and he joined them as their western representative. 
He stayed there till he passed away. 

Ongerth: Was that the time when you and Harold Gray together worked on 
the operation of the filter plant? 



33 



Gillespie: No, I don t think we ever did. We went to Sacramento 

together, but let s see, that was over yes it was, it was 
in connection with the filter plant . We were both out of 
U.C. with sanitary engineering training. 

Ongerth: You were classmates? 

Gillespie: Yes, classmates. And we thought we d go to Sacramento 

(laughter) and be on the ground if anything ever came of it, 
at that time . 

Ongerth: Did you know C. E. Grunsky? 

Gillespie: Oh yes, very well. Yes, that s another notable figure. 

Chall: Did you have close relationships with various members of the 
State Board? I noticed you were talking about Dr. Ebright 
earlier . 

Gillespie: Oh yes all of them. But coming back to these people that I 
had close contact with, there was Dr. Russell, Ed Russell, 
he was the Orange County health officer. And Dr. Leesem. 

Ongerth: Wasn t Leesem in San Diego? Alex Leesem. 

Gillespie: Yes. That s where his office was. I guess that s right. 

Practically every health officer and sanitarian in the state 
I was very close to. 

Chall: Before we leave today, I wonder if I could bring us up to 
about the time when you retired. We haven t talked about 
Dr. Halverson. He brought in quite a change to the department, 
I would assume, when he reorganized after the Buck Report. 

Gillespie: Yes. 

Chall: What kind of a person was Dr. Halverson? 

Gillespie: He was fine too! (laughter) 

Chall: How did you feel about this major reorganization... 

Gillespie: The what? 

Chall: His reorganizing the department, so the Bureau was placed in 
one of the five divisions? 



Gillespie: Well, that took place soon after I left. I don t know 
I m not sure that it s a wise thing. It seems to me that 
what it amounts to is that you decentralize control. In 
other words, take our Bureau, now, there must be half a 
dozen or more, aren t there, scattered around the State, 
each one on his own decisions. In other words you lose 
the centralized . . . 

Ongerth: That s right. You re not nearly in so close touch with what s 
going on, that s absolutely correct. 

Gillespie: Well, let s see, is that enough of the people? (laughter) 
Chall: I think so. 

Ongerth: One thing I wanted to ask you about, Mr. Gillespie. . .the de 
velopment of the sewer farm regulations: crop irrigation 
with sewage effluent and the numbers that were used with the 
coliform limits. Do you recall how those were established? 

Gillespie: That was a pretty early regulation. No, I think most of those 
figures, the number of B. coli that could be permitted, like 
in swimming pools and sewer farms and so on, was based on... 
going back to what the standard was for water supply, going 
up or down a [rational - H.O.] relationship. Drinking water. 
There was no other basis for it. 

Ongerth: I remember a time when Herb Foster and I had made a sanitary 
survey we spent a number of days on, on the Conn Reservoir. 
They were going to build Conn Dam, and I did the 
sanitary survey. We made a map out of little pieces of paper. 
We made the map from some big sheets that the division of 
water resources had. We made the scale convenient to the 
pieces of paper, and when we came back in you looked at the 
map and you pulled your scale out of the drawer to figure out 
some distance someplace,and it was a bastard scale and you 
were pretty disgusted with us cause it was not a normal scale , 
(loud laughter) Herb and I had worked like mad making that 
map, worked at night in a... you d recommended we stay in a 
little old hotel there off of the main street in St. Helena. 
You liked those quaint places. 



* The reorganization took place in 19^, just before 
Mr. Gillespie retired in January, 



35 



Gillespie: Yes. I did. (laughter) Here s a good story. In the early 
days we had a Ford in the Bureau for traveling, and one day 
we were traveling homeward from Los Angeles toward Bakersfield 
over the old ridge route remember that road? 

Ongerth: I know the old Ridge Route, that was a pretty rough old road. 

Gillespie: It was about nighttime when we came to the last place we could 
get anything to eat. Let me see, there was Frank Bachmann, 
and we were eating away and some fellow breezed in and said 
he was going to Bakersfield and did anybody want to ride with 
him. And Frank spoke up and said, "What d ya got?" He says, 
"A Stutz!" (laughter) A Stutz was quite a car in those days, 
see? So Frank signed up for the ride. He left us and joined 
this other fellow. As soon as we d finished our meal we went 
on ahead and we noticed this Stutz never did pass us on the way 
to Bakersfield. When we got to the hotel where we were going 
to stay there was still no Frank, and we didn t know what had 
become of him. We thought he d gone over the bank. Next 
morning we went down to breakfast and pretty soon Frank came 
in and we said, Veil what became of you?" He says, "Aw, that 
fellow didn t have a Stutz!" (laughter) with a disgusted face. 

Ongerth: You mentioned the accident with Ray Goudey up in the Arcata 
area, you were in another automobile accident in the 30s 
with Jud up someplace . 

Gillespie: Well, it was right near Pinole. That was when the Depression 
was on, wasn t it? And a lot of people went in for oyster 
gathering and selling and clam gathering, and one of the spots 
was the mud flats out of Pinole. So on a Sunday Jud and I 
thought we d go and see what we could see about these shell 
fish gatherers out there. Well we got out on the point, you 
couldn t see anything, but way off up the line there was a 
lot of little boats out, so we hurried out of where we were. 
We had to cross some railroad tracks, see, as we got out of 
that area. It was beginning to get dark I think they called 
it the Shasta Run, or something like that a fast SP train, 
anyway came whizzing along. I wasn t driving here either. 
We landed on the tracks and the train came along and the cow 
catcher just swished our car it was a brand new Buick-- and 
hurled us down the track and the track had a bank like this 
away from it, and pretty soon we whizzed off the tracks and 
down the slope in the bottom of this gulch. Well, Jud had a 
bad cut on his nose, just as though it took a cleaver down 
his nose; but you know I had glasses on, they weren t broken, 
I didn t have a scratch, a tear or anything (laughter). 

Chall: How fortunate. 



36 



Ongerth : 

Gillespie: 
Ongerth : 
Gillespie: 



AMERICAN WATER WORKS ASSOCIATION 



Mr. Gillespie, I brought along something that I ll leave and 
maybe Mrs. Gillespie can read it to you. It s George W. 
Pracy s account of the formation of the California section 
of the A.W.W.A. [American Water Works Association] 

Oh, yes? 

You were involved in that, weren t you? 

Yes, yes. Professor Hyde was really the ring leader in that 
but, there were probably half a dozen others that he d invited 
into the meeting, and that s the way it started. 



Ongerth: He mentions George Elliott. 
Gillespie: Yes. 



Ongerth : 



Gillespie 



And Mr. Johns, who came up from Hanford. 
would be? I don t know that name. 



Do you know who that 



I knew Mr. Johns. Yes, I d forgotten him, but that s right, 
he was one of the ring leaders. Yes. Professor Hyde promoted 
the water works association. But I think it helped him out to 
have the Bureau connected with it in it. We had some fellows 
from pretty far off in that meeting of that organization. I 
remember Mr. Johns had come up all the way from Hanford to 
talk about how to organize the water works association. 



Ongerth : 



He mentions M. M. O Shaughnessy in San Francisco, 
any dealings with O Shaughnessy? 



Did you have 



Gillespie: Yes, 



CALIFORNIA SEWAGE WORKS ASSOCIATION 



Ongerth: I also wanted to ask you about the formation of the California 
Sewage Works Association about 1928. Can you recall any of 
the circumstances of the formation of that? 

Gillespie: It was already formed in many places in the East. We just 



Gillespie Receives 
Fuller Award At 
National Convention 

A signal honor was received by 
Chester dlleapte of W. Wilson 
street during the past week When 
he. attended the American Water 
works Association s national con- 
rention in San Francisco. At a 
dinner in the Fairmont Hotel the 
president of the association pre 
sented Mr. Giltetpie with the an 
nual George Warren Fuller award. 
This award Is given to one mem-! 
oer In each section of the associa 
tion for their distinguished service 
in the water supply field and in 
Jommemoratlon of the sound en-! 
gineering skill, ttie brilliant diplo 
matic talent and the constructive 
leadership of men in this associa 
tion which characterizes the JUfe of 
George-Warren Fulterf.... " 

The national association ia corn- 
Posed, of 10,000 members making 
up about 19 sections to tto.ff g 
the California group, having about 
> members, in" presenting the 
award the presidnt : commented 
on Mr. GlUespie s inspiring leader 
ship and continuing energy .la, ttp- 
wiUding research in tie- technical 
Phases of wster purification 
oughout the State-oT California. 
X*. an*.J^10KJaglPt ? have been 
permanent residents otf Biiinfng *h- 
atoce last December, although 
key have been coming to the 
city for many years in -connection 
ith Mr. Glllespie s work as State 
Sanitary Engineer. They *ere Im 
pressed with our fair c ny not only 
because of its cllnttrte, but also 
because of the quiet, friendly at 
mosphere prevailing here. So, 
three years ago they bought a 
home on W. Wilson with the idea 
%mind of coming here, permanent 
ly as soon as Mr. Gillespie retired, 
This h did last December, after 
thirty-two years of service with the 
State of California. , . 

I>ast October Mr. Gillespie, be 
cause of his invaluable knowledge 
In the sanitary field, was appointed 
special consultant in the Research 
Grants Division of the U. S Pub- 
flic Health Service. The purpose of 
this Division Is to stimulate basic 
research in medical and sanitary 
sciences. There are twenty three 
different groups which .consider Ap 
plications for fedferai funds in 
"these fields, and Mr. v Olilesple la 
the representative for thd eleven 
western states In the sanitation 
otion. These groups meet ap 
proximately four times year In 
Washington, D. C. to consider ap- 
plications. Mr. Gillessple will at 
tend the next meeting fh the fall 



36a 



1947 



37 



Gillespie: called a bunch of the fellows together to see about having 
one in California. 

Ongerth: This was something you took the leadership in? 

Gillespie: I guess so. I had just returned from the East and I had 
some facts about their association back there. 

Ongerth: And Ed became the first secretary, didn t he? 
Gillespie: Yes, I think he did. 

Ongerth: You don t remember who any of the people were who helped 
form the organization? 

Gillespie: No, I really don t. 

Ongerth: Of course it would have been very logical for the Bureau to 
be promoting something like that trying to get it going. 
You spoke of having gone East. Did you attend regularly 
each year the meetings of the Conference of State Sanitary 
Engineers? 

Gillespie: No, not every year, but I was also a member of the Society 
of Civil Engineers and they would pay my way, see? So I d 
go East for those things... 

Ongerth: You say the A.S.C.E. would pay your way? 

Gilespie: Yes. 

Ongerth: Well, you must have been an officer, or something then. 

Gillespie: Well, I was (laughter) an officer. 

Ongerth: I think we d better go, Mrs. Chall. 

Chall: Yes, I think we ve done well with the interview. 



37a 



An. i - ^r^ ^7 ^" ^j i ^ T * 

Tour. Chance. To HeJp! j 

ay- Nov. 19, is -National 
p, sponsored- by Kiwani? i 



The Banning Kiv/anis Club ; 
nas arranged for an- &a -day sale 
"f . red apples, to be carried al 
by the boys and girts of Banning 
Entire proceeds will go to th* 
PJs- -welfare ^und, to Jt* used 
\ the ,y.e8t%to r jna|ee^ 
happier and to 



hgjp 
* 4 fot 




.. 
a * y ^"a lads will help 

, you -want to do your 



:.part. 

So, b* on hand before 9 o clock 
aturday morning, at the vacant 
lot north of the postoffice and 

,. ,..^.^. Hendricks Market, where the- 

?K* is your oppftrti:- K**JS*? i **;wiJl start. 



on Saturday. 



The committee wants every 
youngster in Banning to ride a 

Dike or Tnarr->i in +Vm __j_ 



*ti Jk^fiuJJIliJg U 

or march in the parade.! 
Streameis wlU be ftanfahed 



i th* 



with you: 



e ansed to 

/ 1 1 *" witho "t charge. 
l you ned to b 



box 



.A Hftle .-can (sot a jar) to! 
hold the coins you take inT 
3. Your lunch, if desired. 



ish to march. 

At the end trf the day the Jsoy 
and gl rl who have collected the 
most money wiQ be crowned 

of Banning s 



Mayor Chester Hendrkks has 

e5 ffl S a ^ Proclamation 
Saturday, Nov. 19. u 

m ^nning- 

a sue- 



about it 



-- 
toe kid* at play." 

The other kids and the grown 
ups of Banning will be looking 
for yott.Jn the parade Saturday 
morning, 

Furtha- particulars on Page 2, 
Section 2. of thii newspaper. 



38 



INDEX - CHESTER G. GILLESPIE 



Bachmann, Frank, 7, 8, 23, 35 
Beck, Dorothy, 25 
Bovard, Paul, 11 



Deberard, Wilfred, 32 
DeMartini, Frank, 22-23, 2k 
Derby, Ray, 2k 
Dickie, Walter M., 25-26 
Doman, Joseph, 8, 23 

East Bay Municipal Utility District, 20-21 
Ebright, George G., 3 

Foster, Herbert, Jr., lk, 23, 3!* 
Fuller, George W., 3, k, 30 

Geiger, J. C., 6, 25, 2? 

Goudey, Ray, 22, 23, 2i|, 25-26, 27-29, 30 

Gray, Harold, 32-33 

Halverson, Wilton L., 33 

Harmon, Jud, 22-23, 27, 35 

Havens, Frank, 19 

Herb, Cornelius, l6 

Hetch-Hetchy, 20 

Hilscher, Ralph, 7, 8, lU, 23 

Hyde, Charles Oilman, 1, 2, U, 7, 9, 12, 21, 30, 36 

Imhoff, Karl, 31 

Jenks, Harry, 15 -16 
Johnson, Hiram, 3 

Langelier, Wilfred F., 7 
McLaren, John, 13 

Pearse, Langdon W., k, 32 
Permits, 8-10, 11, 13 
Pracy, George W., 36 

Reinke, Ed, lU, 23, 2k, 37 
Sanchis, Joseph M., 2k 



39 



Sanitary Surveys, 1930, 23 
Schussler, Hermann, 18, 20 
Self -purification, k 
Sewer farm regulations, 3^ 
Spence, Louis, 31 
Stevens, Ida May, 6, 7, 25 

Wheeler, Benjamin Ide, 2 
Whipple, George, 30 



Malca Chall 



Graduated from Reed College in 1942 with a B.A. 
degree, and from the State University of Iowa in 
1943 with an M.A. degree in Political Science. 

Wage Rate Analyst with the Twelfth Regional War 
Labor Board, 1943-1945, specializing in agricul 
ture and services. Research and writing in the 
New York public relations firm of Edward L. 
Bernays, 1946-1947, and research and statistics 
for the Oakland Area Community Chest and Council 
of Social Agencies 1948-1951 

Active in community affairs as a director and 
past president of the League of Women Voters of 
the Hayward Area specializing in state and local 
government; on county-wide committees in the 
field of mental health; on electioji campaign 
committees for school tax and bond measures, and 
candidates for school board and state legislature. 

Employed in 1967 by the Regional Oral History 
Office interviewing in fields of agriculture and 
Jewish community history.