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History- Love Creek Water Elevator


By Lisa Robinson
In 1901, John Armstrong of Santa Cruz patented an automatic water-elevator. The device used a small amount of water with considerable fall, to move a portion of that water to a higher elevation.
A tower would be erected in a gulch where the top of the tower would be around five
feet below a spring. Water was piped to the top of the tower and allowed to fall into
buckets attached to an endless chain. When the buckets were full, about every four minutes, the chain moved, setting the pump to work for one min ute forcing the water
upwards to its destination. Advertisements for the elevator boasted it could raise water up to 450 feet.
One of the first to be installed was on Love Creek, Ben Lomo nd for Martha Hume.
Her home was 400 feet above the creek and she had no conve nient way of getting water to the house. It was highly successful. Sadly, it was vandalized two years later
when someone with a sharp hatchet cut and destroyed all the buckets on the machine.
A second elevator was installed for her in 1904, which raised water 523 feet.
The elevators were manufactured by Joseph Harveston at the Lukens Carriage Works
in Santa Cruz. In 1904, Harveston installed one in the San Lorenzo River at Boulder
Creek for farmer Conrad Shroeder. Shroeder had tried using a rotary pump driven by an undershot water wheel without success.
“He got out of patience…and now gets all the water he needs.”
The elevator raised a one and a half inch stream of water to irrigate Shroeder’s land, which was around 200 feet above the river.
In 1905, the new Harveston & Lukens Automatic Water Elevator was awarded first prize at the State Fair. Another device, a hydraulic ram pump, was also used to move water uphill. The pump used the energy of a large amount of water flowing down hill to move a small amount of water up hill, to a much greater height. Two such pumps ca n be seen on exhibition, with an explanation of how they work, at the San Lorenzo Valley Museum
In 1905 a poem was written for the Santa Cruz Sentinel:
The Water Elevator
by Ella J. Collar
Way down a steep flight
And quite out of sight,
There’s a magical mill,
Built under the hill,
And run by a stream,
Without any steam.
It runs day and night
By the same silent might,
And through a deep gorge,
Shut out from the light,
It seldom murmurs
Of its lonely plight.
A grander machine
The world never seen;
‘Tis like a rare jewel
In a crown that was set,
Although never wore,
It shines ever more.
Thus the glory of the pump,
Its true worth unseen,
Except by the trickle
Of the ascending stream,
Its true value is known
In the stream that is thrown
To the tank far above
In the broad light of day,
Silent but constant
It forces its way,
And giving full credit
To the mill that just had it.

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