L.A. Aqueduct Centennial 2013

A 52-Mule Team at Jawbone Canyon

Categories: Moments In Eastern Sierra History

Over the years, Aqueduct construction crews set many records, but perhaps the most significant accomplishment of all was the transporting and installation of sections of heavy one-inch thick steel casing to the bottom of the Jawbone Canyon siphon, some 20 miles north of Mojave.

Several sections of pipe, 36-feet long and weighing 26 tons apiece, were shipped by rail to the Jawbone headquarters at Cinco. The pipe was then hauled the last four miles up the canyon by two specially rigged mule teams handled by the most experienced drivers in the country.  Each team pulled a pair of large, reinforced flat-bed wagons supported by steel wheels with tires two feet wide.  Each pair of wagons was pulled by 52 mules consisting of three parallel “jerk lines” of 16 mules each, plus a pair of lead mules stationed at the head and two “wheelers” at the wagon tongue.

The total weight of that “most noteworthy pipe in the United States” at Jawbone Canyon, was more than 3,200 tons.

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