The Zanja Madre

The Zanja Madre, or "Mother Ditch," is the original aqueduct that brought water to El Pueblo from the Los Angeles River. Built in 1781, the zanja pumped water from the river using a water wheel, sending it into brick pipes that lead to the center of La Placita Olvera. The remains of the Zanja where uncovered in the 1970s by archeologist Julia Costella and can be seen sitting just behind a fence in the Los Angeles State Historic Park.

More resources:

  • Explore L.A. State Historic Park with our Field Guides
  • History and Future of L.A. State Historic Park
  • Map of the Zanja Madre, 1868

  • Explore the related interactive mural


    North Broadway Bridge


    The Los Angeles State Historic Park

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