Shortly before midnight on March 12, 1928, carpenter Ace Hopewell piloted his motorcycle up the twisting San Francisquito Canyon Road north of Saugas, about fifty miles north of Los Angeles. Through the scrub on his left, he had a moment's view of the St. Francis Dam, a looming 700-foot-wide concrete monolith, then he was into a curve and all he had was the roadway in his headlamp. He came out of the curve into a straightaway where he ordinarily would have opened the throttle, but he felt a sudden shaking - perhaps something going wrong with his engine - and instead he slowed. He was living in a construction camp next to Los Angeles Water Bureau Power Plant #1, just a few minutes' ride ahead, and there was no hurry. It was a typically cool but clear mountain night in Southern California - maybe it was a good time for a smoke.
From Water to the Angels: William Mulholland, His Monumental Aqueduct, and the Rise of Los Angeles by Lee Standiford