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Male, Ireland/US, born 1855-09-11, died 1935-07-22

Professional History

Sailor, Merchant Marine, Atlantic routes, 1870-1872.

O'Connell School by the Christian Brothers in Dublin


Coursework, O'Connell School, Dublin, Ireland. He left school at age 15 and joined the merchant marine, following a beating by his father over bad grades.


Born in Belfast, Ireland, William Mulholland lived there only a few years before his parents, Dubliners by birth, moved back to their hometown. William worked as a sailor, sailing the Atlantic between 1870-1872. He settled in Los Angeles, CA, by 1877.

He was born to Hugh, a guard for the post office, and Ellen Mulholland, who died in 1862. Hugh Mulholland, Sr., remarried in 1865. William had a younger brother, Hugh, Jr, (born 1856).

Mulholland joined the City of Los Angeles, Department of Water and Power, in 1886, and became the chief designer of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, the structure that brought water to Southern California from the Owens Valley; Mulholland came to Los Angeles in 1878 by way of Michigan and San Francisco; when he came to Los Angeles, he labored as a ditch digger for a private water company; having educated himself as a civil engineer, Mulholland took over as the Superintendant of the Department of Water and Power within eight years; he held this very powerful position until his forced retirement in 1928, just following the collapse of the Saint Francis Dam on 03/12/1928, causing one of the worst civil engineering failures of the 20th century.

Associated Locations

  • Belfast, Ireland (Architect's Birth)
    Belfast, Ireland

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    Belfast covers portions of County Antrim and County Down.

  • Los Angeles, CA (Architect's Death)
    Los Angeles, CA

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PCAD id: 945