LA Observed photo of the Alabama Spillway on the Los Angeles Aqueduct in the Owens Valley.
Mark Berry was 17 when he and a friend stole some dynamite and, in Sept. 1976, blew up the Alabama Hills gate on the Los Angeles Aqueduct in the Owens Valley. He did some minor juvenile penance and now works for the DWP. The agency didn't know his background until told by an LA Times reporter. Berry opened up about it with Louis Sahagun in today's Column One in the Times. Excerpt:
Mention the name Mark Berry to old-timers at Jake's Saloon in Lone Pine and you get winks and knowing smiles.
His treacherous exploit has been whispered around the Owens Valley for nearly four decades, though Berry never talked much about it with anyone.
On a warm autumn afternoon recently, Berry settled into a lawn chair under a massive shade tree behind his home in the eastern Sierra. He took a deep breath and told a story few know the truth about.
"It wasn't a planned deal," said Berry, now 54. "I was an impressionable kid at the time, just 17."