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Drinketh temple.

Merced Manor Reservoir: Drinketh Temple

Field review by the editors.

San Francisco, California

In 1912, San Francisco's Water Department built a temple.

Drinketh temple.

Part of a vast system moving water from the mountains east to thirsty city dwellers, a large, windowless 1-story building houses the older central pumping station. From the outside it appears it might be a funerary treasure vault, a Tomb of the Cool Refreshment Gods.

The central pumps station is in a residential neighborhood, and the exterior is convenient to examine. The classical design by Willis Polk (N.A. Eckhart was water dept. chief engineer and general manager) features corner fountains with green monster fish and Neptune's trident. Over the public-not-invited entrance door there's an allegorical sculpture depicting goddesses of the harvest, two eagles, a bison, and an Old Testament high priest with an urn for a body.

Fish fountain.

A lofty inscription is chiseled across the building's face: "But the Land Whither Ye Go to Possess It, Is a Land of Hills and Valleys, and Drinketh Water of the Rain of Heaven."(source uncredited on the wall, but who doesn't know Deuteronomy 11:11?).

Ancient God Tongue suggests that without the actions of the municipal water department, everything would dry up and blow away. Water is heaven-sent -- all we need is a complicated system of hundreds of miles of pipes and pumps to drinketh in plentitude.

Right over the door: "Let Thy Fountains Be Dispersed Abroad and Rivers of Waters in the Streets," from Proverbs 5:16. Important rationalization of the historic resource grab -- cities need that water.

Around the back of the building is the asphalt and concrete covered 9.6 million gallon Merced Manor Reservoir, with a lavish staircase up to the Valve House.

The Merced Manor Reservoir was one of several ostentatious constructions in the municipal water system. Don't miss the Sunol Water Temple and Pulgas Water Temple!

Also see: Water: Wonder Temples and Miracle Springs

Merced Manor Reservoir: Drinketh Temple

Merced Manor Reservoir

2920 23rd Ave., San Francisco, CA
Sloat Blvd between 22nd and 23rd Ave.
Exterior visible. Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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