Merced County Times Newspaper
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Building The County’s Canals

MID: CELEBRATING 100 YEARS

Fresno ‘scrapers’ work on the Livingston Canal in this historic photo from the Merced County Courthouse Museum.
Fresno ‘scrapers’ work on the Livingston Canal in this historic photo from the Merced County Courthouse Museum.

Charles Henry Huffman and Charles Crocker organized Merced Canal & Irrigation Company in 1882.

Huffman came to Merced in the late 1860s and became interested in farming. He accumulated a large amount of land in the Merced area and worked as a railroad agent to bring the Central Pacific Railroad through his land in Merced.

As a business partner of railroad magnate Charles Crocker, he undertook a comprehensive irrigation project after acquiring the Farmers’ Canal Company in 1882. Under Huffman’s direction, the Merced Irrigation enlarged the original canal and Tunnel #1, extended Main Canal, built Tunnel #2, and constructed Lake Yosemite Reservoir which supplied water to the City of Merced.

When Lake Yosemite was completed in 1888, the Crocker-Huffman Land & Water Company replaced Merced Canal & Irrigation Company.

The Times is publishing historical photos and information about the development of irrigation systems, and the growth of the Merced Irrigation District. The district and the Merced County Historical Society are planning a community celebration and exhibit in recognition of MID’s 100-year Anniversary on Nov. 7. The date coincides with the formation of the District: MID was established in November 1919. More information can be found online at: MIDisThere.com or mercedmuseum.org.

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