Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wednesday Search Challenge (12/5/12): Why is this blank spot so special?

The other day I was out riding my bike from one Google building to another and came across this rather odd looking, empty field.  It’s not a park, it’s not a business, it’s not an as-yet-undeveloped tract…it’s just… blank! 

Given that land prices in Silicon Valley are sky high (this is a place where rental costs are figured in dollars/square foot!), it struck me as strange that this place would be so unused. 

Question for today:  Where is this blank spot and why is it blank?  (I'm looking for the street address.)    
For extra credit, can you say what physical connection this place has with the Sierras and 37.48309, -122.31522 ?? 
And… for the gold:  What on earth does John Muir have to do with this blank spot in Silicon Valley?
As usual, please let us know HOW you figured this one out (what was your process—let us know so we can all learn from your brilliant search skillz).  AND… HOW LONG did it take you to figure this out? 

Search on! 


  1. Hi, this is what i did and the result i got to.

    Google "John Muir", in the right side you will see he was a Naturalist and an early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States.

    So, I think that space contain some rare species of weeds/trees or something like this.

    Good day ;)

  2. Anne and Deb from Morristown think we have the answer. The address is 450 S. Whisman Rd. in Mountain View. It is blank because it is owned by the San Francisco Public Utilities Comm. They are the ones who created the dam in the Hetch Hetchy area of the Sierras to bring water to the San Francisco Bay Area after the 1906 earthquake. They built the Pulgas Water Temple (the lat/longitude that was given)as a tribute to the project.
    John Muir opposed the building of this dam.
    Took us working together over 30 mins. Anne was somewhat familiar with the area so that helped. We looked at the picture closely and saw the sign for the Hetch Hetchy Trail. We looked that up on google maps. Then we looked up the latitutde and longitude on google maps and foudn the Pulgas Water Temple. Then we did searches on Google for Hetch Hetchy Trail history. We found an article about opposition to a development project at this site which gave us the exact address. We tried a number of searches but that search gave us several articles which helped.

  3. Address is approx. 420 N. Whisman Road (building across the street and a little to the north is no. 425)

    Property in question is "blank" because it's part of the right-of-way for the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct (though the pipeline itself is evidently some miles away to the north)

    37.48309, -122.31522 is the location of the Pulgas Water Temple at the aqueduct's terminus.

    John Muir led the Sierra club's fight against damming the Hetch Hetchy valley beginning in 1906.

    Time: 25 minutes

    1. Clicked the street view photo to bring up a larger image; "Hetch Hetchy Trail" is visible on the sign at the far left. Probable this is Mountain View since it's close to the Google campus.

    2. Google Maps search for "Hetch Hetchy Trail Mountain View" brings up the location of the property

    3. Right click the map at the foot of the property-->What's here-->street view brings the same image as above w/approximate address 438-456 N Whisman Rd

    4. Rotate in Street view to view number on building across the street and a little to the north, no. 425 suggests the address for the blank property is an even number and a little lower- I guessed 420.

    5. Extra credit: search 37.48309, -122.31522 in Google Maps, which indicates location is Pulgas Water Temple; Found Wikipedia article for Pulgas Water Temple

    6. Gold: Google Search for "Hetch Hetchy Muir" bring up Wikipedia article for Hetch Hetchy Valley- History section of the article outlines Muir's role.

  4. The address is: 455 North Whisman Road, Mountain View, CA. It's on the Hetch Hetchy Trail, which is part of the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct and Resevoir system. John Muir opposed the Aqueduct because he believed it would ruin the Hetch Hetchy Valley--aka the second Yosemite. The coordinates relate to the Pulgas Water Temple which is the terminus of the Aqueduct.

    This search was difficult. I searched the coordinates first and found the Pulgas Water Temple, which led me to the information about Hetch Hetchy. I then googled John Muir and Hetch Hetchy. I then tried to google image the picture but nothing. I looked at the picture closely and discovered that it had a sign saying Hetch Hetchly Trail Mountain View. I googled mapped that Trail and then looked at a street view of each intersection of city streets with the Trail. I still can't figure out why the site is special.

  5. I began with the most concrete piece of information, the coordinates. A simple Google search gave me the Pulgas Water Temple, which gave me the Hetch Hetchy aqueduct. So, I searched Hetch Hetchy and John Muir and learned that he opposed the construction of the dam ("Damn Hetch Hetchy!").

    After that I looked at the photo a little more closely. The Hetch Hetchy sign is obvious. And the post states that this is near enough Google's complex to be seen by an employee on bicycle. So, a search of "Hetch Hetchy Trail, Mountain View, Ca" in Google maps got me to the same location in street view, with the (approximate) address of 455 North Whisman Rd. Finally, the City of Mountain View website explains, that "landscaping generally consists of native low-lying plant material, except the section between Tyrella Avenue and North Whisman Road which includes landscaping meeting the requirements of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission." That's our "blank space".

    About 4 and a half minutes.

  6. 1. North Whisman Road, Mountain View, California / It's a bike and hicking trail

    2.Geo Coordinantes and the Hetch htechy trail connects to HETCH HETCHY DAM that is a water resoervoir for SFO

    3. John Muir discovered Hetch hetchy valley in 1871 and was part of a movement to preserve the integrity of it

  7. 1. Hetch Hetchy Trail / North Whisman Road, Mountain View, United States

    2. The Pulgas Water Temple commemorates the 1934 completion of the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct. San Francisco and surrounding communities get water from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir approximately 160 miles away via the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct.

    3. After a years-long battle against the dam, led by John Muir, the dam was approved under the administration of Woodrow Wilson in 1913 and was completed in 1923.

    It took about 15 minutes after clicking on the photo in order to be able to read the sign on the left. At first I tried to read it via "control"+ "two finger enlarge" but it was too fuzzy to be able to read. Then I went to Google maps to search for: "hetch hetchy trail mountain view." I entered the coordinates into Google Maps and zoomed out to see the Pulgas Water Temple. From there I went to Wikipedia to find the last two answers. As one can see, the last two answers were pasted from Wikipedia to save time.

    As a graduate of the last Power Search class, it is a pleasure to practice and polish my search skills post completion of the program.

  8. Okay, so finding the location was easy enough, but why it is there was a little bit more tricky for me.

    I did a Google Maps search for the Hetch Hetchy Trail (which is visible on the picture). That led me to the Hetch Hetchy Trail in Mountain View, California. I want to saw the exact address is 455 North Whisman Road but a search shows that there is a law office located there. Looking closer at the map and a few houses down, I see that one of the houses is 460, so this lot belongs on the even-numbered side, so my guess is 460 N. Whisman.

    Okay, so I have what i believe is the address, but why is that lot bare. Looking at the ariel view, you can see a track of sorts but that doesn't give me any real help. I do a few different searches but can't really find any information. I then do a search for [hetch hetchy trail whisman]. I come across a link to an old LiveJournal account that talks about Mountain View ( In it, someone mentions that there used to be a nursery there but it was being forced off the land. They also provide a link ( talking about the eviction. Apparently, the city wants to building housing there but I can't confirm this.

    Extra credit: Hmm, not sure if this is right, but we'll see. A search of the coordinates you provided led to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Along my search for the Hetch Hetchy Trail, I came across some info on the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct, which seems to be connected with the Sierras and the Golden Gate Recreation Area, although I'm not exactly sure how. I can't even remember what I did to find this anymore.

    Lastly, I did a search for [John Muir Hetch Hetchy] and got quite a few hits. I liked this the most ( After the 1906 earthquake, the government wanted to dam up the Hetch Hetchy Valley for water. Muir fought against it but ultimately lost the battle. The result was the aqueduct system that runs under the trail/old nursery.

    I spent a good 30-45 minutes on this, reading tons of info, going down dead ends, reading all sorts of extra information.


  9. The photo is of the Hetch Hetchy Trailhead in Mountain View, CA. The unimproved land adjacent to the trail is an easement for the right of way of the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct. The aqueduct runs from the man made Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite Nat’l Park in the Sierra Mountains. The reservoir and dam associated with it generates the electricity and water supply for 2.5 million people in the San Francisco Bay area.

    John Muir, the founder of the Sierra Club, fought against the project in the 1920’s, but ultimately lost due to an act of Congress prompted by the city of San Francisco. The coordinates 37.48309, -122.31522 are the location of the Pulgas Water Temple which was built in 1934 to commemorate the completion of the aqueduct.

    The trail head sign and knowledge of it being located in the Silicon Valley were the start of my search. Search results for Hetch Hetchy also returned hits for the aqueduct and the reservoir which led me to several news articles about the whole project and its history. Tying everything together at that point was easy. Total time 20-25 minutes.

  10. Because I lived in Northern California for ten years, near the home of John Muir, I had a pretty good idea of what the answer might be when I saw the Hetch Hetchy Trail sign. I Googled that phrase, but found nothing, but since it looked like a bike trail I Googled bike trail mountain view CA and this took me to the City website where the Hetch Hetchy Trail was listed.

    Found a map of the trail on the City of Mountain view website and then located it by searching for Whisman school in Google maps to find the trail. By moving around the trail in street view I located the picture which said it was 455 North Whisman Road.

    The Parks Division is responsible for the protection and maintenance of 32 urban parks and 4.0 miles of bicycle and pedestrian trails along Stevens Creek, Permanente Creek and the Hetch-Hetchy Right-of-Way.

    The Hetch-Hetchy Trail creates a neighborhood connection from the Middlefield Light Rail Station to the Stevens Creek Trail. The Hetch-Hetchy Trail also provides off-street bicycle and pedestrian commuter access to the Ellis-Middlefield employment area and off-street recreation access to the Stevens Creek Trail and open space facilities connected to the trail, including Whisman Park, Creekside Park, Landels School and Park and Shoreline at Mountain View. The trail also enhances the visual appearance of the neighborhood and provides linear open space suitable for walking, jogging and bicycling.
    Trail improvements include a 10' wide paved trail with 2' shoulders, a fence separating a local nursery from the trail, a good neighbor fence where the trail abuts residential property and landscaping and irrigation. Landscaping generally consists of native low-lying plant material, except the section between Tyrella Avenue and North Whisman Road which includes landscaping meeting the requirements of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. The trail crossings at Easy Street and Tyrella Avenue incorporate raised crosswalks to create more visible pedestrian and bicyclist crossings. At Whisman Road, the project includes a pedestrian traffic signal. On the Whisman Park side of Easy Street, the project includes a new section of asphalt pathway to provide a smooth transition from the trail to the existing parkway. The trail is approximately .4 mile from Whisman Park to North Whisman Road.

    Googled the numbers and found

    Pulgas Water Temple a “monument to the engineering marvel that brought Hetch Hetchy water more than 160 miles . . to the Bay Area”

    John Muir opposed the Hetch Hetchy project because he did not want this wilderness area destroyed by flooding the Hetch Hetchy Valley.

    Here is a link to the Sierra Club website with his essay on the subject:

    In all it took me about 45 minutes. Never heard of the Pulgas Water Temple before - I will try to visit it sometime.

  11. Almost forgot...the address is 455 N Whisman Rd, Mountain View, CA

  12. This vacant lot is adjacent to the Hetch Hetchy trailhead at 455 North Whisman Road, Mountain View. I found this by typing "Hetch Hetchy" "Mountain View" into Google Maps and then repositioning to the nearest paved road before switching to Street View. (3 min)

    Using these same key words in a simple Google Search took me to an information page hosted at, which alluded to control of the land by the San Francisco Utilities Commission. Simple searches about the commission and Hetchy confirmed that this land is subject to a aqueduct right-of-way. I ran a site specific search at to confirm my findings in a local staff report, which alludes to a proposal to build a bike trail or park on the land: (11 min)

    Per Wikipedia, the physical connection to the GPS coordinates is that both sit along the same Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct. The structure at the coordinates (Pulgas Water Temple) was erected to commemorate the completion of the aqueduct. (1 min)

    Per Wikipedia, John Muir was a preservationist who (unsuccessfully) opposed the damming of the Hetch Hetchy Valley, which is the source of the water transported by the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct. (1 min)

  13. -A quick search for "Hetch Hetchy Trail" (from zooming in on the photo)in Mountain View (because you were walking near the Googleplex) yields approx. 455 North Whisman Road (less than 1 minute)

    -Tossing the Lat-Lon into Google brought me to the Pulgas Water Temple, which Wikipedia told me was a monument placed at the terminus of the Hetch Hetchy Aquaduct system, which I have to assume the trail is a remnant of. Knowing what little I do of the Bay area, the historic map I found while Wiki-surfing seems to show the Aquaduct running through the Mountain View area (around 4 minutes).

    -Here's where I cheat. I know for a fact (because I'm a National Park Ranger) that Muir's crusade to save Yosemite was spurred on by the damage the Hetch Hetchy project stood to do to the Yosemite Valley via the O'Shaughnessy Dam.

    But to find that organically, it only takes surfing through the Wiki entries from Pulgas Water Temple to Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct (which I already clicked to find the map) and wandering into Yosemite National Park or O'Shaughnessy Dam from there. Alternately, searching "John Muir" and "Hetch Hetchy" gets you a nice piece from GMU (approx 5 minutes, but I knew where to look so YMMV).

  14. 1) 455 North Whisman Road, Mountain View, CA

    2) pulgas water temple is a monument celebrating the completion of the hetch hetchy aqueduct

    3) hetch hetchy aqueduct runs below. John Muir and the sierra club protested the damming of Hetch Hetchy valley in Yosemite.

    5 minutes. from the coordinates found pulgas, then hetch hetchy then noticed the sign, then "hetch hetchy trail" and found address on map. Then "hetch hetchy muir" to wikipedia.

  15. Good Day! Dr. Daniel!


    Zoom picture: Hetch * trail [Hetch trail] on images Found: This is the other end of the Hetch Hetchy Trail at N. Whisman Road.

    [ Hetch Hetchy Trail, Mountain View, CA, United States] There looked fo N Whisman entry

    [mountain view hetch hetchy trail empty space] Found:

    Mountain View Online : Hetch Hetchy housing standoff


    [37.48309, -122.31522 ]

    Found: Pulgas Water temple. Cañada Road. Redwood city usa . Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Redwood City, CA 94062

    [John Muir]



    Where is this blank spot and why is it blank?
    A:450 North Whisman Road, Mountain View, United States

    For extra credit, can you say what physical connection this place has with the Sierras and 37.48309, -122.31522 ??
    A: Hetchy Hetch project. Dam. The place has the name of the Hetchy Hetch valley.

    And… for the gold: What on earth does John Muir have to do with this blank spot in Silicon Valley?
    A: Muir passionately opposed the damming of Hetch Hetchy Valley

  16. 231 N Whisman road. I found that the Hetch Hetchy trail runs along the Hetch Hetchy pipeline easement, so I'm assuming that's why it's "blank." Also, the low round thingies are probably access ports for the pipeline.

    The coordinates you gave are for the Pulgas Water Temple, which was erected to celebrate the completion of the Hetch Hetchy aqueduct, where the water in the pipeline comes from. I believe the water used to flow through the Temple.

    John Muir opposed the damming project which created the aqueduct.

    Took about 30 minutes. Had trouble getting started, but once I saw the Hetch Hetchy Trail sign in the picture, it all flowed. First I found the Hetch Hetchy Trail on Google earth and verified the location. I got the address from the City of Mountain View website. Then I searched [Hetch Hetchy Trail Whisman road] and found picture on the Stevens Creek Trail website which mentioned the pipeline access ports and easement. I searched Hetch Hetchy easement to verify this information and found a Wikipedia article about the Hetch Hetchy aqueduct.
    Next I entered the coordinates you gave into Google earth and found the Pulgas Water Temlple. I searched for that and found the connection in a Wikipedia article. That article linked to an article on the O'Shaughnessy Dam, which linked to a memo by John Muir opposing the project.

  17. This lot is across the street from 455 North Whisman Road, Mountain View, CA 94043. It is an access to a large vacant lot in the midst of Mountain View City. The shape and position oif the lot looks like it might be a reservoir of some sort. There are circles on the ground beside the Hetch Hetchy Trail that look intriguing. Underground is a water storage facility. There was a running track on the land at one time.
    Water runs from the Pulgas Water Temple channeling the flow from the Sierras to the City.

  18. In my first post I forgot to write why the space is blank. The answer: The Neighborhood Association, wants: A maximum height of nearby 2-story homes, a minimum of 25 feet between buildings, and an overall lower density that reflects the buildable land (which is only 55% of the parcel's 6.4 acres.)

  19. I found this to be an interesting challenge. I started by enlarging the picture to read the trail head sign. I read it as "City of Washington Heights Hetch Hetchy trail" and when I entered that in as a Google search term, I got results for Mountain Heights. I realized this was the correct town, and used found a city hall site ( that included a map of the area. I used the address on the map to switch to Google Maps where I searched for Tyrella Ave. I could see that wasn't right, so I followed the trail, on the map to the next intersection. I found this was the right one- the empty space was on North Whisman Road, somewhere around 455. I then realized I'd spent 15 minutes on this and I needed to get back to my other work, so that's as far as I got.

  20. This search has lots of good hints.
    First I looked at the picture and thought that must be close to your office because you rode your bike there. So you are in Mountain View close to the Googleplex.
    Then I looked at your big hint of:
    “For extra credit, can you say what physical connection this place has with the Sierras and 37.48309, -122.31522?”
    So cut and paste those coordinates into Google maps because that looks like latitude and longitude.
    It is “The Pulgas Water Temple” and looked that up in a regular Google search.
    From Wiki:
    “The Pulgas Water Temple is a stone structure in Woodside, California, USA, designed by architect William G. Merchant. It was erected by the San Francisco Water Department to commemorate the 1934 completion of the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct and is located at the aqueduct's terminus.”

    I think I have it. Your picture might be of a part of the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct. That is the major source of drinking water for the San Francisco area; water is taken from the Sierras and flows through a 160 mile aqueduct to supply San Francisco.

    I went back to the picture to look more carefully and I missed the big clue on the sign to the left of the “odd looking, empty field” that says Hetch Hetchy Trail.

    Used Google Maps and looked at areas on the satellite map and found the exact place in street view using [Hetch Hetchy Trail and Mountainview]. It is on North Whisman Road about ¼ block from corner of N Whisman and Walker Drive. You want the address. Hmm, I can give you the Lat and Long 37.400600, -122.058422, but the address? If I go to street view I might see something. Maybe 455 North Whisman Road? I then looked at a home on that side of the street I see it is an even number so I think it is 456 North Whisman Road, Mountain View, Ca. Lots of looking with street view to try to narrow down the address.

    I now think I know where and what it is. It is the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct, and the address is as above. Why is it an open field? There is an aqueduct under that empty field.

    The connection to the Pulgas Water Temple is that the temple marks the end of the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct and the water comes from a large man made lake in the Sierras that was and still is very controversial.
    John Muir fought to stop the making of this dam. If you Google John Muir and Hetch Hetchy, one of the sites discusses this ( ):
    “ . . . but he argued against the Hetch Hetchy plan in this excerpt from his 1912 book, The Yosemite.” And one section of his book states,
    “Sad to say, this most precious and sublime feature of the Yosemite National Park, one of the greatest of all our natural resources for the uplifting joy and peace and health of the people, is in danger of being dammed and made into a reservoir to help supply San Francisco with water and light, thus flooding it from wall to wall and burying its gardens and groves one or two hundred feet deep.”

    Actual time searching was about an hour with most of it spent trying to find the exact address. (I hope)

    1. GRayR - if your search didn't take you past this, you might be interested, given your engineering interests -
      Shimmick BDP #3&4
      John Shimmick profile


      there seems to be some concern about this part of the HH/Bay Division Pipeline crossing the Hayward Fault -
      see this link - the upgrades and seismic preemptive construction seems to be a positive move for the Bay area...
      only time and the inevitable disaster/quake will tell.

  21. I'm going with 450 N. Whisman Road and that the connection to the Sierras is that it is next to the Hetch Hetchy bike trail (named after the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite) btw, nice way to get around the Plex!
    and I'm getting creative here, for the pyrite - the connection to Muir is the wagon wheel
    ... the wagon wheel played a key role in the events that led Muir to Yosemite (& and his failed attempt to save the HH valley), the development of the Silicon Valley - see Walker's Wagon Wheel restaurant and the community group - Wagon Wheel
    Neighborhood Association - that stopped the development of the area in the photo.

    Computer History Museum

    page 10 Wagon Wheel group

    from Wikipedia:
    Muir returned to the United States in March 1866, winding up in Indianapolis to work as a sawyer in a factory that made wagon wheels; he was paid $22 a week. He proved valuable to his employers because of his inventiveness in improving the machines and processes. In early March 1867, an accident changed the course of his life: a tool he was using slipped and struck him in the eye. He was confined to a darkened room for six weeks, worried whether he’d ever regain his sight. When he did, "he saw the world—and his purpose—in a new light," writes Marquis. Muir later wrote, "This affliction has driven me to the sweet fields. God has to nearly kill us sometimes, to teach us lessons."[11] From that point on, he determined to "be true to myself" and follow his dream of exploration and study of plants

    regarding how & how long - couldn't make the sign out in the photo definitively, but checked the Mountain View trail sites & guessed the name...
    off to maps for the entry point of the trail, then street view to confirm...
    then did some random, general searches on Hetch Hetchy trail & Muir.
    how long - hard to say, this was one I had to leave multiple times and try to come back to with fresh eyes & approaches... the short answer would be too long and just long enough.

    1. I like this answer. I was not absolutely sure that you could not build on the aqueduct, but it seems they can. And the wagon wheel connection is fascinating. Now I want to see if all my walking around in street view to get what seems like the address is OK. It seems not.

      I really like when people explain what they are thinking to do a search. It is the process of searching that is fun and helps me to learn. Good work to Remmij and to Ramon, and to all of you.

      I started these searching exercises trying to do it fast. Now I enjoy the trip and reading about how others research.

    2. I like the clever connection too. (But it's not what I was thinking of. However, Remmij gets extra credit for the most creative solution!)

  22. forgot to mention that, irony of ironies, the Sierra Club supported the housing development proposal for that tract which caused dissension in their ranks.
    and kudos to everyone who was able to read the Hetch sign by zooming the picture - your eyes are better than mine.
    Impressed that Ramón nailed it - nice job.

    (from April, 2008)
    Meanwhile, the project has
    gained the support of some environmentalists,
    including the Sierra
    Club and the Greenbelt Alliance.

    “One resident near the proposed
    development, who seems otherwise
    environmentally oriented,
    told me he quit the Sierra Club
    over its support of the project —
    he did not want anyone promoting
    any development of housing
    that differed from his own fulllot-
    sized conventional detached
    single-family home, preferably
    single story.”

  23. First noted "Hetch Hetchy Trail in the photo and located it in Google map of Mountain View. No answer in street view of the lot. Then found this by searching for "The Hetch Hetchy right-of-way is owned by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and runs east-west through the city for 3.57 miles, along the path of the Hetch Hetchy aqueduct. To make servicing the massive underground aqueduct possible, no buildings may be built on top of it." - Mountain View Voice Sept 2007.

    The location 37.48309, -122.31522 turns out to be the site of the Plugas water temple built to celebrate the completion of the Hetch Hetchy project to bring fresh drinking water 160 miles from Hetch Hetchy flooded valley.

    Hetch Hetchy Dam was opposed by John Muir - from Wikipedia.

  24. 1. N Whisman Ave just north of Whisman Ct in Mountain View. It's undeveloped to maintain access to the Hetch Hetchy aqueduct below the ground.

    2. The aqueduct starts in the Sierras and terminates at the Crystal springs reservoir by the coordinates.

    3. John Muir advocated against damning the Hetch Hetchy valley as part of building the aqueduct system.

    Time: ~2 minutes. I saw the Hetch Hetchy Trail sign and presumed the aqueduct must be nearby. Googling 'Hetch Hetchy Trail undeveloped' yielded results confirming that land above the aqueduct is often undeveloped to maintain access. Map searching for 'hetch hetch trai mountain view' showed the trail and examining the imagery confirmed the photo's location at the east end of the trail. l I already knew the aqueduct originated in the Sierras. I mapped the coordinates and assumed the aqueduct fed Crystal Springs. A quick search for 'hetch hetchy crystal springs" confirmed this (wikipedia). A search for 'john muir hetch hetchy' revealed Muir's opposition.

  25. This was a great fun. About half an hour to suss all the answers and more to read up because it was so interesting.

    First I used Images to try a better image. I think your's was OK. I sharpened it up so I could read the sign. Aha !

    Then used Maps to get the general location

    Next told me the address 450 N Whisman; 6.4 acres owned by San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Two water lines under it provide water to San Francisco from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Sierra Nevada. It is currently empty until all the wrangling is done about what will be done there in the way of housing.

    GPS into Search and it hits Pulgas Water Temple erected in 1934 by San Francisco Water Dept to mark the completion of the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct.

    John Muir eloquently and vehemently opposed the Dam project in Hetch Hetchy Valley.

  26. This was a pretty fun search. In all it took me about 15 minutes, but that includes writing this comment.

    1) I did a Google Maps search for "Hetch Hetchy Trail", and looked at the intersection with road that runs along the Googleplex. Street view confirms that this is the correct location and gives an approximate address: 455 North Whisman Rd. The aerial view shows a fairly long field with what appears to be an old circular paved road of some kind.

    2) USGS Topos are far more informative for details like these so I checked the location on, which shows that this is the path of an aqueduct, this field might provide some sort of access. Given the name of the trail, this is likely an aqueduct from the Hetch Hetchy Reservior in the Sierras (I already knew this). The coordinates are the location of the Pulgas Water Temple (Google Maps), which was built to commemorate the completion of the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct.

    3) John Muir fought to oppose the construction of the dam that flooded Hetch Hetchy valley and created the reservoir (I knew this already).

  27. 1)455 North Whisman Road, Mountain View, United States
    2)The Hetchy-Hetchy water pipeline connects the two points, supplying water to the city of San Francisco

    I zoomed in on the picture to get the name of the trail, "hetch hetchy trail". This lead me to a google search, which took me to the City of Mountain View page on the trail, as well as a "trail link" website describing the right of way on which the trail was built. I input the hetch hetchy trail into google maps, which took me to the address listed above.

    This took me roughly five minutes to sort out.

  28. Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct (aka Bay Division Pipelines 3&4) is beneath this spot / 450 North Whisman Road, Mountain View, CA / Tuolumne River / Muir STRONGLY opposed the dam -- All that's well and good as far as it goes. But it doesn't answer why this spot is vacant. It's owned by the San Francisco Public Utility Commission, but that doesn't answer the question. The pipelines run right up the SF Peninsula to Crystal Springs Reservoirs, and the pipes generally are covered by buildings, roads, etc., everywhere else. (For example, look at the aerial maps showing residential development at the west end of the strip and commercial buildings and the Google at the east end.)

    I can't figure out why this stretch of the pipeline is vacant at the surface.

  29. I won't answer the questions because they've already been answered but I'll answer how I searched for it.

    I initially d/led the picture hoping there was exif data in there. I didn't see any but then I zoomed in and saw the Hetch Hetchy trail sign.
    A quick google of that brings up info about the trail.
    Then a click over to google maps brings a did you mean for the trail which zooms in pretty close to the start of the trail.
    From there, just looking at the top down view, there's a spot where it looks like the trail start.
    A street view of that spot confirms it and then google suggests the 455 N Whisman Road address.

    It took about 5 mins to get to that point.

  30. Other than the specific street address I only had to search my brain. But, I live in south Palo Alto about a mile from the Google Plex, and I work at Belle Haven School on Ivy Drive in eastern Menlo Park, where we suffered through the replacement of the Hetch Hetchy pipe last year. It runs down the middle of the street in front of the school, and that 'middle' is a large swath of lawn with not even a tree in the way. No major landscaping allowed on top of the pipe. There is now (still?) a group trying to get San Francisco to take out the Hetch Hetchy dam and restore the valley to it's original spendor, so that's in the news here now and then. The original objection of John Muir and others is a common theme. So, my search time was under 5 seconds. :o)

  31. Based on the rather blurry sign, I decided it had to be the Hetch Hetchy Trail, which I looked for on Google maps. I then scrolled along it in Street View and saw that the picture was from 37.400524, -122.058465 (N. Whisman Road). The trail is probably above the pipeline that brings water from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir, whose creation John Muir opposed because of the flooding of the beautiful valley. I did not bother looking up the actual pipeline routing nor the location of the Hetch Hetchy reservoir—the problem just wasn't interesting enough to take the time, and I knew all I cared to about Hetch Hetchy already..

  32. Zoomed in on the photo to see the trailhead for the Hetch Hetchy Trail in Mountain View.

    Searching for numerous iterations of something like [Hetch Hetchy Trail] I got numerous planning documents from Mountain View.

    The trail runs along the side of a spot that was once occupied by Pacific Nursery. Pacific Nursery had leased that spot for 30 years as of 2001 when they were planning the Hetch Hetchy Trail.

    The trail is on part of the Hetch Hetchy Right-of-Way. This is an underground aquaduct of sorts providing water from the Sierras (your logitude and latitude points) to San Francisco.

    The Hetch Hetchy trail is named for the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite. John Muir worked to stop the damming of the valley.

    Documents and sites used:,+-122.31522&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x808fa0341466c8f1:0x35aaf9caca753a32,%2B37%C2%B0+28'+59.10%22,+-122%C2%B0+18'+54.74%22&gl=us&ei=63_AUI7SMqeo0AGg3IGYBQ&ved=0CDEQ8gEwAA

  33. Sorry forgot this. Time spent around 90 minutes.

  34. I live in Tennessee and know very little about the area or its history. So I knew this would be a good challenge. I started with the sign. I couldn’t quite make out the words to the sign so I tried used Google for help. I was counting on Google to give me a suggestion when I got close. I could tell that the first letters of each word were either H or M. My first guess at the name on the sign was ‘hutch hutchey trail’. Google asked “Did you mean: hutch hutch trail”. That wasn’t it. Then I searched for ‘hutch hatchey trail’. Then I saw the first link for the Hetch Hetchy Trail in Mountain View, Ca.

    This page had a map of the trail. So I was quickly able to find the spot in Street View. I couldn’t find the exact address so I assume there is not one for this lot. Using Google maps and Real Estate listings I found the house to the left was 456 North Whisman Road.

    I found that 458 North Whisman was further left, so I can assume the address for this lot would be 454 North Whisman Road Mountain View, Ca.

    Now I had to find out why it was blank. The web page for the Hetch Hetchy Trail wasn’t any help. So I went back to my search results where I searched for ‘hutch hatchey trail’. The second link was to a National Parks page for Day Hikes in Hetch Hetchy. On that page there is a link to a PDF describing the area. In the first paragraph I see the name John Muir. I knew I was on the right trail (No pun intended). I now know that John Muir was an activist against the Hetch Hetchy dam project. Going back to the search results I looked at the third page in the search results:

    Ahhhh! In the overview on this page I see the trail is on the right-a-way of the Hetch-Hetchy water pipeline. A quick search for ‘Hetch-hetchy water pipeline’ gives me the Wikipedia page for the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct.

    I add the GPS coordinates (37.48309, -122.31522) into Google Maps and find this is the location of The Pulgas Water Temple. I turned on the Wikipedia layer in Google maps and it tells that this is also the terminus for the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct.

    So, here are my final answers:

    Question for today:
    --The address for this blank spot is 454 North Whisman Road Mountain View, Ca.
    --The lot is blank because it is along the right-a-way of the Hetch-Hetchy water pipeline.
    Extra Credit:
    --The physical connection is the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct.
    For the Gold:
    --John Muir was an activist against the Hetch-Hetchy reservoir and the aquaduct.

    This took me about a total of 20 minutes to get everything. Thanks for this, I really enjoyed the challenge.

  35. Step One - check exif. Oh well worth a try but D.R. too clever.
    Download image - Oh there's a clue, Hetch Hetchy Trail HHT
    Run image through Goggles, using Tablet, no results
    Google search wiki HHT -Reservoir details and mention John Muir
    John Muir Co founder Sierra Club, fought building dam on Tuolumne River
    Confirm location in Mountain View. Get street view across the street, using Tablet so need to use icon details from Cancer community. Yes at North Whisman Rd and Whisman CT 300-400 block.
    Lat. long. At Pulgas water temple, terminus of HHT aqueduct. To commemorate completion of O'Shaughnessy Dam in 1913.
    Location check EPA and discover its Superfund Site ie contaminated by Fairchild Semiconductor Corp.
    John Muir is an American hero who was one of the first preservationist and father of the 'atonal Parks. He was a draft dodge who came to Canada and living at the base of Rockies I like to think he was inspiring our incredible mountains and Banff National Park.

  36. It took me close to 5 minutes to find all of the answers this week. 20 minutes to assemble the info into the format below.

    This blank spot is located at 455 N Whisman Rd in Mountain View California. It is blank b/c beneath the ground here runs the Hetch Hetchy aquaduct, which carries water from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National park to communities in the Bay Area.

    How: First, I dragged the image into google image search to try and find a better resolution version. Then I squinted really hard to read the trail sign, then googled ”Hetch Hetchy trail”. The first result led me to a City of Mountain View website which had a map showing the trail crossing Walker Rd and Easy St. So I googled easy street in Mountain View, and zoomed in to locate the blank spot. I also searched nearby for “google” offices to help narrow down my search area.

    Next I zoomed out and searched Hetch Hetchy again on the map. On the map it highlighted highlighted the Reservoir and linked me to

    Googling Hetch Hetchy Reservoir linked to Wikipedia
    where I found the term Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct and a Wikipedia link. The Wikipedia article on the Aqueduct had an image of where the aqueduct runs. I searched for more images like it and gleaned that the Aqueduct must run beneath 455 N Whisman Rd in Mountain View California.

    For extra credit...

    San Francisco built Pulgas Water Temple at this location as a monument to the engineering marvel that brought Hetch Hetchy water more than 160 miles across California from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the Bay Area. It’s a monument to the aqueduct that runs under 455 N Whisman Rd in Mountain View California.

    How: I google searched the coordinates, then clicked on the one photo that appeared on the left pane. It revealed that Pulgas Water Temple was here. I googled that and selected the following link for San Franciso Water ( ) which provided the blurb above.

    And....for the gold:
    In 1906, after a major earthquake, San Francisco applied to the United States Department of the Interior to gain water rights to Hetch Hetchy. This provoked a seven-year environmental struggle with the environmental group Sierra Club, led by John Muir.

    How: This part was easy. I just googled Muir and Hetch Hetchy, and put my faith in Wikipedia once more for the info above.

  37. Is this not the same location? From EPA SITE!OpenDocument

    369 and 441 North Whisman Road (Former Buildings 13, 19, 23)In 1986, Fairchild installed an approximately 40-foot-deep slurry wall along the boundaries of the 369 North Whisman Road property, keyed into the A/B aquitard. Groundwater extraction began in 1982 at this property, and was expanded to include seven A Aquifer source control extraction wells within the slurry wall enclosure; two A Aquifer source control extraction wells downgradient of the slurry wall to the north; three source control extraction wells in the B1 Aquifer; and two source control extraction wells in the B2 Aquifer. Groundwater extracted from these wells is piped to System 19, located at 369 North Whisman Road, for treatment. System 19 has treated over 800,000 gallons of groundwater and removed over 10,000 pounds of VOCs from the groundwater through December 2006.