Researcher ORCID Identifier


Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department


Reader 1

Joanne Nucho

Reader 2

Omer Shah

Reader 3

Penny Sinanolglou

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

@ 2024 Cooper L Crane


This article discusses the history of land development and infrastructure along the Santa Ana River in Southern California. The river plays a significant role in the landscape of many of Southern California’s cities and urban geographies but has been relatively underdiscussed in literature. This article approaches the river using a combination of historic ethnography and sociocultural theory to unpack the meanings of the infrastructure of the river and its relation to Southern Californians. From these meanings, the article places the river in context with environmental politics, urban development, and water management issues in California today. The article argues that the invisibility created by the Santa Ana River’s infrastructure is the result of several key historic projects to protect private land ownership, which intersects with historic processes of myth making about Southern California’s climate and geography. Moreover, this invisibility is importantly hiding several aspects about California’s water management and water politics that provide solutions, and realities about the so-called California Water Crisis.