Manhattan Beach Water Covers

In 2013 after a pretty major back surgery, I did a lot of walking as part of my rehabilitation, and I began paying attention to things on the streets such as manhole covers, water main covers, etc. I noticed that among all of the literally dozens of water main covers on the streets I would walk regularly, there were a very few that were old, painted over and specifically, had “Manhattan Beach Water” printed on them. I saw maybe one of these for every 40-50 of the nondescript and otherwise generic covers. At first I saw one or two, then a few more, and it occurred to me that these were quite rare and perhaps had a history to them.

I checked with the Office of Public Works, and what I found was that as streets get repaved, or a cover gets damaged, they simply replace whatever is there with a generic, and usually blank steel cover. The ones I were finding were old, and had a history.

I photographed a couple of them and printed one to hang on a wall at home. I liked the idea of a picture with the words “Manhattan Beach” and “Water” together, as water is such an integral part of this city. The photo got a few comments and questions from friends, and it got me started on a project to find and photograph as many of these as I could find.

I have so far only covered a small percentage of streets in Manhattan Beach, but as time permits and I find additional caps, they will end up here.