Inventors are inspirational. Harriet Williams Russell Strong was an inventor, conservationist, and social activist. Her inventions and work for water storage and flood control allowed the Hoover Dam and the All-American Canal to be constructed.
Harriet was born on July 23, 1844 in Buffalo, New York. She had three sisters. She was educated by private teachers, however she also attended Young Ladies Seminary in Benicia, California while living there for a time period. In 1861, her family moved to Carson City, Nevada. There she met and later married Charles Lyman Strong. They had four daughters. In 1883, he committed suicide. Harriet then managed and developed his estate, Rachito del Fuerte in San Gabriel Valley, California. In 1897, she drilled artesian wells and installed a pumping plant. She founded the Paso de Bartolo Water Company. She was the president and two of her daughters were treasurer and secretary. She studied water problems and advocated conservation as a flood remedy. In 1887, she was awarded a patent for a dam and reservoir construction. In 1894, she was awarded another patent for an invention to impound debris and store water. Her inventions had earned awards at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, IL. in 1893. In 1918, she appeared before the congressional committee on water power. She urged the government to store and use flood waters of the Colorado River using her invention.
Harriet was also a musical composer. She published songs and a book of musical sketches. She was for a time period the vice president of the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra Association. She was the founder and a president of Ebell of Los Angeles. She was a member of the Friday Morning and Ruskin Art Clubs. She became the first female member of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and was on the executive board of the Inland Waterways Association of San Francisco. She was, also, the first female delegate to the annual convention of the United States Chamber of Congress in Chicago in 1918. She was a member of the Whittier Chamber of Commerce and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce Legislative committee.
Harriet Williams Russell Strong is a member of the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the National Inventors Hall of Fame. She died from an automobile accident in 1926. She was 82 years old. Be inspired! Have a bright day!