The creek behind the Bird House is the Zanja, a 12-mile irrigation canal built by the local Serrano Indians in the 1800s to divert water from Mill Creek to Loma Linda to support agriculture. Locals affectionately call it "the Zankee." The word means "ditch" in the Serrano's native language.
The first all-wood bridge was built over the Zanja creek at the same time the Bird House was being built in 1951.
In 1968-69 there was a huge storm that filled the Zanja. So in 1970 the pledge project was to build a retaining wall to protect the fraternity house yard and a palm tree that were nearly lost in the big storm. Brother Barry Rands, an engineering major designed the wall, complete with wire anchors deep in the ground within the yard in 1971. Brother John Taylor, whose family owned Taylor Lumber, helped with the design & discounts on materials. A lot of 10-lb river rocks, donated by Rock Walk pledges, were used to reinforce the base of the wall. Years later, when the wood finally rotted out, it was replaced, but the design was the same, made completely of wood with concrete abutments.
In the Spring of 1984 it needed to be rebuilt and Patron Vern Stater gathered a team to handle the work. Brothers Jon Rains, Dave Boerlin, Greg Horn & others completely replaced the decaying wood bridge with new steel beams & fresh wood planks. They manhandled the steel into place, anchored it to the cement, & drilled holes for the planks. Wood spacers were added to prevent the steel beams from bowing. The wood ΚΣΣ letters were the only items reused for the new Zanja Bridge.
In 1971 when the retaining wall closest to the house was rebuilt, Brother Barry Rands took the pic with the Brothers & Pledges working. On the bridge from left is Wheelock, Schmerl Vasvery, & Tom Lindsey. In the creek is Rick Dischenger, unknown, & Tart Wong and the pledge under the bridge is Don Davidson.