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Imperial Valley press and the Imperial press. (El Centro, Calif.) 1906-1907, June 09, 1906, Image 1

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn92070144/1906-06-09/ed-1/seq-1/

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Imperial Valley Press.
Progress of Channel Cutting in New River Renders the Valley Free
From Danger of Flood. Main Canal Carried Away and Water
On Wednesday afternoon we took a
trip to the main canal and as far west
as the Five headgates to see just what
was being done and had been done by
the water during the week since we
had visited it before. We drove from
El Centro due south up the Date canal
to where it heads in the main canal
and went from there west to the Five
headgates and what we saw Is well
worth going many miles to see. We
saw the entire process of channel cut
ting exemplified on a large scale. Ar
riving at the head of the Date canal
we could see by the water lines on the
levee and on the posts In the fence
with which the levee had been pro
tected, that the water had fallen about
three inches at that point from Its
highest point which It had reached a
few days before. ■
The dredger of the California De
velopment company was at work In the
main canal a short distance east of
this place building up the south bank
of the canal. ' ••
We drove west along on top of the
levee and could note a very rapid fall
~ln the water, the current being very
swift. * About hall way between the
head of the Date ditch and the head
.of the Dahlia we passed a number of
men at work filling .sacks with dirt,
ferrying them across the canal in a
boat and putting them on the south
bank. The south bank was just begin
ning to show above the water, which
is falling rapidly all along there. Just
south of the canal Is a house formerly
occupied by Mr. W. H. Fry and from
which he has been driven by the flood
for nearly a year past: The water had
been nearly up to the" top of the doors
at Its highest point but when we were
there Wednesday afternoon the water
had' fallen about 18 Inches. This
showed a fall of about 15 Inches in
the water level In a half mile. It had
fallen 3 inches at the head of the Date
canal and this house of Mr. Fry's Is
located about midway between there
and the head of the Dahlia canal,
which Is one mile west. From the
Fry place west the water falls very
rapidly and when we were 'here which
was about five o'clock Wednesday af
ternoon the beginning of the overpour
was about 300 feet west of the head of
the Dahlia canal. From that point a
most Interesting sight was presented.
For a distance of more than a quarter
of a mile south and In a nearly straight
line the water was pouring over a drop
of about six feet and consequently the
entire surface of the country was prac
tically all being carried away to that
depth. After making this fall the
water seemed to be cutting into chan
nels of greater or less size but It all
seemed to come together within a
quarter of a mile and. run In a deep,
swift flowing channel from there on.
The entire main canal and levee was
carried away from the head of. the
Dahl a canal to the point west of the
Evergreen heading where the loop or
••shoo-fly" was built when the levee
was constructed. The Evergreen
\ headgate and the great cement drop
in the main canal were both carried
away and where these structures form*
erly stood Is now a deep channel about
500 feet wide In which a seething,
boiling flood Is rushing and there Isn't
a ves'age of the structures remaining.
The volume of water doing this erod
ing Is apparently coming from off the
flooded lands south of the main canal
and between there and the old Beach
ditch, which Is located on the highest
land along next to Cameron Lake and
the old channel of New river. The
main channel of the river was cutting
its way somewhere in the mesquite
covered country about three-quarters
of a mile south of the head of the
In fact, it seemed like a r?.ce be
tween the. two channels, the main
channel and the' one that Is carrying
away the main canal, as to which shall
get to Cameron Lake first. It is be
•lleved that whichever reaches the lake
first will draw water so rapidly that it
will become the main channel. There
Is no doubt now however, but that the
main channel is the one cutting out In
the mesquites about a half mile south
of the channel we have just described.
There Is a roar like .Niagara Falls
over there and at the two places below
there where we could see the main
channel we saw mesquite trees and
driftwood in great quantities hurrying
by. From the Dahlia heading we
drove west keeping back a respectful
distance from the bank of the channel
as it is cutting back into the farms
very rapidly, great slices of dirt tum
bling in all the time. About a quarter
of a mile below where the Evergreen
heading formerly stood the channel
turns to the southwest and runs Into
the main channel 'which is but ilttle
more than a quarter of a mile distant
As the channel we.were looking down
was about 600 feet wide we could get
quite a satisfactory view of the main
channel. While we could not judge
accurately of its width we feel certain
It was at least 1000 feet wide and the
banks on the farthest side at least. 25
feet high. It seemed to run right
alongside some big sand dunes at this
point which doubtless added to the
helghth of the bank. The water in
the main channel Is very swift and
great quantities of driftwood and* large
numbers of mesquite trees float by in
an endless procession. It Is a sight
one doesn't get to see many times In a
life time and furnished a startling evi
dence of what Colorado river *ater
will do to Imperial Valley land If it ap
plied In too large quantities. Going
on down to the Five headgates we
walked on the top of the levee or rath
er on what Is left of It for before the
water cut out its present course to the
main channel it ran with terrific force
along this levee and cut it very nearly
through In a number of places. A
large channel was washed where the
old waste way from the Five headgates
ran to New river and this channel was
cutting out the old channel of the main
canal and cutting away the levee whe<i
the cutting out of the I main channel
gave the water an opportunity to cut
across near the Evergreen heading and
reach the channel more directly.
This trip ' was taken In company
wltb Mr. Ira Ateh.who had been over
the same ground the day before and
he was astounded at what a work the
water had wrought in the 24 hours.
According to his judgment the channel
along the former line of the main canal
had cut out at least a mile and was
cutting more rapidly when we were
there than It was the day before.
The work that Is being
done now Is in an effort to dam the
main canal shut the water out of it so
there will be no discharge from It to
cause the bank to cut away and then
endeavor to deflect the course of the
channel away from the canal by dyna
miting. This may or may not be suc
cessful but as the quantity of water
coming around this way is bound to
decrease the channel should not cut
away the main canaj very much more.
The action of the water In cutting this
channel and carrying away the main
canal for a half mile, which Includes
the evergreen heading, one of the best
on the system, was so unexpected that
it took both the California Develop
ment company and Imperial Water
company No.. 1 by surprise. However
there was no time to lose. The carry
ing away of the main canal at this
point cut off the water supply to about
50,000 acres of land and this Included
Brawley and Imperial Water company
No. 4 besides a large area in Water
company No. 1 north of Imperial and
Mesquite Lake as well as all the terri
tory under the Elder, Elm and Eucalyp
tus canals.
Prompt work was demanded for hun
dreds of thousands of dollars worth of
property is at stake. The cantaloupes
will need" irrigating within a week and
while the alfalfa could go a month or
two the cows and hogs must have wat
er all the time. However it don't take
long to get action anymore and we saw
an evidence of it. The evergreen
heading went out about 8 o'clock in
the morning and by noon a big crew of
teams with scrapers were at work on
a.canal to carry water from the Dahlia
canal to the Brawley main so that all
the people up there can ' be served.
This canal will only need to be one
half mile long and we passed along
there after six o'clock and the canal
was more than half done; the lumber
was on the ground for the headgate
This prompt work will supply Brawley
and Number Four and the lands north
of Imperial with water for stock and
cantaloupes almost at once. Another
cross ditch was begun at once to carry
water to the Five headgates for deliv
ery to the lands under the Elder, Elm
and Eucalyptus systems.
A call was Issued Thursday for
three hundred teams to put In this
cross ditch first as a temporary exped
ient and later to construct the mile or
more of main canal to connect around
the break with the Five headgates. So
quickly will this work be done that It
Is not believed that any damage will
result to crops from the few days they
will be out of water. On Thursday the
work of dynamiting In the main chan
nel was resumed and that channel was
thus carried forward quite a distance
beyond the one that was washing away
the main canal. This had the effect,
of drawing the water away from tjie
latter channel and it almost ceased
cutting entirely. However during,
Thursday night it carried away the'
Dahlia heading and cut away the can
al for a short distance above it but on
Friday morning was scarcely cutting
at all In fact from Wednesday after
noon to Friday morning this channel
did not cut back more than 400 feet
while the main channel cut for more
than a mile and was just about enter-
Ing Cameron Lake. It Is expected to
quickly draw the water away from the
channel at the main canal so that it
will not cut anymore. The south bank
has been strengthened and Is above
water practically to the brink of the
channel so It Is In good shape to han
dle. The water was turned out of the
main canal on Thursday afternoon and
as soon as it drains out the dredger
will build a dam across It just as close
to the break as It can be put. From
this point to the Five headgates a new
main canal will be built just as soon as
men and teams can build It and this
should not be more than a few days.
The past week has been one of
quick changes In the water situation.
At the beginning of the week quite a
large area of the Valley was in more
or less danger of Inundation. • Now
there is no danger to any of it and only
a small area at Calexlco that could
possibly be damaged by floods outside
of Water company No. 6 and there the
water Is being drawn off very rapidly
by the channel cutting In New river.
In another week no doubt the chan
nel will have entered Mexico and all
possibility of floodlng'this Valley be at
an end.
Murder at Brawley
A most foul murder was committed
at Brawley on last Saturday night or
early Sunaay morning and so mysteri
ously was it done and so slight are the
clews that so far there does not seem
to be any trace of the murderer. A
number of men were sleeping out near
the cantaloupe packing house and the
one that was' murdered made down
his bed beeide a hand car on the ground
and retired somewhat earlie- than the
rest. On Sunday morning his dead
body was found just as he had slept.
The murderer had evidently waited until
sure that everyone was sleeping sound
ly, when he crept to the space where
he lay, and taking a heavy crow-bar
'from the hand car dealt the sleeping
man a terrific blow on the head, crushed
A glance at this Map will show
/At^f^W W '--^' beconie tlie
T R O F» O L 1 S
■jo^Mr of the
my 1 t < ,
tsr\\ss.. l >e«'» bpent in building and permanent improvements in El
C^ntroiS the hint five month*. Come and seo for yourself. This i«
Wm El Centro Land Co.
tnm Lands for Sale D. 11. CHAPLIN,
* Insurance General Agent
Notary Public «^ ss J^Jjttfc I Cal,irOfnla
his skull and evidently killing him In
stantly. Then the fiend struck the
dead man several times with the heavy
instrument to make sure that he had
accomplished his purpose, afterward,
slinking away. He has succeeded In
covering his tracks so well that the au
thorities have no clue to his Identity.
Robbery was evidently not the motive
for the crime, as all of his money, $104
was found on the body. A letter
signed by Homer Smlthson was the
only means of Identifying the remains.
It was learned that the man's name;
was D. R. Hornsby and that he had
lately come from Los Angeles. An
Inquest was held over the remains by
Judge Holloway of Brawley and a ver
dict rendered In accordance with the
above facts. The officers are working
on the case but are not giving out their
ideas as to the Identity of the murderer
even If they have any.
During the week ending June 2nd
the water In Salton sea rose 3 feet and
4 Inches. It is raising about 7 Inches
per day this week and has about 15
feet to raise * before It reaches the
Southern Pacific tracks. It v will be
there pretty soon.
W. H. Webber Is building a cosy-V
cottage on his lot near D. D. Pellet*,
house and will become a resident of
El Centro In a short time. Mr. Web-,
ber has been the "Ice man" at Imper
ial for a long time but has accepted a
position with the Holton Power Co. In.
their ice manufactory.
Mr. J. R. Johnson, of Rocky Ford,-',
arrived this week and will inspect can
taloupes at the E! Centro packing
house. Mr. Johnson has had wide ex
perience in cantaloupes and says that
Albert Hart has the finest field of can
taloupes he has ever seen in his life.
Quite considerable shipments of canta
loupes are being made every day now
and the packing house will be In fulL
blast within a week.

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