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VOL. 1. ON THE COLORADO DESERT EDITORIAL LETTER BY W. S. MELICK, OF THE PASSADENA NEWS, WffO WAS HERE The greatest irrigation and colonis ation project in America is now being developed on the plains bordering the Colorado river, near Yuma, in the east ern part of San Diego county, Califor nia and Mexico. The waters of the great river are, through engineering skill, capital and labor, being taken out on the fertile arid plains. There colonistrsettlers are getting homes and lands under the favorable terms pro vided by our government to its cit zens. All of last week, in company with fifteen other newspapermen, as guests of the Imperial Laud Campany, I had the privilege of visiting and inspect ing the developments now being made in that new section of the great south west. Bes'*«:a the trip to and from Yum- ° n tne Southern Pacific rail • oad, we wentoveir 150 miles by boat and by coaches across that strange country. It was a itrip filled with in teresting incidenVs. BuiA"J? all 'not take up in detail the incidents of the journey. This article will first deal with a discription of that country as it appeared to me, and then give definate information as to what I bel. s eve are its possibilities and oppor ti ities for those seeking homes and lands of their own. Having had several years experience on the desert, knowing by actual, hard knocks what a pioneer must go through in reclaiming arid land and under standing something of the nature of desert soils and what may or may not be expected from various qualities, I undertake in this article to set dowu my own free judgment in the light of what I saw last week. * ♦ * * * * We were the guests of this company and we were given every opportunity of inquiring into and investigating every part of its work from the Colo radr river from the headgates of their great canal to their distributing sys tem across the fertile dry plains, to Flowing Wells station— the nearest shipping point on the Southern Pac ific. What We Saw Such are some of the points in this great irrigation project. Last Tues day morning our party, supplimented by the newspaper men of Yuma, left that town and went down the Colorado river, conveyed by a steamer. This river ranks with the Columbia and Missouri as the great rivers of the west. It rises way up in the Rocky mountains and comes down through the states and territories through the Grand Canyon and other rugged su lime scenery. Its waters are somewhat cloudy or muddy, but which settle quickly when permitted to stand. The ride down the river was pleasant. We saw; where two canals are being construct* 1 *«r "Water h Klng—ljtrt Is Its Kingdom." IMPERIAL, CAL, SATURDAY, mt 22, 1901. convey the waters upon the BBJHB On one of canals a large »[nW Pasadena people have locatelQpnclud ing Messrs Yoakum, Baldwin and others. They have g-ood land and when the canals are comoleML thfY ought to be prosperous. f-'^x^"-" - When we reached the headHnWOf the California Development Cwnpany, which is to supply water for the Im perial lands we saw developdßntson a scale that looked like goffl&JSfl work on a gigantic scale, umflßHß& WATER IN TBMOWNaffIIMPERIAL Tuesday, May IS, IVOI, thdHeadgatflof the Imerial ca nal were opened and tmJ;jWpPM|^^^olorado was turned in this direction. HavrKgJsJflowed about 70 miles through ar tificial and natural channels, the water reached Cameron sev eral days ago and a considerable amount has already been turned out over al f al f a fl^rt sJJP, lllfli-JXJit^ 1 About Ip. m. i"g+||P^fflp!fPff™™h c turned into the branch canal leading *LQhX-tfl wa °-fejf|sfl|"al an^ was cx P ec " ted here Thursday nig^Wbut itii|BJfWß&that a drop would have to be put in b3tw«i hereJßy Camdflm and the water was delayed a few d a yftH^P r dWH reached a point four miles south from towlPWiterday, and it is certain that water will reach here before the Press reaches its readers. Water is not here as we go to press — it is expected here at almost any m nrn ° n *^Mo^lJJ^M!f^M^SS^^ vs * tion of Hydraulic Engineer^reorge I Chafiey. There is no questioflbfthej thoroughness of the work no J~. ~^ determined integrity of the cHnnUpS The success of Mr. Chaffey infftying through other great en Jk^id enterprises in Americßt- j > Australia gives assurance gK^^P knows what he is about Hd wi||J make a success of this P ro J e^L^°r| five miles we went in boats BJPfoPS canal SO feet wide and deep enHfn^o float a steamboat loaded witn Hn|Mß The headworks are in C 4|B||S but the canal circles round gpoughj The great sanddoons for inUfISSHBB miles make it impossible to cnHpfilyS a canal from the Colorado rivd&faJhe] arid plains of Imperial in SarHßrego county, and keep the canal o> Htim§H can Boil all the way. This fl __^ has 100,000 acres of land *outlgWf ' Vnen canal in Mexico. But they afl doingJ all their colonization work inßkHfor-| Returning to Yuma and then taking thetr»' to Flowing Wells, we went south nperial, thirty miles, over a | BpH«9 very good. In fact all 3>ut about tHree miles could be made WBQifllUßdfii Leaving Flowing Wells S^Bm Mir arr * ve d in Imperial at IPfflßiy'TEpl} ride was a pleasant one L»not hot.jPM "*<S»sjg^sr south we went the bet ter the laiSsippears. At Imperial is found a general store owned by W. F. Holt, a banker from P Arizona, who also has -a large Htoand a telephone extend . -Mowing Wells across the Tolrnperial and on to Cameron Mine Host Fergusson, in con trol of the Imperial Land Company, is maMffinSffißrs hum. He says there will benwßloons in Imperial. Lum- for a church. -~ - 5 - , Bh is now in course of con fHTOHTffliyml will be completed in a weekQfoJ|gm|| Fn ) wGBBBBwo days driving over the lands. TlJBe are some most excellent aflffljßßfflffljß"'' filing and settlement HS&HHESBsert land act and horae- I Had laws. I M'ySg?'jjffl ppcp * c ' s minds, the "desert" " the idea of a place HHHHHSHey think every bush or blade has sHhorn or spear; every beetle LuLhujZ-a^gmmous stinger; every ani \,\ Bus fang or claw. They VpnPmHnn burns everything up jjHlfajflie goflthere at his peril. \Fne trutaß that there are deserts and d^rirojßSonie, of course, are so bleakancHjftfren as to be beyond re ■JHBBBBir ey wiu never be habit |B?hejfrea|Snajority of desert lands hßgrid AmJaca need but the touch of stirring of the plow to PBsMaaß i^fe fruitful demands of the |farm^BWThe Great American Des ert" of the jgld geographies is being MliUhrtlWFlllHfliM"^ orc hards and green - H pushes forward in his laßertmneaßprk. Of course there will EEBP be jff te P laces > but the deserts are growhnHmaUer, while the oases are sBmUB over the parched plains and. homes are /springing up where sunshine and sol'tary silence brooded. The turning of the waters from the NO. 10. snowy mountain crests from their courses to the arid plains has devel oped unexpected wealth and plenty where once was marked the word "desert." Having been assured that Engineers Chaffey and Rockwood will get the water of the Colorado river onto the lands about Imperial before time to seed this fall; having full confidence that Manager S. W. Fergusson will carry out the project promised by the Imperial Land Company, the practical question conies, are there opportuni ties for persons to get lands and make something out of them. * * » # # * For the willing workers who know how to plan and to proceed, I believe there are good opportunities for mak ing money and acquiring profitable lands by taking up homesteads or des ert claims and covering them with water from the Imperial canals. With water, those alfalfa and grain lands ought to be worth at least $50 an acre. I can see no reason in the world why the Salt River Valley should not be more than duplicated on the Eastern part of San Diego county. » # • » # # Under the U. S. land laws at present, a citizen over 21 years of age may take uy 160 acres of land as a homestead or 320 acres as a desert claim. Cost for filing on a homestead is $14, pay able at the U. S. land office at the time of filing. Within six months from the time of filing-, settlement must be made by going on the land and building- a house. After five years' residence, the land can be gotten by simply pay ing the small land office fee. The homesteader can not leave his land more than six months at a time. In filing on a desert claim in the U. S. land office, one must pay 25 cents an acre cash down. Another $1 per acre must be paid the government when the proof is made after three years. In addition, the desert land claimant must bj>,.id $1 per for three years toward . reclaiming the desert land. Annual proof of $1 per acre' expenditure is required. Affida vits attested by two witnesses showing that water stock has been bought is sufficient evidence of reclamation ac cording to law. WILL PEOPLE SETTLE THIS COUNTRY It is frequently predicted that people cannot be induced to settle a desert country even after, an abundance of water has been obtained. Can this be said of the Colorado Desert? Well I should say nit. The faith which the public has demonstrated in this coun try and in the irrigation enterprise is unsurpassed in the history of the state. During the twelve months of active work on the project more than one hundred thousand acres of Hand have been taken in this valley and covered by water rights. Since water has bean turned through the headgates a large number of peo ple have moved onto their lands, four camps having been established between here and Cameron during the past week. Mr. C. W. Mitchell, a merchant of Lyones, Oregon, was here recent! v located land south of town.