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General W. S. Rosecrans, February fifteenth, eighteen hundred and sixty-eight, writes:

"At the crossing of the Colorado, near Fort Yuma, by this route, the road would find two granite abutments on opposite sides of the river, about six hundred feet (?) apart and forty feet high, placed by nature as if expressly for a railway bridge crossing."

The "Colorado Desert" was formerly apprehended, of which Bartlett says, "it seems almost graded by nature for a railway;" and Lieutenant Williamson, "the desert may be considered the least difficult part of a railway route in California."

Professor W. P. Blake describes it as follows:

"Instead of the whole plain being composed of loose and sandy materi als, as has been supposed, its basis is a compact blue clay, so hard that the passing of mules and wagons scarcely leave tracks upon it." Again: "It is not necessary to carry the road across the sand hill range. The hills have a direction that would be nearly parallel to the course of a road."

This desert is estimated to contain five thousand square miles, the rest of the County of San Diego being about nine thousand square miles. The report of Professor Blake demonstrates the facility with which large areas, perhaps more than one thousand square miles, can be reclaimed. His own remark is: "the whole of the clay surface of the desert may be considered as capable of supporting a luxuriant growth of vegetation of almost any description," by irrigation, which "might be accomplished by constructing canals from a point on the Colorado above the mouth of the Gila."

The distance from the Bay, by Warner's Pass, to the mouth of the Gila, is one hundred and eighty nine miles (railway); the greatest elevation, three thousand six hundred and twenty nine feet, to wit, the summit of San Felipe.

Enough has been said to show the inestimable value of the "back country," within a radius of one hundred and fifty miles from San Diego-all now thinly populated, but promising a different future of wealth to the State. One misfortune is-possibly hereafter to turn out a benefit that so many large tracts are held by non-residents; these are mostly men of capital. Some of them are projecting the introduction of emigrants upon their extensive ranches, "a consumation devoutly to be wished." Confirmed Mexican titles (generally surveyed) cover some of the best lands. Still there is much public land, and now being settled up; and through which either of our proposed railway routes must pass. A few miles back, out of the fogs of the coast, wheat has always been a sure crop, as at San Pascual, Temecula, Santa Ysabel, Milqua-tai, etc., etc. San Jose (or" Warner's ranch") has four fine streams for saw or flouring mills. There is no redwood. On the ridges of Pauma is the species of oak supplying a desideratum long felt in the wine districts-wood for casks; at Anaheim are several casks, made of this wood, in use now four years, uninjured by worms. A steam grist mill and wharf (five hundred feet in length) are in progress of erection at New Town. No mention has been made of stock ranchos, such as Otay, Nacional, Guajomo, Santa Margarita, Las Flores, San Bernardo (three

leagues, lately bought for four thousand and twenty dollars), San Luis Rey, Laguna, San Jacinto-in quantity two hundred thousand acres. A proper assessment of the real and personal property of the county would not be less than one million dollars at present; and this with a white population of the whole county less than two thousand, and of the city, not exceeding four hundred souls. Community is in its infancy of development and growth retarded by many untoward circumstances that must cease to operate in the progress of the State at large. Slowly, yet steadily, the tide of emigration is advancing, to fill up these waste places, and bringing with it the best experience of our civilization, to build up a society in the enjoyment of a prosperity that may one day rival the most fortunate parts of the earth.

Extending our radius over the map of the country, it would embrace the copper and salt of Lower California, a vast area of irrigable land upon "the Desert," tin mines of Temescal, quartz of Holcombe Valley and Lytle Creek, silver leads of the Cucamonga and San Gabriel ranges. It would point close to the copper veins of Soledad and oil wells of San Fernando. In saying this, there is no intention to compete with the natural trade of San Pedro, the principal shipping point for the Valley of Los Angeles.

There are thousands of acres of good lands within the pueblo limits of San Diego, and its vicinity, but a scarcity of water. With any considerable increase of population, the old "Yerba Buena" herself will furnish us a model for imitation, in order to remedy this evil-in her "Spring Valley Water Works," and "the Lake Honda Tunnel and Aqueduct." An exceedingly interesting account of these magnificent structures has been published by F. W. Gross, Esq. :

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"A few years ago," he says, a small rippling stream, so narrow that a man could easily step across it, ran through the Pillarcitas Valley or Cañon, twenty-three miles from the city, where there is now an extensive artificial lake. The spot-wild and romantic, surrounded and shut in by precipitous mountains, almost inaccessible-has been completely changed in appearance, and rendered comparatively easy of access by well built roads winding round the mountain sides. pines that for years had battled with the elements have been felled, and trees and shrubbery destroyed, and a large space of beautiful scenery denuded of its natural charms to make way for the requirements of a great city. The first dam is three hundred and sixty feet long, one hundred and fifty feet thick at the base, twenty-five feet thick at the top, and thirty-two feet high. From this dam the water was brought into town in wooden flumes, intersected at times with sheet and cast iron pipes. The aqueduct necessarily followed the topography of the country over which it passed, making its entire length upwards of thirty-two miles. The present or main dam was started in eighteen hundred and sixty-four. This was finished in December, eighteen hundred and sixty-five. The immense surface behind it is flooded, and is now covered with a lake two and a quarter miles in length, forming a most beautiful sheet of water. The present capacity of this immense reservoir is eight hundred and twenty-five million gallons. Its present water mark is six hundred and eighty-four feet above the present city base of San Francisco. * The new dam is being enlarged by an addition of one hundred feet thickness at the base, and the walls to be carried up nearly parallel with the slope of the present dam. With this addition it is proposed to raise the height of the dam some twenty feet, which will increase the capacity of

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the reservoir to fourteen hundred million gallons. With this increased capacity the company would be enabled to supply the city with water for two years, even if it did not rain a drop during that time. The average depth of the reservoir is now forty feet, while in one place the water is eighty-five feet deep. * The consumption of water in this city amounts to thirteen hundred million gallons per annum. When all the new arrangements are completed the company can furnish three times this quantity with ease."

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The San Diego River is a counterpart of this, but gives forth a much greater volume of water. It rises in a natural reservoir a mile long and one fourth of a mile wide, known as Cuyamaca Lake, situate about five hundred feet below the summit of Cuyamaca mountain, forty-five miles east of the bay. It flows all the year upon the rancho of El Cajon, a distance of twenty miles from the city or twenty-seven from Ballast Point. At the head of this rancho Nature has provided a hard, rocky bed-an admirable site for a second reservoir; and six miles below, another of like character and the same of which the Mission Fathers availed themselves in order to make their dam (still existing in good condition). With this they brought into cultivation their lands around the Mission of San Diego. Their dam, of solid stone cemented with brick, is two hundred and forty-four feet in length, ten feet thick and twelve feet high, from which by a brick aqueduct they conducted the water seven miles to the Mission. The gorge at the head and that at the foot of the "Cajon," with the formation and contour of the Cajon Valley itself the basin of a lake of three times the area of Spring Valley-present facilities for the establishment of waterworks equal, if not superior, to those of San Francisco. The four rivers of the county before referred to could all be dammed in like manner, for irrigation or domestic consumption. Those who feel curiosity to pursue this subject are referred to the Memoir of Lieutenant George H. Derby, Topographical Engineers, Senate Executive Documents, Vol. 3.

In passing, it may be stated that the Trustees of the city have applied to the Legislature for power to donate small tracts to actual settlers, upon conditions calculated to secure their occupation and improvement. A complete survey of the lands has been made into house lots and farm lots. This measure will have excellent results. There will only be necessary the enterprise of bringing the water from the river above, over the low table-land of about one hundred square miles east of the city-this itself capable of producing any crop whatsoever-to give the Bay of San Diego a sure start to greatness as a commercial emporium. The water company will file articles of incorporation within a few weeks. Adverting again to the line of the thirty-second parallel, the sugges tions of Gen. W. S. Rosecrans in a letter dated February fifteenth, eighteen hundred and sixty-eight, to J. Edgar Thompson, deserve a careful consideration.

Tacumba Pass, to which he alludes, leads through that stretch of country designated on the common maps by the phrase "unexplored instrumentally." It lies adjacent to the Mexican boundary. Within the last two years several distinguished officers of the United States Army have examined it. In eighteen hundred and sixty-six the mail stages traveled that way, making the trip from San Diego to Fort Yuma in forty-eight hours; it has been long known as a wagon road, and formerly was the usual, as the nearest, route for the Mexicans coming to and returning from California. By this way the distance is one hundred and sixty miles, and one hundred and forty-eight on the township lines. It

is advantageous to emigrants, because they have less of the Desert to cross, and arrive sooner at water and grass. Nor is there any necessity of entering the Mexican territory, except when near Fort Yuma, and there, at present, all routes enter it. Tacumba Mountain is a prolongation of the Santa Ysabel and Cuyamaca Ranges, but not so high as either of these; separated from them by this deep depression known as "Tacumba Pass." Its ascent on the west is easy, steeper on the east, in the descent of a long cañon to the Desert. This company now proposes to make a scientific exploration of it-a work, it is to be regretted, that Lieutenant Emory failed to do, succumbing to its apparent roughness (see Vol. 1 Mexican Boundary Survey), and one in which our State Geologist might have added a few more pages to the records of science, or further embellished his sketches of beautiful scenery, with even a single hasty tour, during the past three or four years. This section is known to have an abundance of pine and oak timber, unfailing springs of water and numerous fertile valleys. Not far from the Pass is now a flourishing settlement of American families, at Mil-qua-tai.

The suggestions of General Rosecrans, by the by, are far from authorizing an inference that our efforts in this undertaking follow the "vaulting ambition" hinted at by some writers, of raising up a rival to our proud metropolis; no, rather a true friend and useful ally. In fact, the capital of San Francisco is already too deeply invested in our county to deprive us of her sympathy; nor are there wanting other strong inducements to invite her co-operation. General Rosecrans speaks as a military man and an engineer; none will think lightly of his patriotism displayed in

this measure as ever.


"1. In a work so important as the Southern Overland Railway, mere competitive rivalry of the Union and Central line for the through express, freight and passenger business of San Francisco should be a very subordinate matter.

2. The great aim should be to build a complete trans-continental trunk line, for both through and way transport, which will do its full share of the Oriental and San Francisco through business, and with its branches develop and accommodate the industry and commerce, present or future, of the best regions stretching westward from the Rio Grande to the Pacific, and southward from Utah and Nevada to the remotest point in Mexico, whence its people shall find it best to bring their trade and travel this way.


3. Such a line must go down the Rio Grande far enough from Albuquerque to afford western connections to the Pacific for all those railways south of yours, some five of which are now pushing westward toward the Texas border. This will then bring custom from the trunk line, accommodate the people and justly conciliate the interests represented by these roads and their Eastern connections.

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4. Westward from this point, probably near Fort Thorne, the trunk line passing via Tucson and south of Gila, will provide points of junction for a great railway from the City of Mexico north via Chihuahua toward St. Louis, and a road from near Tucson via Hermosilla to Guaymas, both of which will at no distant period be demanded by the growth and prosperity of these regions.

"5. This grand trunk line along our southern border will soon populate it, develop the prosperity of the neighboring States of Mexico, and so blend the interests of the two peoples as to render unnecessary the

maintenance of the present military forces there, and probably transfer the frontier line itself to a point more satisfactory to the interests and wishes of all concerned. Thus, the road would find immediate paying work, effect a public economy and conduce to prosperity and progress. "7. Fort Yuma is the actual and natural distributing point for all Arizona and contiguous parts of Utah, Nevada and Mexico. Goods from San Francisco now reach it via Cape San Lucas and the Gulf of California, transhipped in Mexican territory to steamers at the mouth of the Colorado, which carry them to Fort Yuma in from forty-five to fifty-five days from San Francisco, at a cost of from forty to fifty dollars per ton, exclusive of insurance, interest and loss of time. The trade to this point already employs a good line of steamers, and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce recently discussed putting another line of boats on the Colorado, to command the trade of Southern Utah and Nevada. But Fort Yuma is only one hundred and forty-four miles due east on the township line, and about one hundred and sixty on a practicable railroad route via Jacumba from San Diego; of which one hundred miles would be over a gravel plain, twenty miles of rough ascending ground and forty miles of open rolling country, offering no serious obstacle to the construction of a road. San Diego harbor is all that commerce could desire -safe, commodious, of easy access in all weather, and so land-locked that vessels can lie quietly at wharves in the roughest weather, which is more than can be done in the harbor of San Francisco, and it is only thirty-six or forty hours by such propellers as ply from New York to Providence, or from San Diego to San Francisco; so that with such a line of one hundred and sixty miles of rail, freight and passengers can be carried from San Francisco to Fort Yuma in seventy hours, at a freight per ton of ten dollars, with a profit to the owners.

"8. As the length of the different Overland Railroad routes from Fort Yuma to San Francisco will not greatly differ, that should be taken which combines the greatest advantages to business and the country through which it is to pass to San Francisco. That by San Diego gives the shortest route to the Pacific coast, goes through some very fine unoccupied United States land, in the vicinity of a belt of pine timber forty by fifteen miles in area, about forty-five miles back of San Diego, opens through communication to San Francisco twelve to eighteen months in advance of the completion of the road, provides a valuable port and entrepot for the use of the main line, whence heavy cheap freights can start East with advantage over all competing lines, while it insures the command of the carrying for Arizona and its tributaries without the possibility of a rival.

"9. This route also affords decided advantages for the delivery of railroad material at several points on the line, thus expediting and cheapening the work of construction, and while through business is going on enables the Overland Company to consult all interests in its location through the State to San Francisco.

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10. Whether the cost of construction on this would be greater or less than along the line of the thirty-fifth parallel, careful estimates will determine. But having been twice over the route from this coast to Tucson, and spent ten days at the Jacumba Pass, as well as from information derived from the United States railroad surveys and other sources, I am inclined to think that, passing mostly over plains, with gentle grades, sweeping curves and long straight lines, with mesquit for ties which will last seventy years in the ground, with no snow, frosts or storms to obstruct travel or injure the road bed-the first cost, annual

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