The Journal of San Diego History
Winter 1973, Volume 19, Number 1
James E. Moss, Editor

Back to the Images

William Ellsworth Smythe is known to many as the founder of the national reclamation movement beginning in 1891.1 Locally he is famous for his authorship of the standard general History of San Diego. Few realize that he also made history as well as wrote history during his residence in the city from 1901 to 1912. His contributions to San Diego’s phenomenal decade of growth form the subject matter of this article.

This distinguished journalist, public speaker and western developer first came to local notice in the guise of a prophet in 1901. He had been touched by a vision of the future greatness of Imperial Valley and what this would mean for the city of Bay ‘n Clime. He was active in the promotional effort of the California Development Company to attract settlers to the newly renamed and reclaimed Imperial Valley. He wrote the prospectus for the San Diego and Eastern Railroad, a project advanced by a committee of San Diego businessmen. In 1902 he ran for Congress from the San Diego district. He boosted colonization and the economic growth of Southern California through the pages of national journals of opinion and ran a department in Charles Lummis’ provocative monthly, Out West. From time to time he contributed to local newspapers and was San Diego’s principal public speaker on call for all civic events. His longstanding ties with federal officials embroiled him in Imperial Valley politics and also encouraged him to develop a much publicized Western Slope project to achieve a governmental survey of water resources in the coastal region tributary to San Diego. He also was active in the Chamber of Commerce and in local real estate ventures.

William E. Smythe’s chief claim to fame, however, is as author of the exceedingly attractive History of San Diego. He is also known in California annals as the founder of Little Lander colonies, the first and most successful being San Ysidro which flourished in San Diego’s “backyard” from 1908 to 1916.

Like so many of San Diego’s then leading citizens Smythe was a native New Englander.2 He was born December 24, 1861, at Worcester, Massachusetts. His extraordinary talent with the written and spoken word came to light during his high school years. Choosing the printer’s trade to a college education he carved out a journalistic career for himself, serving as editor of the small town Medford Mercury at age nineteen. He thereafter moved on to the Boston Herald and engaged in an unsuccessful book publishing venture. His boyhood hero, reputedly, had been Horace Greeley and so it is not surprising that the West represented opportunity to him in 1888 when he became editor and publisher of the Kearney (Nebraska)Expositor. Then came the familiar events recounted by him in his nationally famous book, Conquest of Arid America — the onset of the Drought of 1890 that afflicted the Plain States, his conversion to the “miracle” of irrigation and his dedication to a national irrigation crusade.3 The movement started in Nebraska when he was editor of the Omaha Bee followed by the organization at Salt Lake City in 1891 of the Irrigation Congress movement and his publication of its organ, The Irrigation Age.

San Diego first became acquainted with William E. Smythe in September, 1900, when he was one of the vice-presidents of the San Francisco-based Water and Forest Association and undertook a speaking engagement of four weeks in Southern California.4 In message and manner Smythe was performing a role that would characterize his future activities in San Diego. Here was a smartly dressed man of thirty-nine years, erect and of average height with a modishly trimmed mustache and Van Dyke beard, whose cultivated voice and practiced oratorical manner breathed moral earnestness and deep conviction. His remarks employed superlatives, as for example, in predicting a future population of forty millions for the Golden State. His message, however, was not that of the usual boomer. In the next decade San Diego would come to welcome his long-winded secular sermons that prophesied commercial greatness and advancing property values for his adopted city.

To San Diego, Smythe represented a new breed of promoter. There had always been Congressmen or aspiring politicians who had promised San Diego Harbor improvements, a public building, fortifications, etc. Smythe was the herald of a new federal governmental dispensation. The national Reclamation Act of 1902 promised a transformation of the West; hopefully it would prove to be the catalyst for, San Diego’s “take-off” period in economic growth. Smythe, out of a long term association in the national reclamation movement, was a confidant and friend of Elwood Mead, Expert in Charge of the Department of Agriculture’s Irrigation Investigations Agency, Frederick Newell, Director of the Reclamation Service, Senator Francis Newlands, author of the Act of 1902, George Maxwell, founder of the National Irrigation Association and self-proclaimed lobbyist extraordinaire in reclamation matters, and numerous engineers and public figures on the state and national level. His ties had always been especially close with Elwood Mead who, as Wyoming State Engineer, had collaborated with Smythe on the “cession of public lands to aid irrigation” proposal of the old Irrigation Congress days. Then Smythe severed his connections with the Irrigation Age and the Irrigation Congress (1895) because of economic adversity and had sponsored three colonization projects in Idaho and in California’s Tehama and Lassen counties. He had also become the outstanding publicist of irrigation development with a notable string of articles appearing in leading journals of opinion in the East. Many of these articles were brought together in the famous book which Smythe authored in 1899 titled, The Conquest of the Arid Domain.

Elwood Mead valued the journalistic skills of his colleague and sought his help to prepare articles on irrigation for the United States Department of Agriculture in 1899.5 The two of them, then, were caught up in the Water and Forest Association organization movement at San Francisco in November, 1899. Mead persuaded the wealthy backers of the Association to sponsor a hydrological and water rights survey of California’s reclamation resources as a preliminary to the legislative enactment of a comprehensive water code that would straighten out tangled water rights controversies in the state. When Smythe addressed the San Diego Chamber of Commerce September 5, 1900, on “What Can California do for Herself?” he was advocating cooperation with federal agencies and also boosting the famed “Wyoming Idea” of water law reform that had originated with Elwood Mead in 1890.6

Within the space of a year of active campaigning for the Association followed by a survey of the Honey Lake Basin for Mead’s special California survey, Smythe came to San Diego to stay. He wrote to Mead he was certain “there was no more charming place this side of heaven.”7 A house was purchased, son Bensel and daughter Margaret returned from Eastern schools and the third son, William E. Smythe, Jr., was born here November 1, 1901.8 The Smythes were at home in San Diego and William found himself extraordinarily engaged in promotional and journalistic work. Among San Diego’s prominent citizens Smythe appeared to be on close terms with W. H. Porterfield, general manager of the San Diego Sun and may have contributed editorials to this journal in 1901. George Marston, San Diego’s prominent department store magnate, held Smythe’s literary abilities in high repute.

Smythe undertook to tell the city fathers what San Diego should do for itself if it sought to be more than a place whose climate and scenery attracted the invalid and tourist. Local development of tributary territory was what turned all the coastal cities of the Pacific Coast into metropolises from Vancouver in the north to Los Angeles in the south. He saw reclamation in the Imperial Valley as the new factor that could spark growth for San Diego if railroad connections to the interior were secured.

First there was the matter of his ties with federal conservation agencies. Smythe had made himself an authority on the Imperial Valley, had traveled through the region and written interestingly of the future plans of the California Development Company.9 In March, 1901, he interceded with his friend, Secretary of the Navy John D. Long, to ask President William McKinley to pause on his western trip to take a leisurely ride on the Colorado River near Yuma and look at the company’s canal and settlement beginnings.10 Smythe in time, however, came to favor the Reclamation Service over the company’s plans for developing the Colorado River delta country.

Smythe also was busy with a report on irrigation in Utah that would ultimately form a part of Elwood Mead’s pioneering study called Irrigation Institutions.11 He contributed to a newspaper exchange with cattlemen over the establishment of a federal forest reserve in San Diego county. He was able to assure them that grazing was still permitted within the bounds of the reserve. Furthermore, when the storm of protest mounted, Smythe had Elwood Mead intervene with the General Land Office in Washington to delay formal demarcation of the reserve boundaries.12

Smythe especially enjoyed working with George Marston’s Chamber of Commerce committee in developing the prospectus for the San Diego and Eastern Railroad. Should the railway become a reality his expectations for his adopted City of the Silver Gate would mesh with his long standing vision of reclamation in the interior.

In the meantime journalistic Smythe had made the acquaintance of a fellow New Englander who shared his enthusiasm for the Southwest and gave the writer a sounding board for his pet development programs — reclamation, colonization and cooperation — in the distinctive journal, Land of Sunshine, soon to be titled Out West. Smythe’s department in Lummis’ periodical was called “The Twentieth Century West” and the unrestrained evangelism of Smythe’s gospel of reform and development is most sharply delineated in issue after issue.

The election of President Theodore Roosevelt, a man with a truly Western outlook, was celebrated. Both Smythe and Charles Lummis took credit for Roosevelt’s first message to Congress of December, 1901, where he gave his approval to a national program of reclamation. The East had learned of the transformation of the desert in Imperial Valley through Smythe’s pen in the October, 1901, World’s Work and the President was given a plan of action for a national program of irrigation in a January, 1902, article in the Review of Reviews.13 The continuing campaign of the Water and Forest Association found Smythe writing for its journal, Water and Forest and working as one of its vice presidents until February, 1902.14 There was no doubt that San Diego had a national celebrity in its midst. Time would tell whether local men of influence would take to his suggestions for development.

For Smythe it was like old times in the 1890’s and his first crusade for irrigation, when he joined forces with Charles Lummis. It was as though he were “picking up the broken thread of past work and proceeding to weave his little web of public opinion at the same old shuttle of the magazine page.”15 There is little doubt that he was also harboring political aspirations at this point in his career. He had canvassed the state in his Water and Forest Association campaign. He had broached to a Sacramento audience in January the desirability of founding Colonial Clubs to promote increased immigration to California’s Central Valley. Now in February, 1902, he launched a new campaign of broader scope called the California Constructive League.16 By July there were fifty clubs in the Central Valley and Southern California counties and 10,000 members were pledged to Smythe’s program for the constructive reform of California. Although the San Diego Union would later scoff at the term “constructive,” it was given wide currency by Smythe and was used effectively on the national scene with his book titled Constructive Democracy until supplanted by the term “Progressive,” which meant about the same thing in popular usage. Prominent individuals in Southern California who served on the League’s State Committee included W. H. Porterfield of the San Diego Sun; notable civic leader and merchant, George W. Marston; Bishop J. Edmonds, San Diego City Assessor; Elwood Cooper of the State Board of Horticulture living in Santa Barbara and S. W. Ferguson of Los Angeles, formerly of the Kern County Land Company and the California Development Company.

The movement attained statewide publicity when it was recognized by the San Francisco Municipal League in the summer of 1902. Smythe sought an awakened citizenry determined to influence the governor and legislature to bring land reform, water law reform and agriculture marketing reform. Members of the League wanted recognition for their proposals in party platform and their acceptance by candidates running for office in the primaries and general election. Beyond the election of 1902 the machinery of the League remained intact as Smythe envisioned each local club as a village lyceum educating the populace from the reading lists proposed in the Twentieth Century department in Out West. The Constructive League whose members swelled to 15,000 lasted to 1905. It has been viewed as a precursor of the Lincoln-Roosevelt League which was the instrument used by the Progressive Republicans to seize power under Hiram Johnson in 1910.17

The supposedly nonpartisan educational program of the Constructive League began to lose its neutral shading when orator Smythe accepted the Democratic nomination for the newly created Eighth Congressional District in August. Smythe had made the Democratic party his choice many years before as the party most responsive to popular needs. He had impressed the weak but enduring San Diego county committee in the spring with his potential vote getting appeal. In the ensuing campaign starting in September, 1902, Smythe proved his hardihood and popular attractiveness as a speaker in stumping the huge district which included all of Southern California excluding Los Angeles county. He was pitted against an elderly banker of Riverside, resident of the state since 1889, Captain M. J. Daniels, who could appeal to his G. A. R. record and loyal Republican stand on the tariff to win votes. The Democratic contender needed to muster vigor and platform eloquence since the San Diego Union, which represented the predominant Spreckels business interests in San Diego, lashed out at him unmercifully.18 He was belittled for his short residence in the city and his transient loyalties to local institutions. He was saddled with the Democratic heresy of free trade even though Smythe did advocate a balanced tariff that would protect the local lemon industry. He took a constructive stand in favoring a tariff commission that would determine rates scientifically while still protecting the American standard of living. His opponent turned down a challenge for a debate and Smythe pressed the attack locally saying that, “Whatever I have of ability, intellect and worldly goods will go to beloved San Diego.”19 The Union charged Smythe with “ponderous diction,” “long — winded flights of political oratory,” “straddling on the tariff from Lassen county to San Diego,” and accused him of “wagging his jaw” for the past ten years on the accomplishments of combining land and water. Captain Daniels was pictured as a successful businessman and orchardist who knew from the practical standpoint all that was necessary to know about irrigation. Furthermore, as a Republican he would secure needed public works from a Republican controlled Congress.

The campaign, at its conclusion, had not been the educational program in constructive democracy that Smythe had anticipated. His attention was confined largely to the topics of tariff and irrigation instead of the farreaching reform planks he had personally written into the Congressional and state Democratic campaign platforms. He had made the acquaintance of the Democratic candidate for governor, Franklin K. Lane, who after a joint platform appearance mentioned to Smythe, “If I could speak like you, I’d give my good right arm.” Smythe closed his campaign on November 2 before a large audience assembled in the Plaza in San Diego and there predicted his party would take control of Congress. He reminded his listeners of his reputation as a champion of reclamation. He noted particularly that he would continue to reside in San Diego, win or lose, and would pursue his literary career inspired as always by the glorious view of a sunset over Point Loma.

Smythe lost the election, but was not disheartened in the least by his defeat in a close race where he carried San Diego but lost the district by 2,250 votes. Smythe summed up his experiences for his readers in Out West.20 He claimed the opposition won because they had the money, and that the protective tariff and prosperity benefited the Republican party. He felt that California voters were notably independent and when Democrats perfected their organization and canvassed systematically for funds, victory would be in their grasp. This candidate had found politics congenial.

The defeat did little to dim this crusader’s ardor for action. The work of the Water and Forest Association had taken a direction that little suited Smythe. In October, 1902, the Works bill drafted by Los Angeles lawyer John D. Works, designed to provide the all encompassing water code toward which the Association had been laboring, was prepared for submission to the Legislature. Smythe’s lead article in the December, 1902, Out Westmagazine denounced the measure as serving the interests of the water speculators and monopolists.21 It did not breathe the spirit of the new national reclamation law, said nothing at all about state responsibility for building reservoirs and, in its complicated administrative features, benefited the corporation rather than the family farmer. To the prime movers of the Association like Elwood Mead, Chief Justice W. H. Beatty of the California Supreme Court, President Benjamin Ide Wheeler of the University of California, prominent business leaders such as William H. Mills of the Southern Pacific, Timothy Hopkins, T. C. Friedlander and M. H. DeYoung of the San Francisco Chronicle, the proposed law would systematize the chaotic California water rights situation, ensure that riparian rights were restricted to beneficial use and put a finish to the endless litigation that impeded the desired buildup of an agricultural population. Smythe joined the fray at the Riverside December convention where a committee was appointed to oppose the Works bill in the Legislature.22 Smythe enlisted membership of his Constructive League and the battle was joined in what turned out to be a sectional battle with the San Francisco Chronicle speaking for the Water and Forest Association and the Los Angeles Times editorial page backing the opponents of the Works bill. Smythe took part in the campaign and spoke at San Francisco and again in Sacramento where he answered the arguments presented by Judge Works, President Wheeler and William H. Mills. The upshot was that the bill was withdrawn and submitted to members of the Association for further consideration when it lacked support in the Legislature. Smythe took full credit for his Constructive League in blocking passage of the measure. Almost a year later he advocated that his followers in the League rejoin the Water and Forest Association and work for development of Reclamation Service projects in California.23

The contest with the Water and Forest Association marked a dramatic change in allegience for Smythe. In the chain of events that led to the passage of the Reclamation Act of 1902 two federal agencies sought to dominate irrigation activities in the West.24 George Maxwell, erstwhile California lawyer and lobbyist, launched his National Irrigation Association financed by the western railroads as a rival of the Irrigation Congress movement, claimed credit for passage of the Newlands Act and sought to put an end to Elwood Mead’s Department of Agriculture irrigation activities in the various states, most notably California. Maxwell condemned the Water and Forest Association program for water law reform in the state. Mead believed that the real reason Smythe became alienated from the Association at this time was the financial straits he found himself in after the Congressional campaign.25 Whatever the reason, Smythe’s close ties with Mead were severed by the end of 1902 and the San Diego reformer joined forces with Maxwell and was thence-forward a zealous advocate of Reclamation Service projects in the West.

Smythe’s literary activities in 1903 confined him pretty largely to his pleasant study with its broad prospect encompassing the city of the Silver Gate and to the agreeable task of enlisting his fellow townsmen, Californians and his national public in support of federal governmental programs of resource utilization. If he were a free lance writer, as he would later claim, it was certainly true that his articles appearing in the Southern California press, in Charles Lummis’ Out West and in the National Irrigation Association publications of George Maxwell all supported the Roosevelt Administration’s conservation programs.26 Smythe had become the apostle for western development through national programs funded by the federal government. He celebrated the triumph of national irrigation by narrating the stages of each Reclamation Service project. He defended the principle that Reclamation Project water must be provided for settlers on adjoining but non-homestead government land which seemed to run counter to his oft-expressed family farm concept. He trumpeted widely the feature that interested all California promotional groups, which was the contention that under irrigation small acreages were sufficient to subsist farm families and thus national reclamation would bring a vast augmentation of California’s rural population. He reiterated the theme that was so characteristic of Reclamation Service publicity handouts of the time: National engineers were non-political; technically skilled experts and reclamation was carried on at no expense to the taxpayer through the Reclamation Fund while its financial management used the soundest business methods. The much more elaborate and profusely illustrated second edition of Smythe’s Conquest of Arid America was prepared for future publication with the fullest cooperation of the Reclamation Service.27Meanwhile in 1903 Smythe wrote extensively attacking the Desert Land Law, the commutation feature of the Homestead Act and advocated the leasing of public lands for grazing purposes. These pleas anticipated the Roosevelt Administration’s push for land law reform in Congress culminating in the Land Law Commission of 1903 and 1904. There was little doubt that Smythe was privy to the planks being formulated by Gifford Pinchot, Frederick Newell, W. J. McGee, James Garfield and others — the little coterie of leaders advising President Roosevelt in conservation matters.28Obviously Smythe had given up his broad program to reform Twentieth Century California through state legislation when he terminated his department in the Out West magazine with the December, 1903, issue.29 His attention was focused on the national government. Although his new program of action deprecated private irrigation undertakings and ignored state governments, it counseled harmony among national departments. When San Diego’s irrigation crusader spoke at the Ogden meeting of the National Irrigation in September, 1903, he said: “This movement should loyally support every department of the government’s work — the Forestry Bureau and Gifford Pinchot, the Reclamation Service and Frederick Newell, the Irrigation Investigations and Elwood Mead.”30

Imperial Valley caught the attention of the San Diego promoter in the spring of 1904. Smythe became head of a water users’ association established in Imperial Valley. Consequently he testified before Congressional committees in March and April, 1904, opposing the so-called Daniels bill which would have given Congressional sanction for the California Development Company to take water out of the Colorado River for irrigation purposes.31His arguments were in support of the Reclamation Service buying out the property of the private company and linking the private effort with its Yuma project soon to be developed behind the Laguna Dam upstream on the Colorado. Smythe maintained close contact with Frederick Newell in Washington and seemed to be the government’s mouthpiece before Congress and in the Valley as well. He launched a campaign against the California Development Company with a notable address May 7th in San Diego before an Isis Theatre audience which included Governor Pardee as honored guest.32 He struck the right note initially with his statement: “If there is any city on the face of the earth that longs to be great, it is the city of San Diego.” But San Diego lacked the elements of greatness. “Merely to be the charming capital of the American Riviera can never fill the measure of our ambitions for the municipality. We want to be one of the cities of the world with agriculture behind us and commerce before us and with trade and manufactures grasped firmly in our hands.” This greatness can only come through partnership with Uncle Sam. More particularly after recounting the legislative battle that led to the tabling of the Daniels bill and a depiction of all the harmful consequences of granting this corporation control of the Colorado River, Smythe received the backing of his audience for governmental operation of Imperial Valley reclamation. Smythe spoke with authority as he noted his interviews President Roosevelt, Newell, Secretary of the Interior E. A. Hitchcock and members of Congress. Of particular importance to San Diego was the enlarged program of the Reclamation Service that would bring 750,000 settlers into its various projects watered by the Colorado River. These dams would store the floods, equalize the flow of the river and develop electricity for the metropolis of San Diego county. Only the federal government could assure completion of these works and with its superior financial base would never be affected by trade recessions.33

The contest for government control of Imperial Valley was resolved in the Valley and Smythe played an important role.34 He presided at a meeting where Director Newell talked to leaders of the water users’ association such as F. G. Havens and Paul Van Dimas at Imperial and appeared constantly before public groups strengthening the membership of the association. Finally at a climactic assembly on July 25th a debate between Smythe and Company President A. H. Heber brought decisive action with Heber finally proposing to sell the company’s property interests to the government at a price to be arbitrated. The scenario then involved the maneuver of the company to contract with the Mexican Government for water rights and to open a new cut-off for tapping the Colorado River in Mexican territory. The federal government refused to negotiate a purchase of company property complicated by these international considerations. Private enterprise had won and the federal government remained completely out of the picture even during the disaster period starting in August, 1905, when the Colorado River changed its course and flooded through the Valley to the Salton Sea. Even with the new developments, passions were still aroused over the issue of government control such that, years later, leaders in the communities of Imperial, Holtville and Calexico blamed government spokesmen such as Smythe for the attempt to take over the California Development Company. In the meantime San Diego citizens remained interested and even concerned, but not involved during the monumental struggle of the Southern Pacific Railroad to force the river back into its banks. After the engineering feat was finally accomplished in February, 1907, city leaders attempted to improve relations with the interior communities.

There were those who said that Smythe’s manifold activities in organizing the Imperial Valley Water Users’ Association in 1904 and securing backing of San Diego public opinion for federal reclamation in the Valley were motivated by political ambitions. Certain it is that the Spreckels’ papers, theUnion and Tribune, saw Smythe as a political force within the Democratic party. He was given the cognomen “Boss Smythe,” for his efforts on behalf of the Democratic candidate for mayor, James Wadham, in 1903.35 In August of the next year he announced to the press that he was much too involved in the movement for government reclamation in the Valley to enter his name in the Congressional race again but did plan to campaign in the Western states for the national Democratic ticket. He had long been a close friend of Democrat Francis Newlands of Nevada. He offered his services as a Democratic speaker to him because he believed “a great struggle is coming between mankind and money-kind, between those who believe the earth and its fullness thereof belongs to all and those who stand for special privilege.”36 Then Smythe took to the hustings and credited the Democrats with irrigation and development of the resources of the West and denounced the Republicans for imperialistic adventures. The San Diego Union printed a dispatch which queried Smythe about the different tune he was “playing on his old trombone” turning from high praise of Theodore Roosevelt two years ago to condemnation now.”37

The publication of Smythe’s popular book of essays titled Constructive Democracy: the Economics of a Square Deal in the fall of 1905 added luster to his reputation as a national literary figure whose willingness to support advanced social reform proposals strengthened the Progressive reform forces.38 His loyalty to President Roosevelt was attested to by the sub-title and by his praise of Bureau of Corporations head, James R. Garfield. He plugged the idea of Congressional incorporation of American national business firms and the work of the Reclamation Service. The book was dedicated to Senator Newlands and many chapters dealt with the so-called Newlands Plan to regulate the rail system through the Interstate Commerce Commission using the devices of national taxation and control of dividends of these common carriers. There is evidence that the book was made possible through funds advanced by Newlands for this impecunious author. The work had been started early in 1904 under the titleSurplus Man, and a portion dealt with the agricultural solution to technological unemployment which national reclamation offered. The reforms embraced by New Zealand’s system of industrial democracy also were advanced by the author as he put together a comprehensive system of reforms which made constructive democracy an alternative to socialism.

A most favorable review of Smythe’s book appeared in the Union at the time of publication.39 Although Smythe ardently favored municipal ownership of utilities and supported the election of Captain John L. Sehon as mayor at this time, the city’s principal newspaper apparently liked what Smythe had to say about San Diego’s railroad problem. The year 1905 represented the opening of the door to acceptance of Smythe by the predominant business interests in San Diego. The Western Slope Association accelerated this process.

The genesis of the Western Slope movement went back to the El Paso meeting of the National Irrigation Congress in November, 1904. Smythe there proposed a new scheme of cooperation between state and federal officials and a new system of financing additional reclamation projects.40 The plan involved the use of the famed California irrigation district device to raise money through the sale of bonds with such funds then being used to reimburse engineers of the Reclamation Service who would carry on the necessary surveys and supervise the construction of storage reservoirs. Ultimately the new projects would be returned to district officers to manage. The Western Slope Association was initiated by the imaginative pen of Smythe in a long letter to the San Diego Union on May 21, 1905, and the proposal was welcomed by manager James MacMullen, in a favoring editorial in the same issue.41 “If there ever was a region for which God did much and man did little, it is the western slope of this county” was the way this local dreamer and developer introduced his theme. Everyone knew of the agricultural wealth that was being produced in the western section of the county at Imperial, but most overlooked the potential in the San Diego or western district. Water was the key to this development. The long anticipated railroad and harbor improvement would follow automatically the building of reservoirs along the Western Slope, making possible agriculture and townsite development based on this conservation of water resources. Some twelve reservoirs were necessary for the stretch running from the San Luis Rey River to the Mexican border. Such a system would entail purchase of private water works in being, but they would be acquired fairly and with just compensation. Although Smythe admitted he was not personally acquainted with John D. Spreckels nor had he talked to any representative of the Spreckels interests who controlled the Southern California Mountain Water Company, he had no doubt that the Western Slope proposal would meet with the capitalist’s approval because of its comprehensive scope and the wealth it would add to the county. Smythe envisioned 10,000 new homes based on the 200,000 acres that would be reclaimed under the project. He anticipated new settlements in the Back Country would be tied to San Diego by inter-urban electric lines. Smythe mentioned his conversations with Reclamation Chief Newell on his visit to Washington in the spring where Administration backing was promised subject to assurance of unified community support.42 Perhaps the federal engineer was thinking of the public squabbles in Imperial Valley the preceding year.

Ready response came from the community as Smythe was invited to present his immediate proposals before the Chamber of Commerce.43 Money would be available, said Smythe, from the sale of district bonds since the credit of the United States Government would be behind them in this cooperative program which would employ U.S. Reclamation engineers. The immediate concern was to secure part of the joint investigations fund contributed by the California legislature and the federal Congress for Reclamation Service investigations in California. A letter was drafted to Governor Pardee signed by a large and representative number of leading citizens asking that some of the surveys be carried out in San Diego’s Western Slope in addition to the Sacramento Valley. The timing of the campaign was most fortunate as it coincided with a much publicized tour of government projects by leading Congressmen, members of the committees on irrigation, with Reclamation Service engineers as guides.44 The tour concluded with the dedication of the first federal reclamation project, the Truckee-Carson in Nevada, June 17, 1905. Governor Pardee in company with Smythe talked to federal officials and secured a promise of an initial survey of San Diego’s Western Slope by federal engineers.45 September 30 saw the permanent organization of the Association achieved, a constitution adopted and a banner list of notables selected for the executive committee and council of fifty to back up President Smythe. Included were Mayor John L. Sehon, James MacMullen, Republican leader Charles S. Hardy, Ed Fletcher, realtor, U. S. Grant, Jr., who would soon erect the famous hostelry named after his distinguished father, and others.46

As the threat of public ownership of water resources loomed on the horizon the Spreckels concern initiated a contract that largely annulled the long range plans for the Western Slope Association.47 Despite the veto of Mayor Sehon who favored public ownership, the city council adopted a ten year contract with the Southern California Mountain Water Company and this company undertook a long range development program involving the utilization of five large reservoirs. Smythe, although careful to note his neutrality in the struggle between the Mayor and some council members against the Spreckels forces, did defend Mayor Sehon from the charge that he was playing politics with water and was trying to drive John D. Spreckels out of town.48 He advised settlement of the dispute as rapidly as possible; San Diego’s future progress depended upon maintaining civic harmony.

Smythe found the settlement with the private company cleared the air respecting the vexatious condemnation question and surveys next were necessary. A preliminary investigation was carried out by a reclamation engineer in September. A former state engineer of Colorado, J. S. Greene, was hired to coordinate plans and Smythe made another visit to Washington to expedite federal action in November.49 Two years later when the stream flow measurements of the Western Slope were completed and published by the Reclamation Service, Smythe reported the status of the Western Slope program. The government saw little need for further work on the Western Slope as the Reclamation Service refused to compete with private enterprise.50 Furthermore reclamation costs were considerably higher in this region and the limited finances available under the Reclamation Fund precluded this sort of project. The Western Slope program was finished, but this widely supported promotional project had stimulated John D. Spreckels to launch his privately financed reservoir construction program that made the Southern California Mountain Water Company the principal supplier of water for the city, for vast areas of fruit lands south and east of the city and for Coronado. In 1910 Smythe presented a comprehensive lecture on San Diego’s water system that was illustrated with lantern slides of the Southern California Company’s water works for the benefit of the visiting League of California Municipalities.51

Smythe was very fond of his adopted city. San Diego was home for him and his family regardless of tempting offers to undertake development work elsewhere. He often spoke of the ineffable charm of San Diego and how difficult it was to describe it by written or spoken word.

Stand in the great park when the sun of the afternoon transforms the ocean into a shield of shining gold. Turn your eyes to the mountains and behold the endless wonder of their shadows and changing lights. Look upon the glorified sky of evening after the sun goes beyond Point Loma. Walk with tender and living night under the shining archway of the stars and you shall feel the charm of San Diego as a nameless exaltation no one can describe.52

With rhetoric like this Smythe found no difficulty winning friends among the promotion-minded leaders of the Chamber of Commerce. His message was personalized, direct and freed from the cheap materialistic drivel of the usual booster. He was speaking from his own family’s circumstances when he said:

We can only say that we’d rather live here than anywhere else in God’s green earth and that is why we want a great many more to live here too. We need them in building upon these shores a city that shall be great, not merely in wealth and numbers but as the highest expression of civilization where God has done so much; for man, if he would be otherwise than contemptible, must realize his own best possibilities.

He led a Chamber of Commerce drive to obtain a thousand new members in 1906.53 Underway also was an ambitious literary endeavor underwritten by one hundred prominent citizens, his famous History of San Diego.54 The extensive research which he and his capable assistant, Millard F. Hudson, carried out provided Smythe with information which he constantly drew upon when giving public lectures. He had occasion then to list the civic accomplishments of the Chamber of Commerce dating back to its beginnings in 1879, thus encouraging new members to carry on the same publicspirited undertakings in the new year of 1906, which promised to be the most significant yet in San Diego’s history. The Chamber received the solid backing of the San Diego Union for its civic accomplishments and because it had refrained from political involvement over the years. It provided a forum where bitterly competing businessmen might associate freely and work for the common good.

In the summer of 1906 the Chamber of Commerce designated three of its members — Ed Fletcher, Fred Jewett and Smythe — to consider the convocation of a Colorado River Convention in San Diego during the first week in August, 1906.55 Plainly Smythe was behind this attempt to formulate and express public opinion on the conditions in the Imperial Valley resulting from the rampaging flood waters of the Colorado. The committee took notice of a recent Reclamation Service report on the situation which emphasized the necessity for the government to take control. Chambers of commerce, boards of trade, water users and property owners affected by these “deplorable” conditions were invited to send delegates to the convention which the San Diego Chamber fully endorsed. Smythe still had expectations for the Reclamation Service. The Spreckels interests, speaking through the San Diego Union editorial page, approved the convention and made light of the objections raised at Imperial over the assembly as an attempt to interfere with the work of the Southern Pacific in repairing the break.56 Imperial Valley interests would be fully represented and the broad topic of San Diego relations with the Valley would receive treatment. Conditions in the Valley had a direct bearing on the future San Diego and Yuma railroad. A storm of protest erupted from the Valley as businessmen at Imperial communicated with the coast city and protested this thinly disguised effort to introduce government interference once again.57 Ed Howe, editor of the Imperial Daily Standard, saw the promoter of the convention using their distress to lift himself into Congress. Communications from the interior ran strongly against the Colorado River Convention and old antagonisms resurfaced as a Mr. Edgar questioned his friends in San Diego. “You are not going to let Smythe lead you into adding troubles to our list surely? What’s the matter with Mr. Smythe? I took him to be a nobler man than one to put a false estimate on our conditions to give him a chance to jump up and abuse his neighbors.”58 As usual Smythe had the last word and assured his critics that while he did not speak for the government, nevertheless this convention was necessary to make plans for the extensive colonization of the Valley. Also at stake was the future railroad connection. The San Diego Chamber entertained visitors from Brawley and other Valley communities who seemed to favor the idea of the Convention, but the Chamber finally bowed out of the dispute by postponing the call for the Colorado River Convention until word was received from all the Imperial Valley Chambers of Commerce.59

At last by November, 1906, the Southern Pacific engineers gave assurance that the Colorado River was safely harnessed and San Diego sought to make its dream of a railroad to Imperial Valley a reality. Prior to this, for the preceding six years, a committee of the Chamber led by the well-known merchant, George Marston, had endeavored to get the San Diego and Eastern Railroad financed and under construction.60 Smythe wrote the prospectus for this railroad as one of his first literary undertakings after coming to the City of the Silver Gate. He accompanied members of this committee on its pilgrimage to New York City to win financial backing for this line. Committee funds raised by subscription had already carried on the basic engineering survey for a route to the Valley. Eastern capital refused to touch the project and the hex which Collis Huntington purportedly had once placed on San Diego’s transcontinental rail connections apparently still held. Under these circumstances promoter Smythe undertook a new maneuver that was typical of his way of thinking. He advanced a city charter amendment proposal that would empower the people of the city to construct, and if necessary even operate, a railway that would run from San Diego to the Colorado River.61 Smythe had been told after one fruitless search for Eastern money, “You may as well make up your mind that San Diego will never get a railroad until she builds it herself, or goes far enough with it to show that she actually intends to build it.” Here was the answer and it worked. When the charter amendment proposal came up, the Marston committee was in consultation with John D. Spreckels, San Diego’s “man of destiny.” The announcement of the birth of the San Diego and Arizona Railroad then followed as a matter of considerable surprise and delight as San Diego concluded its remarkable year of growth. The company, capitalized at six million dollars, with John D. Spreckels, A. B. Spreckels, William Clayton and Harry L. Titus as principal stockholders, was authorized to build its line to Yuma.62 Smythe was right. Water came first and then followed the railroad. Harbor improvements and the buildup of commerce and agriculture were in the future.

The year 1906 was “memorable for rapid growth and great undertakings” in the city of San Diego.63 The promise of adequate water and a rail connection with Imperial Valley made the principal newspaper in town regard that year as the turning point in San Diego history ushering in an era of stupendous development and progress. The decade started with a population of 19,000, reached 35,000 by 1906 and went to 50,000 in 1910.64This impressive growth was largely sparked by the Spreckels interests whose investments were the dominant catalyst in the city’s drive to catch up with Los Angeles. By common repute San Diego was called a “one-man town.”65 Spreckels money controlled the Coronado Hotel and large realty interest at Coronado where John Spreckels’ residence was built in 1906, the San Diego Electric Railway, the San Diego Union and Evening Tribune, which were housed in a new six story structure erected in 1906, the Southern California Water Company and, supposedly, the San Diego and Arizona Railroad. After a pause during the Panic of 1907 which delayed completion of the U.S. Grant Hotel and slowed construction of the San Diego and Arizona Railroad, the pace of business and building resumed in 1908. The Spreckels financial domination did not go unchallenged. Notable challengers were a former partner, E. S. Babcock, Ed Fletcher, land and water developer, and Edward W. Scripps, publisher of the San Diego Sun. A special edition of the Union (July 13, 1906) celebrating the growth and opportunities in San Diego carried the message of C. F. Willard, famous for promotional work in Los Angeles. San Diego must learn the lesson of her sister city that metropolitan growth would come only through harmony of business interests.66 Business rivalry led to disputes that erupted in the courts and disturbed social relations and the regular Republican political organization during the decade. Through it all the Chamber of Commerce continued to be the vehicle that mediated discordant elements in the name of a greater San Diego.

William Clayton, the omnipresent efficient business manager of the Spreckels companies, firmly believed in the Chamber of Commerce and in a greater San Diego. It was he who suggested to the Chamber that a lecturer be sent throughout the East to tout San Diego as a tourist attraction in the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake and fire in order to allay national anxieties that all of California was stricken.67 A flower association was sponsored to give San Diego an annual flower festival comparable to the Los Angeles Fiesta and Pasadena Rose Parade.68 The Chamber sponsored visits of Imperial residents to the coastal city and an excursion of San Diego’s prominent citizenry to Valley cities.69 It encouraged San Diego as the site for conventions. The secretary of the Chamber, John S. Mills, boomed small acreage farmsteads in the hinterland.70 Smythe’s assistant, Millard E. Hudson, was appointed San Diego’s representative at the Rivers and Harbors Congress.71 A continuing campaign of the Chamber was to secure a federal building for the city and a naval repair station as the first step in winning its capacious harbor as the naval base for Pacific fleet units.

Smythe was an especially valuable agent of this forward looking Chamber of Commerce. This erstwhile reformer now served the established order. He had proved to be a lightweight political candidate and circumstances militated against a large governmental role. He was most successful as a speaker and as a writer. San Diego came to know him well in both capacities. The San Diego Union no longer placed him in the category of knocker or croaker to which enemies of the Spreckels regime were relegated. As a public lecturer he was the principal speaker at the Panama Railroad Celebration in San Diego, July 12, 1905.72 He represented the Chamber of Commerce again, delivering the address of welcome when the state school superintendents met at the Coronado Hotel in November, 1906.73 His researches in San Diego history enabled him to develop the then novel complaint that history textbooks ignored the Spanish exploration and colonization chapters of American history. This was an interesting approach for a native New Englander who, over the long years of a writing and speaking career, had celebrated the Mayflower Compact and the sturdy virtues of our Pilgrim forebears. Then at the New England Society picnic in September, 1907, Smythe spoke again in his more traditional vein on “The Yankee in California” and, incidentally praised the achievements of plant breeder Luther Burbank.74 Smythe addressed the community on behalf of the 150,000 Club, a promotional venture of the Chamber of Commerce, and was highlighted as the orator at the dedication of the Dulzura Conduit, an important link in the Spreckels water system.75

Smythe’s greatest contribution to San Diego has proven to be his History of San Diego. The work began in the fall of 1905 and took more than a year to complete.76 Significantly the book was dedicated to “the friendship of the people of San Diego” and the author wanted his endeavor to serve as a “modest memorial to my citizenship among the people of San Diego.” The venture signified Smythe’s full acceptance into the community by all elements of the town leadership. It also represented a municipal coming of age and civic consciousness by these leaders who were willing to underwrite a comprehensive portrayal of San Diego’s history as they looked to a future greater San Diego. One hundred prominent citizens contributed to a publication fund to bring it to fruition. At publication date the San Diego Union editorialized:

It is quite safe to predict that this splendid historical work will be widely read and studied, not only in California but by people in distant parts of the United States who follow the story of American progress. Hence, it is entirely possible that the book will be influential in supplying a new viewpoint to writers and teachers, and in awakening deep interest not only in regard to the city’s past but in regard to its present and future, as well.77

The commercially-minded subscribers of Smythe’s San Diego literary annals were pleased that a representative of See America First magazine said he was attracted to San Diego when he picked up Smythe’s History in New York City and decided to do sketches of prominent men in the coast city for his journal.78 Smythe believed that the commanding position San Diego held in the new Pacific world at the dawn of the Twentieth Century meant she should be cognizant of her past history. She must now rectify the carelessness of previous historians in slighting the preeminence of her beginnings.

The volume was distinguished for its comprehensive coverage of San Diego’s history, for its documentation and objectivity and its literary style. Smythe set out to amplify the story of Old San Diego. The book depended upon the services of assistant, Millard F. Hudson, whose industry and scholarship was of such caliber that Smythe regarded him as a sort of joint-author.79 The idea for the venture had been Nathan Watts’ whose concern for the preservation of early manuscripts and the transcription of interviews with pioneers brought the undertaking into being and inspired it. “Father” Horton was but one of the pioneers whose reminiscences became a part of the “oral history” that added a wealth of detail to the narrative. The Mission and Old Town chapters were given prominence as Smythe sought to establish a new vantage point in interpreting American history. Civic leaders led by George Marston were so impressed by Smythe’s History that they started the preservation program for Presidio Hill at this time.80 The history project used library resources gathered throughout California in the search for primary materials and set up shop for an extended period in the San Diego Union offices to ferret out minutiae from this paper’s files. While free from the footnoting apparatus of the usual scholarly history, Smythe’s compendious listing of works cited proved the documentation of the work to be substantial. The chapters on the turn of the century contemporary history and civic institutions proved his capacity for a measured and balanced interpretation of tempestuous times when powerful individuals struggled for domination. Smythe was troubled that the literary merits of the volume would suffer from the inclusion of this reference material designed to acquaint Americans with San Diego’s prospects. However the History of San Diego has stood the test of time and has won the tribute of being “the most authoritative and best written older general history of San Diego before 1900.81

One may take leave of William E. Smythe of San Diego in 1908 at the point that his career took a new direction. From 1908 until 1916 Smythe did his part in the national “back-to-the-land” movement by launching a Little Lander colonization program. While the colony at nearby San Ysidro was the focus of his attention, Smythe’s later interest was in state-wide politics and in Little Lander colony expansion in Los Angeles and the San Francisco area.

And what of Smythe’s role in San Diego’s decade of growth? As a prophet of Imperial Valley’s future greatness he was without honor in his own town. City leaders did not recognize him as one of their own, especially when he mouthed the gospel of socialism: government ownership of local utilities and federal reclamation of Imperial Valley. The message was clear that San Diego’s destiny was tied to the wealth of Imperial Valley. San Diego’s capitalists did not act on Smythe’s vision. The Spreckels-Harriman San Diego and Arizona Railroad was launched too late and with crippling handicaps so that Los Angeles captured the Imperial Valley trade.82 Smythe’s confidence in the Reclamation Service as an agent of economic development in the Imperial Valley and in the Western Slope environs of San Diego was misplaced. In the days when money talked, his idealistic reform campaigns made little impress. Smythe might have claimed a quarter section of mesquite covered Valley land during his first journalistic foray there in 1900 and might have sold it for $3,000 in 1907.83 Instead his mind dwelt on grandiose colonization programs to help Senator Newlands promote immigration of farm families to Nevada or a federal government railroad connecting Yuma and Spokane.84 Smythe was a dreamer. San Diego came to appreciate him most as a superb phrase-maker and orator who promoted a booming San Diego under its business leadership. Today his local reputation is confined to his authoritative History of San Diego.


1. James, George Wharton, Heroes of California (Boston, 1910).

2. Smythe, William E., The Conquest of Arid America. Introduction by Lawrence B. Lee (Seattle, 1969), W. H. Porterfield, xxix-xliii.

3. Ibid., 261-271.

4. Porterfield, W. H., “Sweeping Triumphantly through the State,” Water and Forest, I (November, 1900), 1, 11.

5. Letter, Mead to True, November 18, 1899, R.G. 8, National Archives.

6. San Diego Union, September 6, 1900, p. 7.

7. Letter, Smythe to Mead, November 7, 1901, R.G. 8, National Archives; Smythe, William E., “The Irrigation Problems of Honey Lake Basin, California,” Report of Irrigation Investigations in California, directed by Elwood Mead (Washington, D.C., 1902), 71-113.

8. Letter, Smythe to Mead, August 20, 1901, R.G. 8, National Archives.

9. Smythe, William E., “An International Wedding” Sunset, V (October, 1900), 286-300; San Diego Union, August 13, 1901, p. 9.

10. Letter, Smythe to Long, March 14, 1901, William E. Smythe Jr. Collection, Marysville, California.

11. Mead, Elwood, Irrigation Institutions: A Discussion of the Economic and Legal Questions created by the Growth of Irrigated Agriculture in the West (New York, 1903).

12. Letter, Smythe to Mead, October 8, 1901, R.G. 8, National Archives.

13. Letter, Smythe to Mead. October 3, 1901, R.G. 8, National Archives; Land of Sunshine, XIV (July, 1901), 61-64; Smythe, William E., “The Blooming of a Sahara,” World’s Work, II (October, 1901), 1261-70; Smythe, William E., “Irrigation in the West: A Plan of Action for the National Government,” Review of Reviews, XXV (January, 1920), 75-80.

14. Water and Forest, I (February, 1908), 8.

15. Land of Sunshine, XV (July, 1901), 61.

16. Smythe to Mead, August 29, 1901, R.G. 8, National Archives; Out West, XVI (February, 1902), 197-200; Ibid., XVIII (March, 1903), 396.

17. Bingham, Edwin, Charles F. Lummis (San Marino, 1955), 145-151.

18. San Diego Union, September 9, 13, 19, 23, 1902, October 2, 3, 9, 13, 14, 16, 21, 1902.

19. Ibid., October 22, 25, 27, 28, 29, 31, 1901, November 2, 1902.

20. Smythe, William E., “Running for Congress,” Out West, V (December, 1902), 758-765; Smythe, Bensel R., “A Long Memory of Life with Father” (MS, 1968); Pourade, Richard F., Gold In the Sun (San Diego, 1965), 35-36.

21. Smythe, William E., “Failings of Water and Forest Commission,” Out West, XVII (December, 1902), 752-755.

22. San Diego Union, December 30, 1902.

23. Smythe, William E., “Defeat of the Works Bill,” Out West, XVIII (March, 1903), 381-389; Water and Forest, III (April, 1903), 6; Smythe, William E., “The Logic of Events,” Out West, XIX (August, 1903), 223-236.

24. Letter, Maxwell to President Woodrow Wilson, September 23, 1917, Newlands Correspondence, Yale University Library; Paul S. Gates, History of Public Land Law Development (Washington, D.C., 1968), pp. 666-667.

25. Letter, Mead to James Wilson, Berkeley, November 18, 1902, R.G. 8, National Archives.

26. Letter, Maxwell to Messrs. Smith, Brown & Jones, Indianapolis, April 14, 1920, R.G. 115, National Archives; Smythe, William E., “Defends the Government Scheme for Reclamation of Arid Lands,” Bakersfield Californian, October 7, 1903; Smythe, William E., “Triumph of National Irrigation,”Review of Reviews, XXX (July, 1904), 49-51.

27. Smythe, William F., The Conquest of Arid America, 294-326.

28. Newell Diaries, F. H. Newell Papers, Library of Congress.

29. Out West, XX (January, 1904), 103-104.

30. The Official Proceedings, Eleventh National Irrigation Congress (Ogden, Utah, 1903), 191.

31. Los Angeles Sunday Times, March 27, 1904; Alexander, J. A., The Life of George Chaffey (Melbourne, Australia, 1928), pp. 329-332.

32. San Diego Union, May 7, 1904; Tout, Otis B., The First Thirty Years (San Diego, 1931), pp. 97-98.

33. San Diego Union, May 12, June 28, 1904; Smythe, William E., “The Fate of the Rio Colorado,” Out West, XX (June, 1904), 187-504.

34. Schonfeld, Robert G., “The Early Development of California’s Imperial Valley,” Southern California Quarterly, L (September, December, 1968), 279-307, 395-426.

35. San Diego Union, April 2, 1905.

36. Letter, Smythe to Newlands, August, 1904, Newlands correspondence, Yale University Library; San Diego Union, August 20, 1901.

37. Ibid., October 10, 1904.

38. Smythe, William E., Constructive Democracy (New York, 1905); Letter, Smythe to Newlands, March 11, 1905, Newlands Correspondence, Yale University library.

39. San Diego Union, October 2, 1905; Out West, XXIII (October, 1905), 377-378.

40. Smythe, William E., “A Success of Two Centuries,” Out West. XXII (January, 1905), 72-76.

41. San Diego Union, May 21, 1905.

42. Newell Diaries, Newell Papers, Library of Congress.

43. San Diego Union, May 27, 1905.

44. Ibid., June 11, 17, 18, 1905.

45. Ibid., June 23, 1905; Smythe, William E., “When the Gates were Lifted on the Truckee,” Out West, XXIII (August, 1905), 101-112.

46. San Diego Union, October 1, 1905.

47. Ibid., October 17, 1905.

48. Ibid., November 5, 1905.

49. Ibid.. November 9, 1905; May 13, 1906.

50. Ibid., January 27, 1908.

51. Ibid., November 13, 1910.

52. Ibid., April 3, 1908.

53. Ibid., February 20, 1906; McGraw, Clarence A., City of San Diego and San Diego County (Chicago, 1922), p. 180

54. Smythe, William E., History of San Diego 1542-1908 (San Diego, 1907), pp. 17-19; San Diego Union, January 1, 1908.

55. San Diego Union, July 14, 1906.

56. Ibid., July 17, 1906.

57. Ibid., July 18, 19, 1906.

58. Ibid., July 24, 25, 1906,

59. Ibid., July 21, 1906; Letter, C. E. Tait to Mead, September 10, 1906, R.G. 8, National Archives.

60. San Diego Union, September 8, 1907.

61. Ibid., November 24, 1906.

62. Ibid., December 14, 1906.

63. Ibid.

64. Ibid., June 20, 1910.

65. Fletcher, Ed (ward), Memoirs of Ed Fletcher (San Diego, 1952), p. 207; Choate, Rufus, “A Taped Interview of Reminiscences,” Journal of San Diego History, XI (June, 1965) 40-49.

66. San Diego Union, July 13, 1906.

67. Ibid., July 7, 1906.

68. Ibid., April 13, 1907.

69. Ibid., June 13, 1908.

70. Ibid., June 25, 1908.

71. Ibid., November 28, 1907.

72. Ibid., July 4. 1907: Smythe, William E., “San Diego Owns the Future,” Out West, XXIII (August, 1905), 193-195.

73. San Diego Union, November 21, 1906.

74. Ibid., September 1, 1907.

75. Ibid., January 17, 1909.

76. Ibid., January 1, 1907.

77. Ibid., November 24, 1907.

78. Ibid., March 1, 1907.

79. Millard F. Hudson’s name first appears as the proprietor of a tent hotel in the embryo town of Imperial in 1900. Howe and Hall, The Story of the First Decade, p. 65. He was Smythe’s capable assistant in the History of San Diego Project. Subsequently he was Francis G. Newlands’ secretary in Washington.

80. “The Origin of Presidio Park and Junipero Serra Museum,” Journal of San Diego History, XV (Summer, 1969), 9-12; Pourade, Gold in the Sun, p. 125.

81. Adams, John R., Books and Authors of San Diego (San Diego, 1966), p. 198; Stone, Joe, “William E. Smythe Biography of Historian Told,” San Diego Union, March 19, 1972.

82. Hendricks, William O., “Developing San Diego’s Desert Empire,” Journal of San Diego History, XVII (Summer, 1971), 1-11.

83. San Diego Union, May 17, 1908.

84. Letter, Smythe to Newlands, December 14, 1905, Newlands Correspondence, Yale University Library; San Diego Union, November 26, 1907.

Lawrence B. Lee is Professor of History, California State University, San Jose. He received his Ph.D. in History at the University of Chicago (1957) and has taught at Fort Hays Kansas State College, the University of Detroit and Northwestern University. He has been at San Jose since 1957. Professor Lee’s specialty is Western American and Agricultural History and he has written numerous articles in these fields.