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Salton Sea: CA's Overlooked Treasure

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Ainsworth, Edward Maddin, Beckoning Desert. 1962 New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc

Bailey, Philip A., Golden Mirages. 1940. New York: The MacMillan Co.

Bums, Helen, Salton Sea Story. 1952. Palm Desert, California: Desert Magazine Press.

Coachella Valley Water District, Review 1991-93. Published by the District Resources Office

Davis, Arthur R, New Inland Sea, The. 1907. January issue of the National Geographic, Vol. XVIU, No. I Pp 37-49.

de Stanley, Mildred, The Salton Sea Yesterday and Today. 1966. Los Angeles: Triumph Press.

Duryea, Edwin, Jr., Salton Sea Menace, The. 1906. January issue of Out West.

Gunther, Jane Davis, Riverside County Place Names. 1984. Riverside, Ca.: Rubidoux Printing Co.

Harrington, R.E., Souvenirs of the Palm Springs Area. 1962. Simi, California: (Printed by Peg Wilson.)

Hoyt, Franklyn, He Discovered the Dead Sea of the Cahuillas. 1956. July issue of Desert Magazine.

Hudson, Roy F., Forgotten Desert Artist. 1979. Palm Springs: The Desert Museum Press.

Imperial Irrigation District, Historic Salton Sea and Imperial Irrigation District, 1960. El Centro, California: Imperial Printers

Irelan, William, First Biennial Report (being the eleventh report issued by this State Mineralogist) 1893. Sacramento.

Kennan, George, Salton Sea, The: An Account of Harriman's Fight With the Colorado River. 1917. New York: The Macmillan Company.

Leadabrand, Russ, Salton Sea. (from Westways articles Exploring California Byways) February 1961.

Murbarger, Nell, He Was Monarch of Mullet Island. 1952. May issue of the Palm Springs Villager.

Oertle, V. Lee, Salton Sea Shoreline Guide. 1964. Palm Desert California: Desert-Southwest Publishing Co.

Patterson, Tom, Out of the County's Past. 1987. A series of articles in the Riverside Press Enterprise.

Pepper, Choral, Desert Lore of Southern California. 1994. San Diego, California: Sunbelt Publications, Inc.

Romer, Margaret, History of Calexico, A. 1922. Southern California Historical Society Annual Publications. (Vol. XH, Part U).

Ross, Delmer G., Gold Road to La Paz, An Interpretive Guide to the Bradshaw Trail. Essex, California: Tales of the Mojave Road Publishing Company

Rust, H. N., Desert Sea, The. 189 1. October issue of The California Illustrated Magazine. (No. 1, Vol. 1).

Sykes, Godfrey, Colorado Delta, The. 1937. Carnegie Institute of Washington. American Geographical Society, Special Publication No. 19. VII.

Water Education Foundation, The Salton Sea. 1994. Sacramento: Published in the March/April issue of Western Water.

Williamson, Lt. R.S., Report of explorations in California for Railroad Routes to Connect With the Routes Near the 35th and 32nd Parallels of North Latitude. 1856. Vol. V of Pacific Railroad Surveys. (Reports dated 1853-1856.) Washington: Beverly Tucker, Printer.

Woodbury, David 0., Colorado Conquest, The. 1941. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company.



It has been my very great pleasure to research and write this account of the history of the Salton Sea. The Archives of the Coachella Valley Museum are a wonderful source of pictures and information about this unique body of water, and its place in the life and development of the Coachella and Imperial Valleys. This is by no means an exhaustive study of the Salton Sea. Many fascinating news and fictional accounts could not be included because of space limitations most of the books cited in the accompanying biography are a part of the Museum's resources. My thanks to Dorothy Schmid, Geri Robertson and Connie Cowan for their help in gathering the materials from which this story was written.

One thing was lacking--a personal experience of the Salton Sea as it is today. I remembered family picnics at the sea in the early 1950s, but I had not spent any time there in the intervening 35 years--believing the largely negative articles in newspapers and magazines depicting its sorry decline. Those articles are not a part of this publication, again because of space limitations and the fact that they are of recent origin and probably well-known to today's readers. To see for myself what the sea was like, my husband and I drove around the sea from west to east on November 6, 1994, arriving at Salton Sea State Park at sunset. The words that follow are my attempt to describe what we experienced that day.

"At dusk the water is dark, but the reflection of the brilliant orange, gold, and misty blue of the sunset make the sea's surface a mirror of the sky. Birds glide silently by on the currents. Occasionally one takes off, leaving a glistening wake on the surface, and creating a graceful silhouette against a flaming sky.

The Santa Rosa Mountains in the west are dark now, but their ragged summits divide earth and sky with unimaginable beauty. Tiny lights, marking the western shore of the sea, are coming on at the base of the mountains. On the eastern side, the smell of campfires, the muffled sounds of families gathering as meals are being prepared at camp-sites and in motorhomes in the campground at the State Park, and the gentle lapping of waves on the beach--one lone fisherman still at the water's edge--all create a wonderful sense of what is right with the world. Here, at this moment and in this place, nature and man are at peace, and this view can only inspire awe, reverence, and deep gratitude for this treasure in our midst. The Salton Sea is a gift of inestimable worth--ours to take and make whole again if we will."

Pat Laflin
Indio, California
January 1995


Speed Boat racing


Boat Races on the Salton Sea--
Photo by Kent Hitchcock, Master Marine Photographers. Newport Harbor, California 


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