Covina Argus from Covina, California on December 26, 1908 · Page 23
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Covina Argus from Covina, California · Page 23

Covina, California
Issue Date:
Saturday, December 26, 1908
Page 23
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WATER WIZARDRY cTVlan's Rewarded Struggle for Reclamation of Plains. Covina Irrigating Company Holds Key to Country's Success. Wizard is Man and the '"•* Wand is Water, An eastern agricultural editor at one time printed a sub-caption beneath the name of his publication: "Man Made the City, God Made the Country." Like many other catch phrases, it doesn't tell the whole truth. When the courage of men oozes on the borders of a new land, and they turn back and build no habitation therein, it is a common thing to hear the land spoken of as "God-Forsaken," when it is man that has repudiated it, not the Inscrutable Power which fashioned it. Man is undeniably selfish find conceited. In Gray's "Elegy in a Country Churchyard," these lines appear: "Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air." The great poet betrayed his inate humanity when he uttered this conceit, reasoning that that which is not looked upon by man is wasted, forgetting that, man is only a-part of the Great Plan. So, lei us not divide the world into two parts, giving a portion to the credit of Man and a portion to God, for if the Creator of all things were to receive absolute credit, for the wondrous rejuvenation of some portions of our country, the humble finite toilers might well feel the injustice of it, while there never was a city built to permanence that did not bear the steadying hand of God, that the foundations might be rested upon a rock. Because the human groper into the mysteries of the world is. blind for a time as a kitten squirms the first few days in darkness, then it is that there are things said of the world that are not true. The Great American Desert figures in fiction as "The Country That God Forgot," and again—"The Land of Little Rain." These things seem true on the surface, but mislead, as man has been misled since he believed what the serpent said. With these seemingly irrelevant remarks, the author prepares you for an article dealing with what Man has done in a country God made, and it. does not matter if the country were originally made for man or not. Better Than Rain. In the first place, irrigation is a substitute for rain that has nroven itself to be better than rain. Irrigation was born of the early settler's desperation, of his awful necessity. Little by little he has improved on his first, crude methods, until rain, coming out of season, is a menace to his prosperity, upsets his plans, ruins his crops. In Southern California, the planter and the farmer is glad that his country is a "Land of Little Rain" in the summer. Let us tell you why, tell you so that you never will forget. Something occurred thousands o! ages after the formation of the world, which left the surface of the earth in Southern California in a wrinkled condition. The geologist would love to creep in on this conversation at this point, but we will get along without, him. The wrinkling of the earth's crust left a great barrier of towering mountain heads on the north of what is now known as Southern California, the Sierra Madre mountains. Long arms, or foothill ranges, stretch out and around to the south, embracing a great plain. The Spanish came to this country and reared a church to the Christian religion, and they named their house of worship the Mission San Gabriel. The level floor encompassed by the mountains, sloping gently to the southwest and to the sea, confronted here and there by short ranges of foothills which are the scattered debris of the ranges in the north, became known as the Valley of the San Gabriel, and the green mountain torrent that has its inception In the fastnesses of the Sierras, is the San Gabriel river, without which this valley would indeed be (ho "Country that God Forgoi." This river, as soon in the valley in tho suinmor, is dry on the surface, a great, winding stretch of sand. In the winter months, when a long storm has been swirling about the peaks of Mount Wilson and "Old Baldy," the river roars and quarrels with its course, bringing down sometimes great masses of mountain driftwood, rolling giant rocks down-stream, and the padres were wont to say that their patron saint was at work preparing the land for the long season of drouth to come. | Into this land camo the American adventurer. Thousands of acres lay covered with the natural verdure of the plains, which grows parched and brown as the summer advances. The Spanish owned I ho land, how great it was in acreage they did not definitely know, but, some cattle had been brought into the country and snoop were ranging the hills. The American had courage. He took up a portion of the Spanish grants, buying thousands j of acres for a pair of Spanish riding | bits, the land being practically given to him if ho would place caltlo and sheep upon it. A few other adventurous spirits joined him. But It was a most discouraging time, those first few years. There are aged, wealthy ranchers in the community now, who look back on that time, and state that "if it had been possible to have got leu out of the country we would have gone, but. we spent all our money to get here." There was no water in the summer. The nearest water was at the mouth of the San Gabriel canyon with tho exception of a few pitiable springs hero and there. The long drive with the stock to this canyon consumer! 11 mo, and barely sufficed to keep the animals alive through the months of drought. This condition existed for years, nothing but a bare living being made. By this time ranchers were scattered sparsely all over the upper valley. There was plenty of water in the canyon, but the river would not bring it down in the summer. The ranchers were poor and without organization. The rains of winter proved the marvelous fertility of the soil, but the plains sucked up the moisture ere the summer had scarcely begun, and surrounded by intelligent ranchers who only needed a leader. Now comos the story of the building up of a country that is moro intorosting than the fiction of the west which has boon scattered over this broad land of America, the true story of what man has dono for himself. Tho country might have boon llkonod to a groat safety deposit box from which tho combination had boon lost. Woalth lay within, but tho Groat Depositor waited for tho. hand of man to unlock it and mako tho wealth his own. The Ditch Diggers. Tho waters of tho San Gabriel soopod away into tho ground shortly after leaving the mouth of the canyon. An old ditch had already been begun, which embraced a portion of the lauds near the canyon, but tho water disappeared as it. did in the natural bod of the stream. Phillips organized the men of tho valley, embracing noarly every rancher In tho cove of Iho hills below tho mountains whore Iho rivor debouched into tho plain, and tho work of digging a long ditch to divert a portion of the San Gabriel rivor to Iho. hinds bolow was lakon up; an arduous task. Tho mon surveyed (ho lands for the course of tho ditch from the highest points In ordor that Iho water might, flow from tho best vantage point, for the irrigation of Iho properly along its banks. The Phillips ditch entered tho mouth of (he canyon, and as the old records do- scribe it, "followed a meandering course over the contour of the plain," keeping as far north in a southerly direction as possible. This ditch was brought down the valley for a distance of eight miles, and in that, first namod C'ovlnn. so that tnday ibis town in Its actual acreage, can Vic sat<l to bo iho original Phillips trad, and tho Phillips homostoad slill stands as tho farm-houso of tho fifty aero Adams ranch of orangos and lomons, known all over tho world as Iho 101 Dorado rancho. So that the sketch brings us to the story of tho present Irrigating company of this section. Its early history has boon touched upon and ox- plained. Tho Phillips ditch, as It was known, was eight miles long, and fit tod with wooden drops or dnms before cementing, at intervals along Us route, to divert tho water on to tho many holdings of stockholders, but tho system was of course crude and was naturally improved upon. Many individuals and small companies owned prior rights to the waters of tho San Gabriel, and as iho company progressed il became entangled in law-suits over riparian rights which nearly always ended unsatisfactorily for all concerned. So great was the contention over this "life-giving" rivor, (bat sen-- oral pliohod bailies woiv fought, when guns and kulvos played a conspicuous purl. All this trouble ended In ISSlt In tho famous compromise, in which all persons and companies agreed lo form a committee 1 of nine, eaoli parly being represented in this committee, and that these genllemon should divide the water equally In the canyon for all parlies concerned. Thus ended a controversy which cost thousands of dollars in maintaining Iho actions of Iho courts. Ton years ago the Covina Irrigating Company was formed from the old company, and is Iho present one furnishing all water for tho Covina district. Its present, board of directors is composed of A. P. Korckboff, .1. 11. lOlliot, ,1. O. llousor, K. IF. Laheo, (!. It. Kngolhard, J. H. Coolman. ,1. H. Collision, H. L. Reynolds and Charles Menefeo. Mr. Kerckhoff Is president, Mr. Collision vice-president, .1. H. Kl- Ilol superintendent, Iho First National Bank of Covina, treasurer, and H. K. Kdwards, secretary. Tho system of directing tho flow of waior from Die main ditch has changed absolutely In the past, ton years. The old ditch Is still the principal artery, but the company Is at. work at the present lime enclosing the water In cement Irrigating pipes from thirty to I'orly-olglil inches in diamotor, and wherever Iho flow cannot bo maintained through I lie largest pipe manufactured, the ditch will bo covered and arched in order cultivation and In full bearing for Hie most part. The Covina Irrigating Company supplies all I lie \vaier used for tho Covina domestic purposes, the domestic water being supplied to another company for this purpose. At all seasons this water is the same, pure and cool as a mountain spring. From the main artery run a series of i i,i,>...,! ,.|i-es IIO'MW iho sin-Tare, which embrace the entire country, so that | there is not a rod of land nntler tho irrigation system that is not reached | by the water from this company. | The course of the waler can be told ; hi a few words, so that Iho easterner 1 who bus never seen \\n Irrlgiiled conn- ! t ry can understand. Tho Sail Gabriel j river has Its Inception near the fool | of "Old Haldy," or .Mount San Antonio. . Twelve miles from the month of Iho 'canyon, tho river forks. Iho branches being known as Iho West Fork anil North Fork, and the river Is augment- led from Cafe ,'anyou, Cold Water Canvon, Iron Fork and Fish Fork. The ' ilileh begins 'it the month of the !canyon and trends south In a south! easterly dlroellnn. All Immense sub- j merged dam In the. canyon raises the subterranean water of Iho river to the surface, thus conserving all the waters of the rivor. AH Iho waler Hows toward tin 1 month it is lakon Into a division gate, whore Ihe waters are divided as per agreement In the compromise spoken of, tho work being under the supervision of men supplied by Ibis famous committee of nine. In a comimimllng position above Ihe town the main ditch empties Into a reservoir three acres In ox.lrnl, holding III'- loon million gallons. Here the waler Is never long hold, us II Is conserved by nlnhi anil run out ai.'aln liv day or vice versa, according as lo whether day or night Irrigating is bo- Ing done. So II will be seen that Iho waters of Ihe San Gabriel are practically on Ihe move from Ihe lime the ditch lakes Its toll from the running stream, "hive waler" for domestic purposes or for either domestic purposes or Irrigating Is provided twenly- I'our hours Iho day by I lie Covina Irrigating Company.' Water has been plentiful In the San Gabriel canyon since Iho Covina Irrigating company was formed, and Iho four thousand acres under Us charge have not suffered from lack of supply. Hut, In anticipation of a possible year of exceptional drouth, Iho company has established auxiliary wells, so that, (here can bo no possibility at any llmo Checked in its rush for a time, waiting the thirst of the Groves. (The Company's Largest Reservoir.) the land lay In the gloaming sun, hard ; and scorching, and Iho cattle kept lo | tho wooded urroyaK, grow poor; many ! of thorn died each year. It was a •country of the survival of ilio liliesl I in man and boast. ! Then came J. S Phillips. A man of I courage, energy, an organizer and a man trusted and well liked. He had made money In Iho mines of Iho north. In the valley there wore a few shallow wells thai had boon sunk by tho ranchers, but. many there were who made "the tedious; journey to iho mouth of tho canyon lo bring back water in barrels for the family. Phillips had purchased two thousand acres of the finest land in Iho valloy, lying but a few miles in a somberly direction from the canyon's mouth. Ho had money arid brains, and ho was San Gabriel River in Winter. achievement It was soon Ihal water could bo brought Us entire length, so far as the fall of Iho land was concerned, but Unit the stream became a mere dribble because of seepage, long before It reached the Phillips tract. | So the firsl year proved nothing save' thai the waler could bo successfully. dlvorlod, and, in a country when! labor find material were expensive, the ranchers went to work' with the long task of cementing tho entire distance, i This was the most heroic labor of Iho 1 entire enterprise, but when It had • boon accomplished the water was- ready for use, and tho country was changed Immediately from a parched i plain lo a land of commingled waiei and sunshine. Tho first stops In Irrigation had boon succosHful. The First Company. A company was formed, to lie known as tho Azusa Waler [jcvclop- rnonl and Irrigating Company, lakln}/ Its name from Iho township. In Ibis company Phillips owned over .",.onn .shares. Ho was tho life of I bo project, Its inceptor and largest shareholder, lie began to subdivide his two thousand acres. The company was Incorporated, June 7lh, 18S2, and water shares wont with every acre of Ihe hmd sold. Th<- Phillips I raft ln-t-an :o Keltic, u;, f;s-iU;r than any other portion of the upper valloy. fl soon was noen ihat tills was lo become an ontorpriK irix hamlet of ranchers. Tho pro.,i doni of tho Irrigating eomp;niv, M HaldridKO, proved a capable man for its inception, and such men aw K. >' GriswoM. Its Kf-orMary, K. fl. Thorn p Kon, Daniel I{elch;tnl, J. P. Kekler James Haldridt'o and others can bo looked upon as the pioneer:-! in ihi:: count rv which :-;h<v,v;-i i'-. mar. clou:: f(-i lilit v tod;iy The City of Today. The tract <-:nt,-ill vlded l.v J H I'lill li|/.-. \,<-i-:iini- ,'i 'ov/n 'Hid <h<- 'own wa-: that no water may bo lost by evaporation, and the cement encloses and keeps every drop of the water from .seepage, being superior In make lo the llrst application HI a do years ago when material was costly and money not lo lie had for licller woi kmaiiHliip. To got a picture of Ibis system of I ho f'ovlna Irrigating Company, H. must, first ho known thai, this company Is watering 4,000 acres every month In the year, all of which Is planted to orangos and loinons In a full Hlalo of of the orchards lacking Irrlgal Ion. In IXltX wells were sunk In l.ordnbm K, which Is considerably above Covina., and a pipe line built lo bring II the entire distance of ten miles beneath 'lie ground. The company linn in-l acres Miirroiindiiif.; the pumping plant ill I ui il;->l>ur:;, and there a re also two well:) In I lie San Dlma.u wash, half-way between Lordsburg and Covina, operated by up lo-dalo machinery, and ready I'm 1 line at Biich lime nn the main ditch should fall to supply everyone with sufficient water. A If di« work of Installing those wells, also th» general supervision of the company, falls on .1. It. Klllotf, whoso long roaiVfence In tho vfillry and bis connection for years with the water system has inflrta him the logical man for this undertaking. Ho has made Ihe Covina Irrigating company a successful concern, and throughout the valley he Is known as an authority on S;iu Gabriel water supply. Belongs to Stockholders. Not a share of Iho stork of Ibis company can bo procured for slock manipulation. H Is a company composed of Iho men who use the water. If a man bought shares In this waler supply without owning land, he iiilglM as well own a house without a lot lo put II on. When a rancher sells his land here, he sells his stock In Ihe walor company. All shares have been Issued Ihal Ihe company Intends lo Issue, When exchanges In stock are made II Is valued at the maximum of $. r iii per share, and a rancher generally needs about three shares to each acre. When the waler Is being accurately distributed a stockholder may have ;i i.ity-lnch flow, or a twenty-five Inch How, for as many hours as he holds shares, hut when walor IR plenty and In reserve this rule Is not applied, but he Is given whatever he wants, although at no time Is a rancher deprived of sufficient walor lo successfully carry on his business. Slnco tho Covina Irrigating Company has been organized there has boon $100,000 ex ponded by the company. There aro 10,000 shares Issued at Ihe present, llmo with, a capital slock of $500.000, and Ihe company Is bonded for $110,500. In summing up the work which baa been done by this company, tho beat Idea of tin 1 great change In Iho valloy can bo obtained from Iho values on lands. The old Phillips Iraci. now known as tho City of Covina, was purchased for loss than Ion dollars per acre. In this vicinity, at present writing, besides a. oily of 2,500 people, ••re '1,000 acres, all In orangos and lemons, ranging from ton years lo 15 years old, Valonclas and Navels, worth approximately from $1,000 lo $2,200 per acre, and hearing Inlorosl on such an Investment from Hi per cent lo an high as 20 per cent. One ranch of Valoiielns, lift eon years old, for which II. M. Douglass of Covina paid $2,000 per acre throe years ago, Is bearing 25 per cent on the Investment, accord- Ing lo Iho sworn statement, of tho owner. This Is made possible through the perfect walor system of tho Co- vlna company. Walor for Crivlna Is a. surety at all limes—-a solved problem, Covina, In twenty years, has bocotno one of the greatest orange districts In Southern California, and the reason lies wholly with the work of Hie water company which reclaimed It from Iho parched plains of Iho oldon days. The wizard Is Man, and his wand Is Walor. G Qie IRRIGATION EXPERTS The foundation of modern progress Is Invonllon. This article, dealing with Irrigation, breathes Ihe spirit of progress. Hand In hand with the great, reclamation work of the West goes Inventive genius horn of necessity. 'I'll" Kollar-Tliomason Mfg. Co. of Co- vlna Is a linn composed of men who have studied Irrigation needs for twenty years. Tills Is the eonorolo pipe ago In Irrigation. Tills linn has done more lo dlsHciulnalc knowledge of concrete piping systems than any oilier medium. This linn lit Iho Inventor of Ihe "KT" valves and gales Ihal nave the precious water, husband ami direct II as the rarnicr needs It. Kellar -Tliomason MI'K- Co. Invented the only practicable cement pipe-making machine. Modern Irrli-'iiI Ion has been made possible through Die efforts of Mils linn. Head Ibe Ilium rated article donlliif.', wlih this company on an- oilier pa^.e. Send Tor Ihls company's illnsl rated booklet; morn Ini ere.-il lim than the IK-MI Mellon, and coni aiding Informal Ion that may mean I lioiiHiiinl.t I ol' dolla n j , of prolil H I o you. i KELLAR-THOMASON rJMFG. CO. MuniifucluiciH of Irrigation Appliances Mouth of Tunnel Where Diverted Water Begins Eight Journey

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