Many thanks to the Salton Sea Database, at the University of Redlands, who has give me permission to use the photos in their collection. One society, the Coachella Valley Historical Society had given them quite a few and now I am able to present to you these photographs.
The Old Schoolhouse
In early February I attended an rededication ceremony for an old schoolhouse that is located on Torres-Martinez Tribal Land. Tonight I was looking at some old photographs I had and was happy to see that I have the old photo. This schoolhouse was built in 1907.
Read about the ceremony here
It is almost time for Spring!! And Spring here means Spring flowers. But only if the conditions are juuuust right for the Desert Flowers. Not too hot, not too cold, not too wet, not too dry, it appears to me it must be perfect for Goldilocks and then the flowers will grow. Here is an old photograph that appears to be painted on afterwards, the Desert in Bloom! So far, it appears that the Desert bloom this year has been 'pathetic' (http://tchester.org/bd/blooms/2013.html) but alas, it has been raining today. Pretty much most of the day. It was confusing. I thought there was something wrong with my computer, when I finally figured out it was the pitterpatter of the raindrops. May that mean Desert Blooms.
This image below to me is so great. In part as I have been wanting to do the same thing. But just... haven't.
This group of climbers are hovering at the point where the ancient Lake Cahuilla has left its marks on the mountain sides on the West side of the Sea. The Salton Sink has been filled with water and a Sea off and on for millenia. Lake Cahuilla is just one of its inceptions. The Sea was so huge at one point - Lake Cahuilla, 10,000 years ago - that it had tides. Next time when you drive along the 86, take note of the ancient water line. It is stupendous to think how far we are below that original sea level.
I had heard a lot about the dance hall on Mullet Island and about Captain Charles E. Davis, but had never come across any images. Mullet Island is relatively close to the shore on the East side of the Sea near where the volcanoes are, and when the water was low enough, the visitors would be able to walk across. Al Kalin, a farmer in Imperial Valley who is featured in my book "Portraits and Voices of the Salton Sea", talks fondly of the dance hall. His family were among the first pioneers in Imperial Valley and they used to visit the island. This sounds like a place, which I so wish still existed!
"Captain Davis was intrigued with the idea of living on a dead volcano 200 feet below sea level, and even before the wild water had been brought under control he had acquired the butte, now become an island, and had begun construction of his cabin. A hand-painted sign propped against the building proclaimed that this was Hell's Kitchen.
In 1908 he built the boat landing, cafe and dance hall, which were to flourish for nearly a quarter century under his management. During those years, Captain Davis seined and sold his "alfalfa-fed mullet", battled for the conservation of natural resources, released his imported sea lions, launched a stillborn showboat, made a scientific study of the mud pots, acted as game warden, prepared and served shore dinners, took part in county politics, emceed his dances, rented boats to duck hunters and vacationists and roared sea chanties to the delight of friends and visiting celebrities. Clearly several of these activities require explanation!" (taken from http://www.sci.sdsu.edu/salton/PeriscopeSaltonSeaCh7-9.html)
These days, the dance hall is no more and most of the buildings are gone as well. It is generally covered with birds who use this island for nesting.