The Mexican Cession is the region in the modern-day southwestern United States that Mexico ceded to the U. S. in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 after the Mexican–American War. This region had not been part of the areas east of the Rio Grande, claimed by the Republic of Texas, though the Texas annexation resolution two years earlier had not specified the southern and western boundary of the new State of Texas; the Mexican Cession was the third largest acquisition of territory in US history. The largest was the Louisiana Purchase, with some 827,000 sq. miles, followed by the acquisition of Alaska. Most of the area had been the Mexican territory of Alta California, while a southeastern strip on the Rio Grande had been part of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico, most of whose area and population were east of the Rio Grande on land, claimed by the Republic of Texas since 1835, but never controlled or approached aside from the Texan Santa Fe Expedition. Mexico controlled the territory known as the Mexican Cession, with considerable local autonomy punctuated by several revolts and few troops sent from central Mexico, in the period from 1821–22 after independence from Spain up through 1846 when U.
S. military forces seized control of California and New Mexico on the outbreak of the Mexican–American War. The northern boundary of the 42nd parallel north was set by the Adams–Onís Treaty signed by the United States and Spain in 1821 and ratified by Mexico in 1831 in the Treaty of Limits; the eastern boundary of the Mexican Cession was the Texas claim at the Rio Grande and extending north from the headwaters of the Rio Grande, not corresponding to Mexican territorial boundaries. The southern boundary was set by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which followed the Mexican boundaries between Alta California and Baja California and Sonora; the United States paid Mexico $15 million for the land. Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico were captured soon after the start of the war and the last resistance there was subdued in January 1847, but Mexico would not accept the loss of territory. Therefore, during 1847, troops from the United States invaded central Mexico and occupied the Mexican capital of Mexico City, but still no Mexican government was willing to ratify transfer of the northern territories to the U.
S. It was uncertain. There was an All of Mexico Movement proposing complete annexation of Mexico among Eastern Democrats, but opposed by Southerners like John C. Calhoun who wanted additional territory for their crops but not the large population of central Mexico. Nicholas Trist forced the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, explicitly redefining the border between Mexico and the United States in early 1848 after President Polk had attempted to recall him from Mexico as a failure. Although Mexico did not overtly cede any land under the treaty, the redefined border had the effect of transferring Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico to the control of the United States. Important, the new border acknowledged Mexico's loss of Texas, both the core eastern portion and the western claims, neither of, formally recognized by Mexico until that time; the U. S. Senate approved the treaty, rejecting amendments from both Jefferson Davis to annex most of northeastern Mexico and Daniel Webster not to take Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico.
The United States paid $15,000,000 for the land, agreed to assume $3.25 million in debts to US citizens. While technically the territory was purchased by the United States, the $15 million payment was credited against Mexico's debt to the U. S. at that time. The Mexican Cession as ordinarily understood amounted to 525,000 square miles, or 14.9% of the total area of the current United States. If the disputed western Texas claims are included, that amounts to a total of 750,000 square miles. If all of Texas had been seized, since Mexico had not acknowledged the loss of any part of Texas, the total area ceded under this treaty comes to 915,000 square miles. Considering the seizures, including all of Texas, Mexico lost 54% of its pre-1836 territory in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. For only fifteen years from 1821 and the Texan Revolt in 1836, the Mexican Cession formed 42% of the country of Mexico. Beginning in the early seventeenth century, a chain of Roman Catholic missions and settlements extended into the New Mexico region following the course of the Rio Grande from the El Paso area to Santa Fe.
Soon after the war started and long before negotiation of the new Mexico–United States border, the question of slavery in the territories to be acquired polarized the Northern and Southern United States in the bitterest sectional conflict up to this time, which lasted for a deadlock of four years during which the Second Party System broke up, Mormon pioneers settled Utah, the California Gold Rush settled California, New Mexico under a federal military U. S government turned back Texas's attempt to assert control over territory Texas claimed as far west as the Rio Grande; the Compromise of 1850 preserved the Union, but only for another decade. Proposals included: The Wilmot Proviso, created by Congressman David Wilmot, banning slavery in any new territory to be acquired from Mexico, no
Juan Bautista Alvarado
Juan Bautista Valentín Alvarado y Vallejo was a Californio and Governor of Las Californias from 1837 to 1842. In 1836, he led a coup that seized Monterey and declared himself governor, backed by other northern Californios, with help from Capt. Isaac Graham and his "Tennessee Rifles". Alvarado declared independence for California but, after negotiations with the territorial Diputación, was persuaded to rejoin Mexico peacefully in exchange for more local autonomy; as part of the agreement, in 1837 he was appointed governor of Las Californias, served until 1842. Alvarado was born in Alta California, to Jose Francisco Alvarado and María Josefa Vallejo, his grandfather Juan Bautista Alvarado accompanied Gaspar de Portolà as an enlisted man in the Spanish Army in 1769. His father died a few months after his birth and his mother remarried three years leaving Juan Bautista in the care of his grandparents on the Vallejo side, where he and Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo grew up together, they were both taught by an English merchant living in Monterey.
In 1827 the eighteen-year-old Alvarado was hired as secretary to the territorial legislature. In 1829 he was arrested along with Vallejo and another friend, José Castro, by soldiers involved in the military revolt led by Joaquín Solis. In 1831 he built a house in Monterey for his mistress, Juliana Francisca Ramona y Castillo, whom he called "Raymunda", to live in. Over the years, the pair had a total of at least two illegitimate daughters whom he recognized and several more he did not recognize, but he never married their mother. During this period Alvarado began drinking heavily. One of his daughters claimed that Raymunda had refused to marry Alvarado because of his excessive drinking. Alvarado supported secularization of the Spanish missions in California, he was appointed by José María de Echeandía to oversee the turn over of Mission San Miguel though Echeandía was no longer governor. The new governor Manuel Victoria rescinded the order and sought to have Alvarado and Castro arrested; the pair fled and were hidden by their old friend Vallejo, who had become adjutant at the Presidio of San Francisco.
However, Victoria was unpopular and Echeandía overthrew his rule and replaced him with Pío de Jesús Pico near the end of 1831. Secularization of the missions resumed in 1833. In 1834 Alvarado was elected to the legislature as a delegate and appointed customs inspector in Monterey. Governor José Figueroa granted Rancho El Sur, two square leagues of land, or about 9,000 acres, south of Monterey, to Alvarado on October 30, 1834. After Figueroa's death in September 1835, Nicolás Gutiérrez was appointed as interim governor in January 1836, he was replaced by Mariano Chico in April, but Chico was unpopular. His intelligence agents told him that yet another Californio revolt was brewing, so he fled back to Mexico, claiming he planned to gather troops against the independent Californios. Instead, Mexico reprimanded him for abandoning his post. Gutierrez, the military commandant, re-assumed the governorship, but like the Mexican governors before him, the Californios forced him, too, to flee; as senior members of the legislature and Castro, with political support from Vallejo and backing from a group of Tennesseans led by Capt.
Isaac Graham, forced Gutierrez out of the country. Alvarado's Californio coup wrote a constitution and adopted a new flag—a single red star on a white background, but neither were used after Alvarado made peace with Mexico. Alvarado, at age 27, was appointed governor, but the city council of Los Angeles protested. Alvarado and Graham went south and negotiated a compromise after three months, avoiding a civil war. However, the city council of San Diego voiced its disagreement with Alvarado's revolt; this time, the Mexican government was involved and there were rumors that the Mexican Army was ready to step in. Alvarado was able to negotiate another compromise to keep the peace. Mexico reneged on the agreement and appointed Carlos Antonio Carrillo, popular among the southerners, governor on December 6, 1837; this time, civil war broke out and after several battles, Carrillo was forced out. Mexico relented and recognized Alvarado as governor. Alvarado married Doña Martina Castro on August 24, 1839 in Santa Clara, but didn't attend his own wedding having his half-brother, Jose Antonio Estrada, stand in for him.
Though he claimed to be detained in Monterey on official business, it was rumored he was drunk and unable to function. After the wedding, Alvarado lived with his bride in Monterey, but continued on with mistress, who lived nearby; the process of secularization of the missions was in its final stages, it was at this time that Alvarado parceled out much of their land to prominent Californios via land grants. Though he took no land for himself, he did however, trade his Rancho El Sur to John B. R. Cooper in exchange for Rancho Bolsa del Potrero which he subsequently sold back to Cooper, he purchased Rancho El Alisal near Salinas in 1841 from his former tutor William Hartnell. In April 1840 a report of a planned revolt against Alvarado by a group of foreigners, led by former ally Isaac Graham, caused the governor to order their arrest and deportation to Mexico City for trial, they were however, acquitted of all charges in June 1841. In 1841, political leaders in the United States were declaring their doctrine of Manifest Destiny, Californios grew concerned over their intentions.
Vallejo conferred with Castro and
California Gold Rush
The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California; the news of gold brought 300,000 people to California from the rest of the United States and abroad. The sudden influx of gold into the money supply reinvigorated the American economy, the sudden population increase allowed California to go to statehood, in the Compromise of 1850; the Gold Rush had severe effects on Native Californians and resulted in a precipitous population decline from disease and starvation. By the time it ended, California had gone from a thinly populated ex-Mexican territory, to having one of its first two U. S. Senators, John C. Frémont, selected to be the first presidential nominee for the new Republican Party, in 1856; the effects of the Gold Rush were substantial. Whole indigenous societies were attacked and pushed off their lands by the gold-seekers, called "forty-niners". Outside of California, the first to arrive were from Oregon, the Sandwich Islands, Latin America in late 1848.
Of the 300,000 people who came to California during the Gold Rush, about half arrived by sea and half came overland on the California Trail and the Gila River trail. While most of the newly arrived were Americans, the gold rush attracted thousands from Latin America, Europe and China. Agriculture and ranching expanded throughout the state to meet the needs of the settlers. San Francisco grew from a small settlement of about 200 residents in 1846 to a boomtown of about 36,000 by 1852. Roads, churches and other towns were built throughout California. In 1849 a state constitution was written; the new constitution was adopted by referendum vote, the future state's interim first governor and legislature were chosen. In September 1850, California became a state. At the beginning of the Gold Rush, there was no law regarding property rights in the goldfields and a system of "staking claims" was developed. Prospectors retrieved the gold from riverbeds using simple techniques, such as panning. Although the mining caused environmental harm, more sophisticated methods of gold recovery were developed and adopted around the world.
New methods of transportation developed. By 1869, railroads were built from California to the eastern United States. At its peak, technological advances reached a point where significant financing was required, increasing the proportion of gold companies to individual miners. Gold worth tens of billions of today's US dollars was recovered, which led to great wealth for a few, though many who participated in the California Gold Rush earned little more than they had started with; the Mexican–American War ended on February 3, 1848, although California was a de facto American possession before that. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo provided for, among other things, the formal transfer of Upper California to the United States; the California Gold Rush began near Coloma. On January 24, 1848, James W. Marshall, a foreman working for Sacramento pioneer John Sutter, found shiny metal in the tailrace of a lumber mill Marshall was building for Sutter on the American River. Marshall brought what he found to John Sutter, the two tested the metal.
After the tests showed that it was gold, Sutter expressed dismay: he wanted to keep the news quiet because he feared what would happen to his plans for an agricultural empire if there were a mass search for gold. Rumors of the discovery of gold were confirmed in March 1848 by San Francisco newspaper publisher and merchant Samuel Brannan. Brannan hurriedly set up a store to sell gold prospecting supplies, walked through the streets of San Francisco, holding aloft a vial of gold, shouting "Gold! Gold! Gold from the American River!"On August 19, 1848, the New York Herald was the first major newspaper on the East Coast to report the discovery of gold. On December 5, 1848, US President James Polk confirmed the discovery of gold in an address to Congress; as a result, individuals seeking to benefit from the gold rush--later called the "forty-niners"--began moving to the Gold Country of California or "Mother Lode" from other countries and from other parts of the United States. As Sutter had feared, his business plans were ruined after his workers left in search of gold, squatters took over his land and stole his crops and cattle.
San Francisco had been a tiny settlement. When residents learned about the discovery, it at first became a ghost town of abandoned ships and businesses, but boomed as merchants and new people arrived; the population of San Francisco increased from about 1,000 in 1848 to 25,000 full-time residents by 1850. Miners lived in wood shanties, or deck cabins removed from abandoned ships. In what has been referred to as the "first world-class gold rush," there was no easy way to get to California. At first, most Argonauts, as they were known, traveled by sea. From the East Coast, a sailing voyage around the tip of South America would take four to five months, cover 18,000 nautical miles. An alternative was to sail to the Atlantic side of the Isthmus of Panama, take canoes and mules for a week through the jungle, on the Pacific side, wait for a ship sailing for San Francisco. There was a route across Mexico starting at Veracruz; the companies providing such transportation created vast wealth among their owners and included the U.
S. Mail Steamship Company, the federally subsidized Pacific Mail Steamship Company, the Accessory Tra
Thomas A. Scott
Thomas Alexander Scott was an American businessman, railroad executive, industrialist. President Abraham Lincoln in 1861 appointed him the U. S. Assistant Secretary of War, during the American Civil War railroads under his leadership played a major role in the war effort, he became the fourth president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, which became the largest publicly traded corporation in the world and received much criticism for his conduct in the Great Railway Strike of 1877 and as a "robber baron." Scott helped negotiate the Republican Party's Compromise of 1877 with the Democratic Party. In his final years, Scott made large donations to the University of Pennsylvania. Scott was born on December 23, 1823 in Peters Township near Fort Loudoun, in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, he was the 7th of eleven children. Scott joined the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1850 as a station agent, by 1858 was general superintendent. Scott had been recommended for promotion by Herman Haupt and took a special interest in mentoring aspiring railroad employees, such as Andrew Carnegie.
The 1846 state charter to the Pennsylvania Railroad diffused power within the company, by giving executive authority to a committee responsible to stockholders, not to individuals. By the 1870s, officers directed by J. Edgar Thomson and Scott had centralized power. Historians have explained the successful partnership of Thomas Scott and J. Edgar Thomson by the melding of their opposing personality traits: Thomson was the engineer, cool and introverted. In addition, they had common experiences and values, agreement on the importance of financial success, the financial stability of the Pennsylvania Railroad throughout their partnership, J. Edgar Thomson's paternalism. By 1860, when Scott became the first Vice President of the Pennsylvania Railroad, it had expanded from a company of railway lines within Pennsylvania through the 1840s and 1850s, to a transportation empire. At the outbreak of the American Civil War, Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin called on Scott for his extensive knowledge of the rail and transportation systems of the state.
In May 1861, Scott received a commission as Colonel of Volunteers and placed in command of railroad and telegraph lines used by the Union armies. His friend, Secretary of War Simon Cameron in August 1861 appointed him Assistant Secretary of War, gave him responsibility for building railroad through Washington D. C. to connect the Alexandria Railroad with northern railroads. Scott advised creating transportation an telegraph bureaus and arranging draft exemptions for experienced civilian mechanics and locomotive engineers, for needed military railroad operations were compromised by the losss of experienced railroad men; the next year, despite Cameron's replacement by Edwin M. Stanton, Scott helped organize the Loyal War Governors' Conference in Altoona, Pennsylvania. On, Scott took on the task of equipping a substantial military force for the Union war effort, he assumed supervision of other transportation lines. He made the movement of supplies and troops more efficient and effective for the war effort on behalf of the Union.
In one instance, he engineered the movement of 25,000 troops in 24 hours from Nashville, Tennessee, to Chattanooga, turning the tide of battle to a Union victory. Scott advised President Lincoln to travel covertly by rail to avoid Confederate spies and assassins. During the American Reconstruction in the aftermath of the Civil War, the Southern states needed their economy and infrastructure restored, more investment in railroads, they had lagged behind the North in railroad miles. The Northern-based railroads competed to construct rail lines in the South. Federal assistance was sought by both special interest groups, but the Crédit Mobilier of America scandal made this difficult in 1872. Congress became unwilling to grant railroad companies land grants in the Southwestern United States. Mindful of the corruption allegations which had dogged his friend Cameron, Scott was notoriously secretive about his business dealings, conducting most of his business in private letters, instructing his business partners to destroy them after they were read.
After the Civil War, Scott was involved in investments in the fast-growing trans-Mississippi River route into Texas, with long-term plans for a southern transcontinental railway line connecting the Southern states and California. From 1871 to 1872, Scott was the president of the Union Pacific Railroad the first transcontinental railroad owner, he was the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad from 1874, upon the death of his partner Thomson, until 1880. The financial Panic of 1873 and subsequent economic depression made it impossible to finance Scott’s southern transcontinental railroad plans. In his "Scott Plan" of the 1870s, Scott proposed that the Democratic Southern politicians would give their votes in Congress and state legislatures for federal government subsidies to various infrastructure improvements, including in particular the Texas and Pacific Railway, which Scott headed. Scott employed the expertise of Grenville Dodge in buying the support of newspaper editors as well as various politicians i
Oxnard is a city in Ventura County, United States. Located along the coast of Southern California, it is the most populous city in Ventura County and the 19th most populous city in California. Incorporated in 1903, the city lies 60 miles west of downtown Los Angeles and is part of the larger Greater Los Angeles area, it is located at the western edge of the fertile Oxnard Plain, sitting adjacent to an agricultural center of strawberries and lima beans. Oxnard is a major transportation hub in Southern California, with Amtrak, Union Pacific, Metrolink and Intercalifornias stopping in Oxnard. Oxnard has a small regional airport called Oxnard Airport; the population of Oxnard is 207,906. Oxnard is the most populous city in the Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, listed as one of the wealthiest areas in America, with most of its residents making well above the average national income. Before the arrival of Europeans, the area, now Oxnard was inhabited by Chumash Native Americans.
The first European to encounter the area was Portuguese explorer João Rodrigues Cabrilho, who claimed it for Spain in 1542. During the mission period, it was serviced by the Mission San Buenaventura, established in 1782. Ranching began to take hold among Californio settlers, who lost their regional influence when California became a US state in 1850. At about the same time, the area was settled by American farmers, who cultivated barley and lima beans. Henry T. Oxnard, founder of today's Moorhead, Minnesota-based American Crystal Sugar Company who operated a successful sugar beet factory with his three brothers in Chino, was enticed to build a $2 million factory on the plain inland from Port Hueneme. Shortly after the 1897 beet campaign, a new town emerged, now commemorated on the National Register of Historic Places as the Henry T. Oxnard Historic District. Oxnard intended to name the settlement after the Greek word for "sugar", but frustrated by bureaucracy, named it after himself. Given the growth of the town of Oxnard, in the spring of 1898, a railroad station was built to service the plant, which attracted a population of Chinese and Mexican laborers and enough commerce to merit the designation of a town.
The Oxnard brothers, who never lived in their namesake city, sold both the Chino and the giant red-brick Oxnard factory in 1899 for nearly $4 million. The Oxnard factory with its landmark twin smokestacks operated from August 19, 1899 until October 26, 1959. Factory operations were interrupted in the Oxnard Strike of 1903. Oxnard was incorporated as a California city on June 30, 1903, the public library was opened in 1907. Prior to and during World War II, the naval bases of Point Mugu and Port Hueneme were established in the area to take advantage of the only major navigable port on California's coast between the Port of Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay, the bases in turn encouraged the development of the defense-based aerospace and communications industries. In the mid-20th century Oxnard grew and developed the areas outside the downtown with homes, retail, a new harbor named Channel Islands Harbor. Martin V. Smith became the most influential developer in the history of Oxnard during this time.
Smith's first enterprise in 1941 was the Colonial House Restaurant and the Wagon Wheel Junction in 1947. He was involved in the development of the high-rise towers at the Topa Financial Plaza, the Channel Islands Harbor, Casa Sirena Resort, the Esplanade Shopping Mall, Fisherman's Wharf, the Carriage Square Shopping Center, the Maritime Museum, many other major hotel and retail projects. In June 2004, the Oxnard Police Department and the Ventura County Sheriff imposed a gang injunction over a 6.6-square-mile area of the central district of the city, in order to restrict gang activity. The injunction was upheld in the Ventura County Superior Court and made a permanent law in 2005. A similar injunction was imposed in September 2006 over a 4.26-square-mile area of the south side of the city. Oxnard is located on an area with fertile soil. With its beaches, wetlands and the Santa Clara River, the area contains a number of important biological communities. Native plant communities include: coastal sage scrub, California Annual Grassland, Coastal Dune Scrub species.
Native to the region is the endangered Ventura Marsh Milkvetch, the last self-sustaining population is in Oxnard in the center of a approved high-end housing development. The city of Oxnard is home to over 20 miles of scenic uncrowded coastline; the beaches in Oxnard are large and the sand is exceptionally soft. The sand dunes in Oxnard, which were once much more extensive, have been used to recreate Middle-Eastern desert dunes in many movies, the first being The Sheik with Rudolph Valentino. There are few rocks or driftwood piles at most beaches, but Oxnard is known to have dangerous rip-currents at certain beaches. Oxnard has good surfing at many of its beaches. Beaches in Oxnard include: Ormond Beach, Silver Strand Beach, Hollywood Beach, Hollywood-by-the-Sea, Mandalay Beach, Oxnard Beach Park, Oxnard Shores, 5th Street Beach, Mandalay State Beach, McGrath State Beach and Rivermouth Beach; the Santa Clara River separates Ventura. Tributaries to this river include Sespe Creek, Piru Creek, Castaic Creek.
Oxnard is on a tectonically active plate, since most of Coastal California is near the boundaries between the Pacific a
History of rail transportation in California
The establishment of America's transcontinental rail lines securely linked California to the rest of the country, the far-reaching transportation systems that grew out of them during the century that followed contributed to the state’s social and economic development. When California was admitted as a state to the United States in 1850, for nearly two decades thereafter, it was in many ways isolated, an outpost on the Pacific, until the First Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869. Passenger rail transportation declined in the early- and mid-20th Century with the rise of the state's car culture and road system, it has since undergone something of a renaissance, with the introduction of services such as Metrolink, Caltrain, Amtrak California, others. On November 4, 2008, the People of California passed Proposition 1a, which helped provide financing for a high-speed rail line; the early Forty-Niners of the California Gold Rush wishing to come to California were faced with limited options.
From the East Coast, for example, a sailing voyage around the tip of South America would take five to eight months, cover some 18,000 nautical miles. An alternative route was to sail to the Atlantic side of the Isthmus of Panama, to take canoes and mules for a week through the jungle, on the Pacific side, to wait for a ship sailing for San Francisco. During the 1850s the voy:Ruta de Transito through Nicaragua was another option. Most gold-seekers took the overland route across the continental United States along the California Trail; each of these routes had its own deadly hazards, from shipwreck to typhoid fever to cholera or Indian attack. The first "inter-oceanic" railroad that affected California was built in 1855 across the Isthmus of Panama, the Panama Railway; the Panama Railway reduced the time needed to cross the Isthmus from a week of difficult and dangerous travel to a day of relative comfort. The building of the Panama Railroad, in combination with the increasing use of steamships meant that travel to and from California via Panama was the primary method used by people who could afford to do so, was used for valuable cargo, such as the gold being shipped from California to the East Coast.
California's symbolic and tangible connection to the rest of the country was fused at Promontory Summit, Utah, as the "last spike" was driven to join the tracks of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads, thereby completing the First Transcontinental Railroad on May 10, 1869. The 1,600 mile trip from Omaha, would now take mere days; the Wild West was transformed from a lawless, agrarian frontier to what would become an urbanized, industrialized economic and political powerhouse. Of greater significance is the unbridled economic growth, spurred on by the sheer diversity of opportunities available in the region; the four years following the Golden Spike ceremony saw the length of track in the U. S. double to over 70,000 miles. By around the start of the 20th century, the completion of four subsequent transcontinental routes in the United States and one in Canada would provide not only additional pathways to the Pacific Ocean, but would forge ties to all of the economically important areas between the coasts as well.
The entire country was accessible by rail, making a national economy possible for the first time. And while federal financial assistance was vital to the railroads' expansion across North America, this support accounted for less than eight percent of the total length of rails laid; as rail lines pushed further and further into the wilderness, they opened up huge areas that would have otherwise lain fallow. The railroads helped establish countless towns and settlements, paved the way to abundant mineral deposits and fertile tracts of pastures and farmland, created new markets for eastern goods, it is estimated that by the end of World War II, rail companies nationwide remunerated to the government over $1 billion dollars, more than eight times the original value of the lands granted. The principal commodity transported across the rails to California was people: by reducing the cross-country travel time to as little as six days, men with westward ambitions were no longer forced to leave their families behind.
The railroads would, in time, provide important linkages to move the inhabitants throughout the state, interconnecting its blossoming communities. "Transportation determines the flow of population," declared J. D. Spreckels, one of California's early railroad entrepreneurs, just after the dawn of the twentieth century. "Before you can hope to get people to live anywhere...you must first of all show them that they can get there comfortably and, above all, cheaply." Among Spreckels' many accomplishments was the formation of the San Diego Electric Railway in 1892, which radiated out from downtown to points north and east and helped urbanize San Diego. Henry Huntington, the nephew of Central Pacific founder Collis P. Huntington, would develop his Pacific Electric Railway in Los Angeles and Orange Counties with much the same result. Spreckels' greatest challenge would be to provide San Diego with its own direct transcontinental rail link in the form of the San Diego and Arizona Railway, a feat that nearly cost the sugar heir his life.
The Central Pacific Railroad, in effect, initiated the trend by offering settlement incent
Santa Clara River (California)
The Santa Clara River is 83 miles long, is one of the most dynamic river systems in Southern California. The river drains parts of four ranges in the Transverse Ranges System north and northwest of Los Angeles flows west onto the Oxnard Plain and into the Santa Barbara Channel of the Pacific Ocean; the watershed has provided habitat for a wide array of native plants and animals and has supplied humans with water and fertile farmland. The northern portion of the watershed was home to the Tataviam people while the southern portion was occupied by the Chumash people. Much of the Santa Clara River Valley is used for agriculture which has limited the use of structural levees to separate the natural floodplain from the river. Although it is one of the least altered rivers in Southern California, some levees exist where the river flows through areas of significant urban development; the Santa Clara River was named the Rio de Santa Clara on August 9, 1769 by the Portolá expedition on the march north from San Diego to found a mission at Monterey, to honor Saint Clare of Assisi who died on August 11, 1253.
The Santa Clara River Valley was known as the Cañada de Santa Clara. The Santa Clara-Mojave River Ranger District of the Angeles National Forest is named after the Santa Clara River; the failure and near complete collapse of the St. Francis Dam took place in the middle of the night on March 12, 1928; the dam was holding a full reservoir of 12.4 billion gallons of water that surged down San Francisquito Canyon and emptied into the river. The Santa Clara River's headwaters take drainage from the northern slopes of the San Gabriel Mountains near the Angeles Forest Highway, inside the western part of the Angeles National Forest, its largest fork, Aliso Canyon, forms the primary headstream. These branches combine into the broad wash of the main stem near the town of Acton which flows west through Soledad Canyon, crossing under California State Route 14 near the town of Canyon Country; the Sierra Pelona Mountains on the north provide additional seasonal tributaries. The river receives Bouquet Creek, Placerita Creek, San Francisquito Creek within the City of Santa Clarita.
The riverbed surface remains dry most of the year here, except on extreme occasions of heavier than average rainfall. The river crosses west under Interstate 5 and receives Castaic Creek from the right. After the Castaic Creek confluence, the river starts to flow southwest through the Santa Clarita Valley. Near the county line between Los Angeles County and Ventura County, the river enters the Santa Clara River Valley flowing past Buckhorn and Fillmore, incorporating additional flow from Piru Creek and Sespe Creek, both from the right, Santa Paula Creek at the town of Santa Paula, where it passes the large South Mountain Oil Field on the south bank; the Santa Clara River bends southwest, passing the Saticoy Oil Field on the north bank where South Mountain marks its entrance onto the broad Oxnard Plain. The river ends at the Pacific Ocean after flowing across the north side of this plain made fertile with the silt deposited by the river. A sand bar stands across the mouth at the Santa Clara Estuary Natural Preserve that lies within McGrath State Beach in Oxnard and bounded on the north by the city of Ventura.
Although located just north of the populated Los Angeles Basin, the 1,600-square-mile Santa Clara River watershed remains one of the most natural on the South Coast. It is separated from the Los Angeles Basin by the low Santa Susana Mountains, along the north side of which the Santa Clara River runs. On the east are the San Gabriel Mountains, on the north are the Santa Ynez Mountains, Sespe Mountains, San Cayetano Mountains, Tehachapi Mountains. Piru and Sespe Creeks, each over 50 miles long, are the primary tributaries of the Santa Clara River. While Piru and Castaic Creeks form reservoirs for the California State Water Project, Sespe Creek is designated a National Wild and Scenic River, unique among Southern California streams. There are 12 historical landmarks in the watershed; the Santa Clara River watershed borders on the Ventura River/Matilija Creek watershed on the west. On the northwest, lies the Santa Ynez River watershed. On the north is the interior drainage basin of Tulare Lake in the Central Valley.
To the east is the Mojave River and to the south is the Los Angeles River. The Santa Clara River is the second largest river in Southern California; the estuary has been modified by human activities at least since 1855. By the late 1920s roads and agricultural fields had become established. In the late 1950s the former delta area was occupied by the Ventura Water Reclamation Facility and agricultural fields with levees constraining the river from these areas and directing the flow to the Harbor Boulevard bridge. McGrath State Beach was established in 1948; the estuary has been designated a Natural Preserve within McGrath State Beach on the south bank of the river mouth. From the north bank of the river, the city of Ventura releases some 9,000,000 US gallons of treated effluent daily that flows into the Santa Clara Estuary Natural Preserve from their water reclamation facility. A sand berm separates the river from the ocean most of the year. In years with adequate rainfall, the river breaks the berm, slowly rebuilt by ocean action through the rest of the year.
When the river watershed has an exceptionally dry year, the berm acts as a dam, allowing the water level to rise with the