|[Foremost among the prominent
citizens who have contributed largely in the upbuilding of the
Imperial Valley is Harold Bell Wright, the well-known author and
writer. Mr. Wright has been a resident of the Valley from
its early beginning, spending his winters on a beautiful ranch
near Holtville. It was in the Imperial Valley that he laid
the scenes for one of his most successful novels, "The
Winning of Barbara Worth," and the mural decorations in the
elegant new Barbara Worth Hotel at El Centro, just completed at a
cost of $250,000 illustrate incidents in the lives of the
characters so graphically presented. Mr. Wright's optimistic
views are set forth in the following article published in the Los
Angeles Tribune, December 15, 1912.
IMPERIAL VALLEY IS
BY HAROLD BELL WRIGHT
The Imperial Valley is.
The time when we were not lies within the memory of the eighth
grade. The Colorado desert was here, but Imperial Valley had
place only in the minds of a few optimistic promoters, imaginative
engineers and hopeful adventurers.
To the dwellers outside, we have been a
topic for light conversation. We have, to those who did not
know, grown most luxuriantly in the promoters' pamphlets and in the
real estate circulars. We have belonged, in the minds of the
real world, to that hearsay world where facts and fancies are so
blended that the true seems false and the false seems true.
But today Imperial Valley is.
Our principal crops are not now grown upon
the fertile pages of the promoters' literature, but in the fields to
which the farmers hold their tardy patents. Alfalfa, corn,
cotton, horses, hogs, and cattle are facts. The Imperial Farm is.
The non-producing speculator, the poaching
land grabber, the get-rich-quick farmer of the farmers, are going
the way of the disappearing coyote, the vanishing fox and the dying
rabbit. Against these noxious parasites that seek always to
fatten upon new lands, and against all their thieving kin, our
fields are being fenced. The Imperial Farmer is.
Commercial tramps, financial vagabonds,
shifty peddlers of hot air, are fast taking the road that leads
out. The gates are being closed. the opportunities now
offered to capital are the opportunities of the woodpile. The
days of the easy handout are no more. Imperial Business is.
No longer does the sweating pioneer,
swinging to the Johnson bar of his Fresno, keep alive his courage
with conjured visions of smooth lawns and well-kept fields, of rose
hedges and flowers, of gardens, groves and orchards.
No more does the tired settler, when the night has come,
dream of substantial houses and barns, of full granaries, of
bountiful tables and comfortable beds.
The rude tent-house, the arrow-weed ramada, the rough board
shack, the fire and bed under the mesquite, and the shelterless camp
on the desert sands have passed into the keeping of the historian
and novelist. The
Imperial Home is.
The hardy, dust-grimed, mud-caked,
sunburned reclaimer of the desert no longer makes his lonely fire
and with his own rude hand prepares the bacon, frijoles, flapjacks,
and coffee for his solitary meal.
No more does his hungry heart know only the companionship of
his team and the fellowship of his dog.
He need not now plod those weary miles to the uncertain
postoffice, craving news from the dear ones who wait somewhere
beyond the rim of the barren plain.
The Imperial Woman, Wife, and Mother is.
The folk who have made this land
have as truly been made by the land.
Into the spirit of those who have wrought this work of
reclamation, the spirit of the desert they have conquered has
entered deeply. The
process of nature that laid bare the bottom of the sea and through
the long centuries created the desert was a sifting process that has
permitted only the fit to survive.
That the Imperial Valley is, evidences to the thinking world
the character of the Imperial People.
The Imperial Citizen is.
To the home-hungry settler Imperial
Valley has been a dream, a vision, a hope, a promise, a realization.
To the pioneer farmer it has been a work, a fight, a test, a
hardship, a victory. To
the pioneer business man it has been a venture, a prospect, a risk,
an opportunity, an investment.
To the people beyond our mountain walls it has been a gamble,
a romance, an adventure, a joke. But today Imperial Valley is.
This is the justification of every
effort, the fulfillment of every promise, the reward of every
struggle. This is the
answer to every criticism, the reply to every argument, the retort
to every jeer, the rebuke to every sneer, the triumphant,
unanswerable answer: Imperial Valley IS.