In the fall of 1853 an explorer named William Phipps Blake traveled to an area in southern California, USA known then as the Colorado Desert, which would one day become the home of Salton Sea.
Mr. Blake was tasked by the United States Congress to explore potential routes for a transcontinental railroad along the southern border of the country. After compiling the information collected, he submitted a report of his explorations to congress in 1858. The report included the first modern scientific observations and measurements of the region, including the fact that portions of it were below sea level.
The report contained a wealth of information, including an opinion about reclaiming the desert land and turning it into rich farmland with water from the Colorado River.
William P. Blake and Companions Entering the Colorado Desert on November 15, 1853
Perspective: The image is drawn looking south, southwest into the Coachella Valley and Salton Trough.