At the behest of Charles Rockwood and the California Development Company (CDC), Edward Henry Harriman, president of the Southern Pacific Railroad (SPR), considered investing $200,000 in the CDC. Mr. Harriman was intrigued by the prospects of growth in the Imperial Valley and what it would mean for the Southern Pacific Railroad’s business interests in the valley. Also faced with the destruction of a large portion of the SPR infrastructure in the valley, he concluded that $200,000 was a relatively small investment to make. As part of the deal Mr. Harriman obtained majority control of the CDC for the Southern Pacific Railroad, something he would regret in the future.
If not for this investment, the California Development Company would have soon collapsed and the flood waters would likely have continued to fill the entire Salton Sink and Imperial Valley, drowning all of the farms, houses, cities, and everything else in the region under hundreds of feet of water.
Edward Henry Harriman, 1848 – 1909
Note; This picture of Mr. Harriman was taken in 1906