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all the states concerned were in attendance, together with
the various Colorado River commissioners, Interstate Water
commissioners, and various advisors. The main discussions
revolved around four questions : the division of water among
the lower basin states, the amounts that might be claimed by
Mexico, the rights of states to the banks of rivers within or
bounding their territory, and the division of power revenues.

The problems concerning Mexico and the ownership of
river banks were settled, as far as that conference could
settle them, to the satisfaction of Arizona's delegation. 22 No
final determination was made with respect to the division of
water. At first, California asked for 4,600,000 acre feet of

21. See Arizona Colorado River Commission, Colorado River, International Prob-
lem (Phoenix, 1938).

22. First Report of the Colorado River Commission of Arizona, Eighth Legis-
lature, Fourth Special Session, Document No. 1, p. 5.


the water allocated to the lower basin, and offered to guar-
antee to Arizona the remaining 2,600,000 acre feet, after
subtracting 300,000 for Nevada, and the waters of her trib-
utary streams. 23 Arizona rejected this proposition, where-
upon the governors of the upper basin states proposed that
the share of water to California be 4,200,000 acre feet, to
which the delegates from Arizona tentatively agreed. 24 They
insisted on the use of language which would remove all doubt
as to her responsibility for supplying Mexico from her
stored water, and upon the insertion of a clause giving to
California and Arizona equal rights to all unallotted water
in the main stream of the river. However, California re-
jected this proposal, giving as her reason that such an
arrangement would amend the existing Santa Fe Compact,
and the pending Boulder Dam Project Act.

A final effort was made to settle questions amicably on
a seven state ratification basis in February, 1930, at a con-
ference held in Phoenix. California made the following pro-
posals :

To Nevada, 300,000 acre feet of water. Utah
and New Mexico to have all water necessary for
use on areas of those states lying within the lower

Arizona to have all waters of the Gila system
and her other tributaries, excepting such water
as reaches the main stream, also her present uses
from the main stream, within the state.

California to have water now diverted in Cali-
fornia for agricultural and domestic use in Cali-

Balance of water in main stream to be divided
one-half to Arizona and one-half to California.

Mexican obligations to be met one-half by
Arizona and one-half by California from main
stream water.

23. Griswell, 039. cit., p. 17.

24. When the Swing-Johnson Bill was proposed, the Bratton amendment divided
this difference and allotted to California a total of 4,400,000 acre feet.


All other points to be left to determination of
of the Secretary of the Interior, under the Act. 25

Arizona rejected this proposal, on the ground that the
question of power was not settled, but was left to the adjudi-
cation of the secretary of the interior, who at that time was
Dr. Ray Lyman Wilbur of California, who, Arizona felt,
would be prejudiced in his decision.

Mr. Charles Ward, chairman of the Colorado River
Commission of Arizona during this conference countered
with a twelve point power program meant to clarify the
power situation which had become quite muddled. The
Boulder Canyon Project Act had been so much amended to
meet the questions in dispute between the states, that many
of its provisions conflicted. However, California refused to
agree to this program, although it contained nothing preju-
dicial to her rights. But by this time, the Boulder Canyon
Project Act had been passed by congress, and there was no
need for California to recede an inch from the position she
had taken.

A great deal of enmity was generated between the two
states. In Arizona, this was fanned by politicians who
desired to remain in office, or gain elections, through their
off er to "save the Colorado." A California congressman pub-
licly announced his intention of introducing a measure in
congress to restore Arizona to the status of a territory on the
ground that she had violated the conditions under which her
admittance to the union was authorized. 26 Governor Hunt of

25. Colorado River Commission of the State of California, The Boulder Canyon
Project (Sacramento, 1930), p. 45.

New Mexico has certain rights to water on the Upper Gila River. However,
those rights are even now in the courts for adjudication. It was probably not those
lands to which reference was made since Arizona was offered "all the waters of the
Gila system and her tributaries," but the small amount of territory in northwestern
New Mexico draining into the Little Colorado, which in turn flows into the Colorado
below Lee's Ferry, and thus comes in the Lower Basin.

26. The congressman referred to the well-known fact that President Taft vetoed
congressional action admitting Arizona to the Union on the ground that her consti-
tution permitted the recall of judges. To meet this objection, Arizona deleted this
provision, was admitted, and immediately, by proper action of her electorate,
amended the new constitution so that recall of judges was again permitted.


Arizona said at one time that his sense of outrage no longer
permitted him to discuss the Colorado River calmly and
dispassionately, and a Yuma paper quoted him as saying:
"I'll be damned if California will ever have any water from
the Colorado River as long as I am governor of Arizona/' 27
He suggested to Los Angeles that if they needed water to
drink, they could sip from the ocean which was next door
to them.


After the feud between California and Arizona had
raged for several years with no signs of abatement, certain
responsible men began to canvass the possibilities of pro-
ceeding without waiting for complete agreement. Mr. Delph
E. Carpenter of Colorado suggested to Mr. Hoover that a
six state pact might be made, with Arizona privileged to sign
whenever she cared to do so. 28 On this basis in 1925 Nevada,
Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Utah ratified a six
state compact, but California, after repealing the seven
state compact ratification, made concurrence in the six state
agreement subject to the declaration of the president of
the United States that congress had authorized the construc-
tion of a dam on the main stream of the Colorado River at or
below Boulder Canyon, of at least 20,000,000 acre feet stor-
age capacity and further that congress had exercised its
powers "to make the terms of the said Colorado River Com-
pact binding and effective as to the waters of the said Colo-
rado River." 29

In 1927, Utah decided to repeal its approval of the six
state compact, but later was influenced to adhere to its
original action, and eventually, all the states concerned, ex-
cept Arizona, signed a six state agreement.

During all of this time, there was pending in congress
a bill known as the Boulder Canyon Project bill, or the

27. Griswell, op. cit., p. 17.

28. Olson, op. cit.

29. Grace Right, The Santa Fe Compact (unpublished master's thesis, Univer-
sity of Arizona, Tucson, 1927), p. 29.


Swing-Johnson bill. It had been introduced on April 15,
1922, by Representative Swing of California, and it em-
bodied the main features of the recommendations made by
the investigating committee headed by Secretary Fall. The
purposes of the legislation were given as follows :

1. To regulate the lower Colorado River and con-
trol the floods therein.

2. To provide storage for irrigation.

3. To secure the development of electrical power.

4. To provide homes for honorably discharged ex-
service men.

5. To authorize the construction of an all- American

It authorized the secretary of the interior to lease power
privileges and to make allocation of power generated accord-
ing to his judgment. But he was instructed to give prefer-
ence to applications for power from political subdivisions.
No proposed interstate agreement was mentioned in the bill,
but section 9 read :

That nothing in this act shall be construed as limit-
ing, diminishing or in any manner interfering with
any vested rights of the states above said reservoir,
or of the citizens of said states, to the use, within
the Colorado River watershed, of the waters of said
Colorado River. 30

Although this bill was sponsored in the senate by
Hiram Johnson, and was recommended by the interior de-
partment, there was, it was felt by Arizona, little likelihood
of its passage until an interstate agreement had been
reached. In view, too, of the vast sum of money necessary
for the work, it was expected that searching study of the
problem would delay action for some time. 31

On January 12, 1926, the interior department again

30. Hearings, H. R. 11449, Pt. 1, 67 Cong., 2 sess., p. 1.

31. On March 17, 1924, Dr. Hubert Work, secretary of the interior, reported
that since the passage of the Kincaid act in 1920, the reclamation bureau had expended
more than $350,000 and other governmental agencies more than $2,000,000, in the
observation, survey, and study of the Colorado River.


recommended that the Swing-Johnson bill be enacted. In his
message of December 6, 1927, President Coolidge advised
that development proceed, and on January 21, 1928, the
interior department again submitted its approval to con-
gress. 32 After a long and bitter fight, with the congressional
delegation from Arizona fighting against passage, the
Swing-Johnson bill, the sixth of a series of bills, passed
both houses by a large majority, and was approved by the
president on December 21, 1928.

The provisions of the act differed from those first stated
in the bill. Two new purposes for the project were given:
to provide for a domestic water supply, and to improve
navigation. 33 The secretary of the interior was authorized
to carry out the provisions of the act subject to the Colorado
River compact which required ratification by California and
five others before the act would become effective. California
was required to limit her annual use of water to 4,400,000
acre feet, plus half of the surplus waters unappropriated by
the compact. Provision was made for a possible later agree-
ment among California, Nevada, and Arizona, which, if it
agreed with seven conditions stipulated, would not require a
re-ratification by congress.

The provisions regarding power were as follows: The
secretary of the interior was given permission to lease the
water for generating power at the switchboard, or to build
and lease the power plants. It was stipulated that the power
should be sold comparably with the cost of power elsewhere
in that area. Preference was to be given states in the bid-
ding for power, but private corporations were specifically
mentioned as possible contractors for electrical energy.

The total appropriation for the project, which called
for a dam 550 feet high, creating a storage for 26,000,000

32. Hiram Johnson, The Boulder Canyon Project, 70 Cong., 1 soss., p. 14.

33. This seemingly ridiculous motive had been added to give the United States
jurisdiction over the bank of the Colorado in Arizona. It is true that in pioneer days,
boats had plied on the Colorado. But none had gone above Yuma after the diversion
dam had been built there to divert the waters into the canal of the Imperial Valley
Water Users. Arizona fought this point bitterly.


acre feet of water, a power plant of 1,000,000 horse power
installed capacity, and an ail-American canal, was $165,-
000,000. This money was to become available when the
secretary of the interior had procured contracts for the
sale of power which would return sufficient revenues for
all operating expenses, maintenance, and the repayment
within fifty years from date of completion, of the original
cost with interest.

On June 16, 1930, Secretary Ray Lyman Wilbur stated
that all the conditions necessary for obtaining the appropria-
tion had been met. He had signed two contracts: one for
"lease of power privilege executed severally by the City of
Los Angeles and the Southern California Edison Company,
Lt.," and another "for electrical energy executed by the
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California." In
addition, a contract was made with the latter organization,
"for the delivery of water to be stored in the Boulder Dam
reservoir." 34

The secretary allocated the power as follows:

State of Arizona . 18%

State of Nevada _ __ 18%

Metropolitan Water District of Southern
California, for pumping domestic water

from river 36%

City of Los Angeles 13%

Eleven smaller cities 6%

Four Public Utilities serving farmlands 9%

As some of these agencies could not make immediate
use of the power assigned to them when it became available,
and since the act specified that firm contracts should be
made prior to making the appropriation available, certain
rearrangements had to be made. It was found that the sale
of 64% of the firm energy would provide the government
an adequate revenue. The City of Los Angeles and the
Southern California Edison Company underwrote 37% and
27% respectively of the firm power; but the two contractors

34. Wilbur and Ely, Hoover Dam Contracts (Washington, 1933), p. 575.


acquired title to only 13% and 9%, as had been allotted to
them. The smaller municipalities were allowed one year to
arrange for contracting for their 6%, but Arizona and
Nevada were given the entire period of fifty years to con-
tract for their 36 %. 35 The contracts with the City of Los
Angeles, the Metropolitan Water district and the Edison
Company were closed on April 26, 1930, and provided for a
revenue of $327,000,000. 36 The rates obtained were 1.63
mills per kilowatt-hour for firm energy and .5 mill per kilo-
watt-hour for secondary energy, both delivered at transmis-
sion voltage. 37

Even after the bill had passed congress, the opposition
of Arizona did not cease. The secretary of the interior made
several efforts to bring the lower basin states into harmony.
Conferences were held in March and June, 1929, with no
success. The conference held in Phoenix in February, 1930,
has already been mentioned. On May 14, 1930, Secretary
Wilbur sent a stinging rebuke to Arizona in answer to criti-
cism of Governor John Phillips, that the contracts had been
awarded "hastily." 38

In 1930, at the second session of the seventy-first con-
gress, the Arizona congressional delegation fought against
the first appropriation for the Boulder Dam Project.
Through fear of a filibuster, with time for adjournment
near, amendments were made to the power contracts which
met some of Arizona's objections.

Arizona's fight was now transferred to the courts.
On October 13, 1930, after decisions of the attorney general
and comptroller general had been made against Arizona's
position, that state sought an injunction in the supreme
court of the United States, asking that the Boulder Canyon
Project Act and the Colorado River Compact be declared
"inoperative and unconstitutional." The bill of complaint

35. Ibid., p. 601.

36. Ibid., p. 24.

37. Ibid., p. 536.

38. Ibid., p. 605.


alleged a violation of the sovereign rights of Arizona in the
construction of a dam which would divert waters from the
state for consumption elsewhere. It also denied that the
stream was navigable, declaring that the purpose of improv-
ing navigation as given by congress was a "subterfuge and
false pretense." ,

On May 18, 1931, the suit was dismissed, the court
rejecting every point of the complaint. It was held that by
historical evidence the river was navigable, and therefore
the erection of a dam and reservoir was clearly within the
powers conferred on congress. 39 It was also decided that
Arizona had no basis of complaint against the Colorado
River Compact, since she was not a signatory to it, and
therefore not bound by its provisions. With regard to the
interference with her rights by California and the other
defendants, the court ruled: "There is no occasion for de-
termining now Arizona's rights to interstate or local waters
which have not yet been, or which may never be, appropri-
ated." 40

This decision effectively halted further opposition by
Arizona. In her fight on the Compact and on the Swing-
Johnson Bill, Arizona did not stand alone. 41 For a long time
Utah was opposed to the plan of development. In congress,
she had the assistance of many Eastern representatives, who
are notoriously loathe to vote appropriations for improve-
ments in the West. One may wonder why the Swing-John-
son Bill passed against such powerful opposition. Comment-
ing on this matter, Professor G. E. P. Smith of the irrigation
engineering department of the University of Arizona said
that "if the whole narrative of the plotting, the political

39. Opinions of the Supreme Court of U. S., Arizona vs. State of California, et
al., cited in Wilbur and Ely, op. cit., p. 665.

40. Ibid., p. 673.

41. When work began on the Parker-Gila dam site for the purpose of diverting
water into the Metropolitan Aqueduct which carries water across the mountains to
the metropolitan district around Los Angeles, Dr. B. B. Moeur, then the governor of
Arizona, called out the militia to prevent any work on Arizona soil. But after con-
gress had specifically authorized this project, the soldiers were called home.


chicanery, the fallacious propaganda, the blunders and the
reprehensible coercion shall ever be written, it will read
like a succession of chapters in Les Miserables." 42

42. G. E. P. Smith, An Equitable Basis for Solution of the Colorado River Con-
troversy (Tucson, Ariz., 1925), p. 6.





IN 1540, Coronado's expedition penetrated the unknown
territory of Arizona and New Mexico. From Hawikuh in
the Zuni country, the leader sent Tovar to visit the Hopi
villages, and a few weeks later, Cardenas to see the great
river of which the Hopis told. The routes taken by these dar-
ing explorers from Hawikuh to Hopi have been established
and seems to coincide reasonably well with the Indian trail
between these two points. 1

Arizona was not again visited by the Spanish until
1583, for the best route from Mexico to the populous Pueblo
villages in the Rio Grande valley was found to be from
southern Chihuahua rather than up the west coast of Mex-
ico as Coronado had come. In 1582, Antonio de Espejo set
out from Valle de San Gregorio with fourteen companions.
The expedition was organized ostensibly for the purpose of
rescuing two friars who had remained in New Mexico after
the Rodriguez expedition of the previous year, but the Span-
iards were really more interested in prospecting. They went
down the Conchos River and up the Rio Grande to the
Pueblo of Puala, where they found that the friars had been
murdered. However, the members of the company decided
to continue their explorations. In the course of time Espejo
and nine companions arrived at the Hopi villages, where
they heard about some mines further west. The leader and
four others determined to visit the place and set out with
Hopi guides. Their itinerary is given below.

In 1595, Juan de Onate was awarded a contract for the
conquest and settlement of New Mexico. Not until nearly
three years later was he allowed to start north, with his

1. Bartlett, Katharine. "How Don Pedro de Tovar discovered the Hopi and Don
Garcia Lopez de Cardenas saw the Grand Canyon, with Notes on their Probable
Route." Museum of Northern Arizona, Plateau, Vol. 12, No. 3, Jan., 1940.



soldiers and colonists, with their loaded carts and live stock.
They arrived at the Tewa pueblo of San Juan in August of
1598, and shortly thereafter, Ofiate set out to receive the
submission of the Indians in the name of the king. Coming
from Zuni to the Hopi villages, he heard about mines off
towards the west. He sent his Captain of the Guard and of
the Horses, Marcos Farfan de los Godos, with eight com-
panions and Hopi guides to visit these mines.

The mines to which Espejo and Farfan went have been
a subject of some speculation among historians for many
years. Though all the other portions of the routes of these
explorers seem clear enough, the position of the mines has
often been imagined. In 1888, Bancroft published his
History of Arizona and New Mexico, 2 in which he indicated
that Espejo had found the mines in the region of Bill Wil-
liams Mountain, near Williams, Arizona. Farfan, he
thought, might have gone to the same region previously ex-
plored by Espejo.

In 1916, Bolton's Spanish Exploration in the Southwest,
1542-1706 was published. 3 Here are given translations of
Espejo's own narrative regarding the trip to the mines and
the official testimony of Farfan of what he saw. Bolton
believed that both the men had traveled to the western part
of Arizona, Espejo reaching the Bill Williams Fork, and
Farfan the Big Sandy, which is the northern branch of that

The journal of Diego Perez de Luxan, a narrative of the
Espejo expedition, was translated and edited by Hammond
and Rey and published in 1929. 4 They pointed out that

2. Bancroft, Hubert H. History of Arizona and New Mexico. The Bancroft Co.,
New York, 1888.

3. Bolton, Herbert E. Spanish Exploration in the Southwest, 1542-1706. Chas.
Scribner's Sons, New York, 1916.

(a) Account of the Journey to the Provinces and Settlements of New Mexico,
1583, by Antonio de Espejo, pp. 163-195.

(b) The Ofiate Expedition and the Founding of the Province of New Mexico,
1596-1605, pp. 199-280.

4. Hammond, George P. and Rey, Agapito, translators and editors. Expedition
into New Mexico made by Antonio de Espejo 1582-83, as revealed in the Journal of
Diego Perez de Luxan. Quivira Society, Los Angeles, 1929.


Espejo could not have covered the distance to western Ari-
zona in the time at his disposal and that he probably went
to the Verde Valley. This assumption is undoubtedly cor-
rect, for the Spanish description of the mines (which were
copper mines) , is identical to the description of the Indian
workings, which were found when the United Verde was
incorporated in 1883. The Spanish description of the coun-
try in the vicinity of the mines corresponds exactly to the
region of Jerome at the present time. The United Verde
Copper Company has now been mining at the site for fifty-
eight years, and long ago destroyed the ancient workings.
Hammond and Rey were not familiar with the country
and the route they selected for Espejo to travel is almost
impossible. Granting that Espejo and Farfan went to the
same place, which seems likely, and that the mines they
visited were identical with the United Verde of today, what
were the routes which they might have traveled to arrive

Geography of the country

Between the Hopi villages and the Verde Valley there
are a number of geographical features that interfere with
the ease of one traveling over the route. First one descends
a long gradual slope to the Little Colorado Valley and
ascends a long slope on the other side ; then comes an abrupt
ascent of 600 feet, leading to Anderson Mesa. On the west
side of this plateau is a cliff of 2000 feet whence a gentle
slope leads to the Verde River.

Near the foot of the Hopi Mesas are areas of sand
dunes, which soon give way to a grassy region with occa-
sional juniper trees, especially in the Moqui Butte Region.
The grassy area extends to the Little Colorado river, and is
very waterless from twenty to thirty miles back from the
river. After crossing the river another waterless area is
found, of the same width.

Towards the southwest appears the escarpment called
Anderson Mesa, which swings towards the northwest and


merges into the volcanic area about the San Francisco Peaks.
A long gradual slope, grassy in its lower reaches, with pin-
yon and juniper higher up, and cut by deep limestone can-
yons, leads from the river to the edge of the escarpment or
to the San Francisco Mountains. Upon ascending the Mesa,
which is about 600 ft. high, a vast pine forest extends away

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