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San Diego-1912

Here is a brand-new 1912 Oakland. The pennant on the top reads “San Diego-Imperial Valley-Good Roads”.  The people and condition of the car are a lot cleaner than I would have expected for being prepared to participate in such a tour.

3 responses to “San Diego-1912

  1. I have a 1912 Oakland Mod 40 that I have been restoring for a couple of years. It is interesting that this photo shows the radiator shell and headlamps painted black. They also built a mod 45 which was somewhat larger with a full floating rear axle. It is difficult to tell but I think this photo is of a mod 40 which by the way was the horse power rating. Ed

  2. Southern California had an organized”Good Roads” campaign. I have a car badge in the form of a spoked wheel with that inscribed on it. I know nothing about it and would love to hear from some one who knows some details.

  3. “Long before the completion of the San Diego & Arizona Railway – in fact when it was hardly more than started – wide-awake citizens of San Diego realized that it was of great importance to the county to put through an easily traveled road between San Diego and Imperial Valley, which by 1910 had shown its possibilities to an amazing extent. So in 1911 and 1912, when Austin B. Fletcher, later chief engineer of the state highway commission, was engineer of San Diego County’s Highway Commission, about seventy-five miles of good dirt road to [the] Imperial County line was built.

    “Los Angeles meanwhile had waked up to the importance of a similar road to connect Los Angeles with the valley and had done considerable road-building to further its plans for easy communication with Imperial via San Bernardino and Mecca. San Diego, of course, had one strong point in its favor: a road to San Diego was the shortest from Imperial Valley and all southwestern points to the Pacific; in addition, one wishing to go to Los Angeles could travel by way of San Diego and the coast much more safely and comfortably than by the “desert” road up Imperial Valley and would have only a little farther to go by the San Diego route.

    “When San Diego built its road to the Imperial County line, however, a new difficulty was presented. The Imperial County people did not have enough money to build from the center of the valley to the San Diego County line. San Diego, however, was determined to have a San Diego-Imperial road which could be turned over to the state as a state highway and public-spirited citizens of San Diego there-upon raised a fund of $60,000 by public subscription to build a road from the end of the San Diego County road down the Mountain Springs grade to the desert in Imperial County. In this work two of the leaders were Ed Fletcher and Fred Jackson, both of whom were active not only in raising the fund but in supervising the actual construction of the road. The engineer in charge was F. A. Rhodes, now manager of operation of the City of San Diego, and the work which he did then earned for him an enviable reputation.

    “The road, blasted down a steep canyon and carved from its sides was completed in a short time and was then turned over to Imperial County – a free gift and a token of the friendly feeling which San Diego always has held for the Valley.” [1]

    Originally San Diego and Imperial County were one large county spanning the entire California – Mexico border. It was not until August 7, 1907 that Imperial County was created, and The Imperial County Good Roads Association was not formed until 1921. San Diego people would also provide $25,000 to build a bridge over the Colorado River and provide a direct connection to Yuma, Arizona. Los Angeles of course wanted the bridge built at Blythe, Arizona which was much farther north. The financial contribution by the citizens of San Diego ensured the southern route was built.

    Finally, San Diegans “by private subscription purchased thirty-six carloads of two-inch plank, and donated the lumber to the Imperial Valley people, and a temporary plank road was laid across the sandhills [from Holtville, California to Yuma, Arizona]. [2]

    This plank road was later improved, and part of it still exists. See the Wikipedia article here: en dot wikipedia dot org/wiki/Old_Plank_Road

    Photos of the plank road and additional details here:
    www dot blm dot gov/ca/st/en/fo/elcentro/arch_cult/plankrd.html

    [1] McGrew, Clarence Alan; City of San Diego and San Diego County, The Birthplace of California, Volume I (The American Historical Society, Chicago and New York; 1922), p. 372
    [2] Ibid., p. 373

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