Imperial Valley Snapshots, ca. 1903

Processed by Chris McDonald.
The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California 94720-6000

Imperial Valley Snapshots, ca. 1903

Collection number: BANC PIC 19xx.054--PIC

The Bancroft Library

University of California

Berkeley, California 1996
Finding aid and digital representations of archival materials funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
    Processed and encoded by:
    California Heritage Digital Image Access Project staff in The Bancroft Library and The Library's Electronic Text Unit
    Digital images processed by:
    The Library Photographic Service
    Date Completed:
    August 1995
© 1996 The Regents of the University of California

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Imperial Valley Snapshots
Collection Number: BANC PIC 19xx.054--PIC
Extent: 23 black and white photographs, 11 x 7 cm or smaller 23 digital objects
Repository: The Bancroft Library. University of California, Berkeley.
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Languages Represented: English

Information for Researchers


Collection is open for use.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish photographs must be submitted in writing to the Curator of the Pictorial Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.
Copyright restrictions also apply to digital representations of original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Imperial Valley snapshots, ca. 1903, BANC PIC 19xx.054-- PIC, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Digital Representations Available

Digital representations of selected original pictorial materials are available in the list of materials below. Digital image files were prepared from selected Library originals by the Library Photographic Service. Library originals were copied onto 35mm color transparency film; the film was scanned and transferred to Kodak Photo CD (by Custom Process); and the Photo CD files were color-corrected and saved in JFIF (JPEG) format for use as viewing files.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information


Scope and Content

This collection of 23 snapshots were taken circa 1903 by an unidentified photographer. The subject matter is the Imperial Valley area of California, including the towns of Brawley, Calexico, and Mexicali, and the Alamo River. The collection includes photographs of Cocopa tribe members, Mexicans, and inhabitants of Brawley. Also featured are several buildings and other types of residential structures. Typewritten captions on the verso of the photographs are lengthy and provide an informative historical and cultural context for the images. The collection provides firsthand impressions of the settlement and early history of Brawley, California.
The collection is arranged by general subject (e.g. Cocopas, Mexicans, various families, buildings, etc.) as suggested by the captions. Whenever possible, the individual subjects are arranged chronologically.
As the captions are typewritten, the impression of the characters is visible on the printed side of the photographs. Several of the prints are streaked with scratches. The print sizes range from 11 x 7 cm to 7 x 6 cm.

Container List


:1 Cocopas -- Indians -- in Calexico. They did not like to have their pictures taken as in their ignorance they thought that pointing the camera toward them worked some evil influnce[sic] over them. So one turned his back and I snapped the other as he turned to see what I was doing. And was he angry!


:2 This Cocopa just would not show his face to my Kodack but I got his lovely locks of hair. When these fellows had a cold they tied colored, yard wide cheese cloth over their noses and mouths, to keep the air out and bands of the material around their heads if they had a headache or "something".


:3 These two Mexicans made adobe bricks for Mr. Miller's house which never was built. Thses[sic] men slept and cooked and lived in this ramada which they built of grease-wood branches. The bricks were destroyed when the Alamo River rose during the summer over-flow of the Colorado River. Year 1903.


:4 A prosperous appearing family domiciled in Mexicali almost on the line. Her teeth were filled with much gold. On her stove were tortillas cooking and on the ends of the reeds which formed the wells of the residence were empty egg shells. She smilingly consented to have her picture taken while her husband was taking a siesta within.


:5 The Miller tent out on the 5 acre corner of town. Quite comfortable and novel. And enjoyed until the scare about the Colorado river overflowing and the danger of it flooding the Imperial Valley. Then the fun was all over and fear filled our souls.


:6 The only park in the first days of Brawley was a 6 by 6 feet corner next to Mr. Miller'[sic]tent residence.A few feet away were the two brick makers' renada[sic].The two little girls were Mr. Miller's daughters. This was the only tent in the town that had a shake roof. Part of the frame supporting it is here shown.


:7 Mr. F.S. Miller and his daughter Margaret eating the first watermellon[sic] grown in Brawley. They are waiting for dinner to be served. Mr. Miller built the first hotel building "The Bungalow Hotel" where his family lived until they left the Valley. He also built the first school building where his daughters attended. On Sundays services were held there. Miss Whited was the first schoolteacher.


:8 Margaret and Elizabeth Miller with their first burro which gave them very much pleasure and taught them patience and tact and some Spanish in their management of him. They named him "He-Haw".


:9 Margaret Miller and "He-Haw". Hitched up and standing as was his custom.


:10 The young man with the ax was "our hired man" and the group of three children were the Hoverly children who lived in an adobe house across the flume from our tent. Ours and the Hoverlys were the only two families living within a mile of other people, excepting the brick makers. The two girls in the picture were Margaret Miller and Elizabeth Miller.


:11 Dr. C.H. Heard driving his team with a wagon filled with goods from his store together with his customer he delivered them to the later's[sic] ranch in #8 west of the town of Brawley. On the return trip Dr. Heard was alone when a dust storm so filled the air that he lost his way. The few landmarks such as hummocks and tha[sic] river and the distant Signal Mountain 100 miles away were oblitered[sic]. But after a few uncomfortable, belated hours he safely reached his home and anxious family.


:12 C.H. Heard and his first store marked #1[referring to markings on front of print]. No.2 was his hotel where trancients[sic] comming[sic] into the Imperial Vallely to take up Desert Claims, would stay all night for a dollar a cot -- dormitory style. Tent # 3 was occupied by Mr. F.S. Miller and his wife until they moved out on the edge of town on a five acre lot. Intending to build an adobe house but the summer heat and dust drove them to the rear room of the bank after it was built. Mr. Miller was the promoter of the town of Brawley. The Olla hanging in the shade represents the town pump.


:13 The Hoverly family and their tent house just before they built their adobe residence.


:14 Pete Hoverly and family and their new adobe house, being the first one built in Brawley.


:15 Moving the restraunt[sic] to a new location; on Main St. near the Park. The "Plaza" park in the business section was planted by Mr. Miller in 1903. They had trouble to irrigate it at first as the water ran down a gopher hole for days until Mr. Miller declared it had reached China. The palms that are there now were brought in from Los Angeles on a flat car and to get them over to the "Plaza" took all the man and horse power in town.


:16 A gentleman's residence in Calexico. In the year 1903.


:17 A shelter for the animals. Near Calexico.


:18 The bank building in process of construction. Also the new Heard store, next door. Mr. Miller built and owned the bank, the "First National of Brawley". Mr. Heard owned the store, this being his second move in two months. He moved into larger quarters three times within four months so rapidly did the town grow.


:19 Adobe walls of the bank after the fire. Winter of 1903. When Peter Hoverly was ill in a rooming house next door to the bank, a friend lighted an oil heater which had gasoline instead of oil and when it exploided[sic] badly burning Mr. Hoverly and set the bank afire. It was all over in 20 minutes and the town was no doubt saved by the heroic efforts of every man, woman, and child. C.H. Heard the owner of the only store wrapped himself in wetblankets[sic] his wife sent from her home, climbed onto roof of the bank and threw on water handed him in buckets, stew pans and kettles.


:20 The walls of the bank after the fire.


:21 After the fire. The bank walls and the heard[sic] store in the background. This shows the commotion soon after the fire in the rear of the building.


:22 Sacks of wheat, cut and threshed and sacked by the combined harvester. 1903


:23 The Alamo River Imperial Valley, California.