History of Brawley, California
From: The History of Imperial County, California
Edited by: F. C. Farr
Published by: Elms and Franks
Berkeley, CA 1918


THE history of Brawley, the most productive area and largest produce shipping point in the State, extends down through a period of eighteen years, in which its transition from a barren desert to a zone of almost marvelous fertility, has been accomplished without hindrance through crop failure, pestilence or other disaster.

From a single brush wickiup in 1901 has grown the prosperous and well built city of 5000 inhabitants, enjoying the benefits of every essential modern public utility, and prosperous beyond the dreams of its most hopeful projectors.

Brawley today is the center of the greatest proven producing area in the United States - a claim sustained by its annual record of produce shipments, and its accredited rank as the second shipping point in the State of California. The almost marvelous fertility of its soil is equaled by the diversity of crops which mature perfectly and yield abundantly in response to practical farming processes. Nature withholds no good thing from the practical farmer, and two or even three crops will mature within a single unbroken year of 365 days in which the Brawley farmer may continue his farming operations.

Fruits, citrus and deciduous, dates, olives, grapes, melons, cotton, corn and all cereals, alfalfa and all vegetables yield in the most lavish abundance, and are first of spring products on the Eastern market.

Brawley lettuce, spinach, peas, cantaloupes, watermelons, tomatoes and grapes are first to mature and command highest price in the Eastern markets. The grower in this section takes no hazard on a harvest. Crop failures and parasites that destroy or minimize crop returns are unknown here, and the calendar year is one continuous round of seed time and harvest. In no section of the State does Nature respond more liberally to the touch of toil with a greater assurance of a harvest as a reward of properly directed energy.

The abundance of all the year around forage and favorable weather conditions make this an ideal section for stock growing and dairying, particularly the latter, in which the Brawley district surpasses any other section of the Valley and the State of California. The Valley supplies Los Angeles with 20,000 pounds of butter daily, and if required could grow all of the live stock necessary to sustain the southern half of the State. The profits of stock growing is enormous and that of dairying scarcely less. Of the total area of 320,000 acres of irrigated land in the Imperial Valley 100,000 is in alfalfa, 125,000 in milo maize and 50,000 in barley. The cotton acreage will not exceed 90,000.

Brawley is the shipping center of a producing area of 160,000 acres of the most productive land in the Imperial Valley, and aside from cotton is the producing center of the Valley.

In the volume of its vegetable products Brawley surpasses by far any other section of the Valley. Of the 4400 cars of cantaloupes shipped out last season almost 3000 were from Brawley district, and 2501 from Brawley station direct. The shipments of lettuce from the Valley this season aggregated about 385 cars, of which Brawley shipped 279 cars.

Little cause can be found for criticism of a climate that invariably matures a crop, and in some instances two and even three crops, and in a single season without failure. There are but two seasons - winter and summer, and not much of either, the two merging closely into each other. The temperature seldom drops below 30 degrees, and while it soars to 112 at times during the summer, this temperature is attended by no humidity and is not hurtful, the heat being equal to about go degrees in the east. The rainfall is less than two inches annually and could be spared altogether.

The climate is especially beneficial to rheumatic and ashmatic patients, in many cases effecting a radical cure of both within six months. No malarial or other antagonistic element has ever been recorded here. Children are rugged and healthy and the prevailing standard of public health is far above the average.

Including a magnificent $70,000 high school building, a grammar school building recently erected at a cost of $35,000, a splendid manual training system, three lesser school buildings and a parochial school, with a large attendance and perfect equipment, no city in any State has better schools nor a more capable educational staff for every branch of modern education, from the kindergarten to the advanced system.

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