There will be very little delay in getting the Ocean-to-Ocean boulevard under way if the rest of the United States attacks the problem with the same energy and decision that has been shown by California, Arizona and New Mexico. On December 20-21, delegates of the Ocean-to-Ocean Highway Association met at Phoenix, Arizona, to discuss the problem as it pertains to the far West and to unite upon the route by which the trans-continental highway should cross these three states. The delegates present were appointed by the governors of the respective states which they represented and the resultant decision of the convention will have official weight in its influence upon the builders of the highway, in the near or far future, when the project is actually undertaken.
A strong delegation was present from both Arizona and New Mexico and California was well rep resented, the southern portion of the state particularly having some of its prominent men in attendance. In perfecting a permanent organization on the 20th, John S. Mitchell of Los Angeles was elected president; J. S. Cornwell of Los Angeles, treasurer, and George Purdy Bullard of Phoenix, secretary. In the ensuing business session on the day following, the principal matter brought up for settlement was the selection of the route which the highway should follow through the state of California. The delegates representing San Diego and the southern portion of the Imperial Valley were insistent that the association should endorse a route by way of Yuma to El Centro, thence over the Devil’s Canyon to San Diego and up the coast to Los Angeles, while the northern men united with the Los Angeles and upper Imperial Valley delegates in espousing a route through the Imperial Valley to Beaumont, Banning and thence into Los Angeles.
A caucus of the California delegation was called prior to the assembling of the convention and the Beaumont-Banning route was unanimously chosen as the favored course, the San Diego and El Centro delegates, who advocated the Devil’s Canyon route, declining to attend the caucus. On the floor of the convention, when the matter of the two routes came up, some rather acrimonious debate was indulged in, but President Mitchell ruled that the speakers for the San Diego delegation were out of order and a resolution embodying the Beaumont-Banning route was adopted for transmission to the federal authorities as the official action of the association.
Other matters considered were the proposed employment of convict labor on the projected highway, the location of certain roads through Indian reservations and forest reserves and the selection of the 1912 meeting place of the association. Santa Fe, New Mexico, eventually secured the honor of being the site for the next convention which will convene on the third Monday in October, 1912.
Following is the resolution which caused such a sharp fight and which was passed with such a sweeping majority by the convention, after it was presented by the California delegation:
“Whereas, the California delegation of the Ocean-to-Ocean Highway Association in caucus assembled, believing that the route presenting the fewest geographical and physical obstacles should be indorsed for the proposed national highway, having under consideration the advantages of such a highway passing through as much settled territory as possible, and within striking distance, at all times, of a transcontinental railroad, therefore, be it resolved, that the California delegation recommend as a course for the national highway, a route running westerly from Yuma, along and near the Southern Pacific Railway, to a point about four and one-half miles west of Mammoth station, thence southwesterly to Brawley, thence northwesterly wrong the south and west side of the Salton Sea to Mecca, thence along the line of the Southern Pacific tracks to Beaumont, Redlands Junction, Colton and thence along the shortest route to Los Angeles.”
The Los Angeles delegation consisted of John S. Mitchell, representing the Chamber of Commerce, Ralph Hamlin and Leon T. Shettler, as representatives of the Motor Car Dealers’ Association, W. H. Halliwell, Jr., and Walter Chanslor representing the accessory dealers, and Bert Smith of the Times and Chester Lawrence of the Examiner.