Greetings from the Salton Sea: Folly and Intervention in the Southern California Landscape, 1905-2005

Overview

"In 1905 and 1906, California's largest inland body of water - the Salton Sea - was formed when Colorado River levees broke below the California-Mexico border. Great floodwaters filled the depression previously known as the Salton Sink - which, at its peak level of 195 feet below sea level, covered upwards of 400 square miles - creating an immediate sanctuary for birds and opportunities for future development." "During the past 100 years, numerous resort schemes arose along the shores of the Salton Sea. Frank Sinatra, Desi Arnaz, President
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Very Good Minimal wear to cover. Pages clean and binding tight. Paperback.

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Overview

"In 1905 and 1906, California's largest inland body of water - the Salton Sea - was formed when Colorado River levees broke below the California-Mexico border. Great floodwaters filled the depression previously known as the Salton Sink - which, at its peak level of 195 feet below sea level, covered upwards of 400 square miles - creating an immediate sanctuary for birds and opportunities for future development." "During the past 100 years, numerous resort schemes arose along the shores of the Salton Sea. Frank Sinatra, Desi Arnaz, President Eisenhower, Jerry Lewis, the Beach Boys, and the Marx Brothers all frequented the area, and during the 1960s tourists visited the Salton Sea in numbers that at times exceeded tourism in Yosemite." "By the 1980s, however, the Salton Sea's biologically overburdened system resulted in the near abandonment of the area's resorts and communities, and massive fish and bird die-offs reflected escalating environmental harm, especially from agricultural runoff in the Imperial Valley." "The future of the Salton Sea is uncertain. It remains a major habitat and stopover to more than 400 bird species as part of the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge; but poor water quality and impending water transfers to ever-expanding Southern California communities complicate the environmental picture." Kim Stringfellow's visual and historical account highlights one of California's - and America's - most fascinating and complex landscape histories at a time when the management of an entire regional ecosystem is at risk.
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Editorial Reviews

Rebecca Solnit
"The Salton Sea is one of the great conundrums for our time—a new place already in ruins, a toxic place that is also a wild bird refuge, a strange mix of debris and sublimity that Kim Stringfellow's pictures and history portray compellingly." —Rebecca Solnit
Matthew Coolidge
“Kim Stringfellow’s odyssey into the Salton Sea excavates cultural relics and treasures that surprise and astound. She weaves the fragments, tatters, and shards that she found into a salty tale that makes one nostalgic for the Sea’s future, something that seems always around the bend.  She has added an eloquent new exhibit to this museum of decay.”
Los Angeles Times - Leah Ollman
"Stringfellow's images, taken alone, may be understated, but seen in numbers and backed by her crisply elucidating text, they make for quite a saga."
San Diego Tribune - Ann Jarmusch
"With a cover photograph drenched in radioactive colors and irony, this book rests in the hands like a live grenade. . . . a urgent but measured plea for the restoration of this unique ecosystem. . . . Stringfellow lets the tragic saga of Salton Sea speak for itself in brief chapters that unfold with a novelist's flair and a scientist's precision. . . . She also uses her camera to present eye-and-soul-searing evidence fo the raging environmental devastation. . . . She softens what could have been more shocking documentary photography by bathing sad surreal landscapes in the golden light and saturated colors of day's end or its dawn. . . . Like her subject, which is but one of the countless environmental time bombs we face worldwide, Stringfellow's photographs deserve a larger venue."
New York Times - Roberta Smith
"You rarely escape a sense of nature’s vast, incalculable richness or of photography’s ability to do it justice. . . . Offers an exploration of the colorful past and precarious present of the man-made playground and disaster that is the Salton Sea in Southern California."
E Magazine
"[This] striking, smartly designed book is full of vibrant photos that will help transport readers to this otherworldly place, where rust-stained marshes, boarded-up hotels and mounds of rotting fish and algae bare witness to humankind's folly."
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Kim Stringfellow is an associate professor in the School of Art, Design, and Art History at San Diego State University. She is the author of Jackrabbit Homestead Tracing the Small Tract Act in the Southern California Landscape, 1938-2008.
 

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Table of Contents

Map of the Salton Sea
 
Introduction
 
A Brief History
 
Folly, Intervention, and the Future
 
The Plates
 
Notes on the Text
 
Notes on the Plates
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Author

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