A fifth attempt was made to curtail the uncontrolled waters flowing into the Imperial Valley from the Colorado River by building a dam. The dam, known as the Edinger Dam, was similar to the previous effort to build a jetty from the small sandy island, now known as Disaster Island, in the middle of the river channel to the west bank. After the dam was completed, it was successful in forcing a large amount of the river into the channel to the east of the island while still allowing sufficient water into the canal system to provide irrigation to the farms in the Imperial Valley.
Hopes were high that the structure would keep the river at bay, but tragically the water had different plans.
Edinger Dam During Construction
This picture was taken on Oct 21, 1905 from ‘Disaster Island’, downstream and behind the dam, looking north up the Colorado River. The dam was based on pilings driven into the riverbed with large mats, referred to as mattresses, attached to the pilings. Once the mattresses were put in place, dirt, silt, and rocks were piled up on the upstream side of the dam to complete it.