Section Two Cover – Joseph P. Widney
Another easy (to me, anyway – but I'm into this stuff) to figure out POD here. Joseph P. Widney actually is somewhat famous – U.S.C. Dean, historian, and doctor.
In 1873, he did propose to Congress "to turn the Colorado River deliberately into the Salton Basin and re-create Lake Cahuilla"
in order to vastly increase rainfall in the area, provide irrigation for farmland, and generally make the desert there a nicer place to live. He also noted that this would be relatively easy to do and "that the river was, without help from man, approaching a condition where it might soon turn itself back into the basin"
– a pretty good guess, as this is what would happen in 1905 (at which point major buckage was spent to turn the river away
and back to the Gulf – as the rising waters were going to inundate the railroad lines through the basin!).
On OTL, Congress failed to pass the bill – mostly because the civil engineer they hired to evaluate it got it wrong and thought Widney was proposing to let seawater
into the basin. So a very minor POD (that engineer actually understands
the proposal) and in 1874, Congress appropriates a few tens of thousands of dollars to divert the Colorado.
The lake fills, the climate is
made better – and farming gets a twenty-year head-start in the basin. In 1925 a joint U.S./Mexican projects builds a further diversion canal (the postcard for the "Widney Canal" in the lower right of the cover) to fill "Lake Widney," on the Baja side of the border (though Lake Cahuilla already
crosses the border – and won't that
be a bitch for the current-day Border Patrol trying to stop illegals...).
This is another POD ripe with butterflies. To name a few: