6
DEPRESSION TO EMPIRE

I was born in St. Joseph’s Hospital in 1929 and of course I was born in April and that
fall the economy fell through the bottom. My dad was flat broke
.”

JOHN R. NORTON III, AT THE LAW OFFICES OF SNELL & WILMER, PHOENIX, ARIZONA,
AUGUST 11, 2009.

C’mon boys, let’s get this done.”

US SENATOR CARL HAYDEN (D-ARIZONA) GREETING MEMBERS OF THE ARIZONA INTERSTATE
STREAM COMMISSION IN HIS WASHINGTON, DC OFFICE JUST PRIOR TO LAUNCHING THE
MONUMENTAL Arizona v. California SUPREME COURT CASE CONCERNING WATER RIGHTS TO
THE COLORADO RIVER SYSTEM AND ITS TRIBUTARIES, AUGUST 13, 1952.

In September 1929, as the seemingly endless struggle over Colorado River resources continued, the stock market, which since the last half of 1924 had been on its biggest boom in history, began to behave more erratically than at any time in history. John R. Norton Jr., like the majority of Salt River Valley residents, did not have the resources to invest in the market and hardly noticed this sudden variation. But after each downturn, investors and speculators noted, there was a recovery. The vicissitudes of the fluctuating market alarmed few, if any, knowledgeable financial professionals. Then on October 24, 1929—Black Thursday—the beginning of the end arrived. Immediately after the market opened there was a panic to sell, and as speculators sought to sell rather than buy, stock prices fell. So many shares of stock traded hands that day—a record-setting 12,894,650 shares—the ticker fell hours behind actual activity on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Fear and confusion took hold.1

-123-

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The Norton Trilogy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword - The Honorable Jon Kyl, United States Senator vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - On the Edge of a Desert Empire 7
  • 2 - Corporate Water 29
  • 3 - Westward Tilt 55
  • 4 - John R. Norton Jr. and the Urban Oasis 93
  • 5 - Establishing Prior Rights 106
  • 6 - Depression to Empire 123
  • 7 - To the Other Side of the River 141
  • 8 - An Expatriate’s Dilemma- Arizona V. California 164
  • 9 - We Must Not Be Indecisive Lest We Be Ineffective 185
  • 10 - The Deputy Secretary of Agriculture 203
  • 11 - An Accurate Vision 219
  • Conclusion 239
  • Notes 244
  • Index 292
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