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Description

"The Palm of God's Hand"  (Harold Bell Wright)

Rare tourist promotional map, focused on tourism in the Imperial Valley.

Centered on Brawley, California, the map includes vignettes highlighting tourist attractions, including the Salton Sea, Painted Gorge, Canebreak Canyon, Vallecito Stage Station, Tumco Mine & Ghost Town, American Girl Mine, wild life Habitats, Hot Mineral Spa, Migratory Bird Refuge, Boiling Mud Pots, etc.

Includes a list of more than 20 tourist points of interest on the verso.

The sailing boat on the Salton Sea is an interesting touch, with this map marking the beginning of the modern story of the area.  The U.S. Navy conducted a preliminary inspection of the Salton Sea in January 1940, and the Salton Sea Test Base (SSTB, run by Sandia Labs) was initially commissioned as the Salton Sea Naval Auxiliary Air Station, in October 1942. The SSTB, just to the southeast of Salton City, originally functioned as an operational and training base for seaplanes. Additional activities at the base included experimental testing of solid-fuel plane-launched rockets, jet-assist take-off testing, aeroballistic testing of inert atomic weapon test units at land and marine target areas, training bombing at marine targets, testing of the effects of long-term storage on atomic weapons, testing of the Project Mercury space capsule parachute landing systems, parachute training and testing, and military training exercises. The base was abandoned in 1978. 

Following the creation of the SSTB, the Salton Sea had some success as a resort area, with Salton City, Salton Sea Beach, and Desert Shores, on the western shore and Desert Beach, North Shore, and Bombay Beach, built on the eastern shore in the 1950s.  This success would last a few decades, before the receding waters and environmental issues ended the attractiveness of the region as a vacation spot.