Despite these problems, however, San Diego was thriving, just like many cities across the United States. With the troubles of the Civil War long behind them, Americans were enjoying an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity. And by the early 20th century, the country had become a world leader in industry.
As America prospered, its cities grew. And, thanks to the railroads, more people than ever came to the previously isolated communities of the west. Meanwhile, in San Diego, the bay’s strategic naval location, along with its temperate climate, promised to make it a world-famous destination in its own right.
However, the arid conditions that made San Diego appealing also caused significant problems for the city. And in the winter of 1915, residents experienced drought after several weeks of unbroken dry weather. As the reservoirs on which the citizens were so dependent began to empty, the mood became one of increasing desperation.