The Lay of the Land presents an informative history about the development of San Diego. The story begins with the liberation of Texas and continues with the subsequent war with Mexico. Mr. Pallamary’s book follows General Stephen Kearny and his corps of surveyors as they mapped and marched their way westward to California. The controversial actions of The Great Pathfinder, John Charles Frémont are also covered, as are early encounters between military Surveyors and Native Americans. The book also covers the challenges involved with locating the International Boundary Line between the United States and Mexico as specified by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Mr. Pallamary also provides informative insight into the creation of the government townships and section lines that govern the location of land throughout Southern California. Additional subjects contained in this informative manuscript include the impact of the land squatter movement on San Diego, the influence of the contentious No-Fence Law upon land settlement, the establishment of the San Bernardino Baseline and Meridian, and determination of the county boundary lines.
The Lay of the Land also examines the confusing land grant process and the obstacles involved with validating these claims before the United States Land Commission. Another important subject covered by Mr. Pallamary is the expansion of the transcontinental railroad and its impact upon San Diego. A number of the county’s most important engineering projects are also explored, including the relocation of the San Diego River, the transformation of False Bay into Mission Bay and the development of San Diego Harbor. Considerable coverage is provided on the subjects of land fraud, water boundaries, corrupt government Surveyors, and the Great Land Boom of 1887. Mr. Pallamary also documents the influence of many of the county’s more influential Land Surveyors including George Derby, Andrew Gray, Colonel John Coffee Hays, Cave Couts, Charles Poole, James Pascoe, Charles J. Fox, Myron G. Wheeler, Edwin Capps, Andrew Ervast, and Porter Perrin Wheaton, the Great Wheelbarrow Surveyor.
Mr. Pallamary’s insightful research into the creation of early subdivisions and the important lawsuits that were filed in connection with these nascent efforts provide a fresh insight into the mechanics of land subdivision and property surveying.
The Lay of the Land is a must for Professional Land Surveyors, Civil Engineers, Title Officers, Land Planners, Land Use Attorneys and anyone interested in the development of San Diego County.