The Colorado River’s First Dam Transformed The Desert Southwest

Jim Cuming is a retired farmer whose grandfather immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland. Edward Cuming got 160 acres in Arizona’s Yuma Valley from the federal government. Jim Cuming said the land was as undeveloped as a dry riverbed. In order to survive and develop the farm, his grandfather had to make a living. “This Laguna Dam project opened up. So they moved up to the dam and he worked on the dam there as a carpenter,” he said. That means Cuming’s grandfather helped build the dam that made it possible to irrigate his own farmland.