Cameron, Ralph H.

His bill brought about Arizona statehood while Territorial Delegate, won authorization for Coolidge Dam, built Bright Angel Trail into the Grand Canyon

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Description:
(1863-1953) Maine-born prospector and politician, served as Arizona Territorial Delegate to Congress 1909-12 and as the state's 1st GOP US Senator 1921-27. As Territorial Delegate, he saw Arizona achieve statehood. His greatest achievement in Senate was authorization for the Coolidge Dam. He was active early in efforts to develop the Grand Canyon and often used his political influence to help his business interests. At 13 he left home in Maine for the fishing fleet on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland for 5 years. After reading John Wesley Powell's account of his 1869 exploration of the Colorado River, he took a train to Flagstaff. Two months later, he visited the Grand Canyon, explored the area and returned a year later to investigate lumbering opportunities along the South Rim. He and his brother eventually focused on mining in the Grand Canyon. In 1890, Cameron helped establish the Last Chance Mine, building a trail and log cabin to improve access to the mine 1892-93. Cameron and his brother built a hotel at the head of the Bright Angel Trail and began charging a toll for its use, angering many. He also began filing strategically placed mining claims, owning 39 by 1907. In 1889, Cameron became a leader in efforts to create Coconino County from northern Yavapai County. When the new county was formed in 1891, he was appointed the county's 1st sheriff, winning reelection in 1894 and 1896. In 1908, Republican Cameron defeated Territorial Delegate Democrat Mark Smith, taking office March 4, 1909. His statehood bill passed the House January 17. Cameron's term as Delegate was extended by presidential proclamation as part of the process granting Arizona statehood. He fought the Grand Canyon becoming a national park believing mining was vital to the economic development of the area. Despite Cameron's opposition, President Roosevelt established Grand Canyon National Monument Jan. 22, 1908. President Taft signed the Arizona statehood bill Aug. 21, 1911; Arizona became a state Feb. 14, 1912. During the 1911 run up to statehood, Cameron was GOP nominee for the US Senate but lost election and focused on business. Cameron and other northern Arizona residents blocked development plans for the canyon through their mining claims. Dealing with the claims was complicated by the fact the national monument was administered by the Dept. of Agriculture; mining claims were administered by the Interior Department. Creating a national park combined administration into the Interior Dept. President Wilson signed the bill creating Grand Canyon National Park Feb. 26, 1919. Cameron challenged incumbent Mark Smith for the Senate and was elected. His Senate seat allowed him to strike at the Park Service through their funding and he used his position to try and regain control of the Bright Angel Trail, which he still claimed to own. In the 1926 election, Democrat Carl Hayden won, ending his influence in the Grand Canyon. Cameron ran in 1928 & 1934 for the Senate but lost. TLS on 10 1/2 x 8 Committee on the Territories, House of Representatives letterhead, Washington, February 9 1912 (9 days before Arizona was admitted into the Union and the end of his term as Territorial Delegate).to Robert Stein, Washington. Cameron appreciates Stein's article in the Washington Times and thanks him for sending extra copies. Cameron will consult with Captain Albert Mahan and with Stein as he is "...very much interested in seeing a deep sea harbor on the coast of Arizona and propose to put in a great deal of time and energy to bring about this result." Interesting as Arizona has no coast of its own!

Condition: Very good, normal mail folds
Type:Letter






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