He helped rebuild San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake, and had just completed the famed Rock Mile tunnel in that city, when he heard he might be needed in Las Vegas, New Mexico.
He was told the land grant board in that faraway city was having trouble with its plans for a mammoth reservoir and irrigation project, which was at a standstill after D.A. Camfield gave up in frustration and abandoned the project in 1912.
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