Earthguide Online Classroom

    Charles Mallory Hatfield, Rainmaker


Hatfield at work. Image from Hatfield the Rainmaker, by Thomas W. Patterson, 1970. Journal of San Diego History.
Image coutesy Journal of San Diego History.

See other images



Questions for thought

  1. Would you hire Hatfield during a drought?
  2. What was the population of San Diego in 1915?
  3. Why was San Diego so desperate for water by 1915?

Related resources

  • Hatfield the Rainmaker
    "Charles Mallory Hatfield's most noted achievement and the one about which the legend has grown is the San Diego flood of 1916, which Hatfield himself called "The most potent test I ever made."

    According to the legend, after making a contract with the Southern California city to produce rain, Hatfield erected high towers and installed mysterious machines near Morena dam, east of San Diego. As he mixed his brew of noxious chemicals, fire glowed at the top of the towers... The deluge his machinations produced almost destroyed San Diego and the surrounding farms. When posses of angry farmers started combing the hills for him intending to lynch him, Hatfield was forced to flee in disguise without waiting for payment. Since that time, he has never dared return to San Diego."

    Barbara Tuthill, 1954. Western Folklore, Vol. 13, No. 2/3 (1954), pp. 107-112.
    Acquired from JSTOR April 1, 2009.
  • Hatfield the Rainmaker
    "The best remembered facts about Hatfield The Rainmaker are that when he ministered to the sky it rained torrents and when he tried to collect $10,000 from the City of San Diego the mayor and council welshed."
    By Thomas W. Patterson, 1970. From the Journal of San Diego History, Summer 1970, Volume 16, Number 3.