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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
El Paso in El Paso County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

The Rainmakers of 1891

 
 
The Rainmakers of 1891 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Stroud, June 1996
1. The Rainmakers of 1891 Marker
Inscription. Working on the theory that explosives could cause rainfall because many war battles had been followed by rain, the U.S. Department of Agriculture conducted experiments in rainmaking. During a West Texas drought in 1891 the agency brought the experiment to Midland, with some success. Desperate for rain, El Paso city leaders convinced the Department to come here and try the same procedure. On September 18, some 370 charges of dynamite and other explosives were fired from the heights of Mt. Franklin, but no rain resulted. Only a heavy dew was reported.


Incise on base: Sponsored by MBank El Paso
 
Erected 1986 by Texas Sesquicentennial 1836 - 1986. (Marker Number 5407.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Believe It or Not marker series.
 
Location. 31° 46.955′ N, 106° 28.785′ W. Marker is in El Paso, Texas, in El Paso County. Marker can be reached from Scenic Drive. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: El Paso TX 79902, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Franklin Mountains (here, next to this marker); The Rio Grande Irrigation Project (here, next to this marker);
The Rainmakers of 1891 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, November 4, 2010
2. The Rainmakers of 1891 Marker
Scenic drive and parking area are at top of stairs.
El Paso Lower Valley Missions/ Cordova Island/ The City and County of El Paso (here, next to this marker); The Rio Grande Rectification Project (a few steps from this marker); The Chamizal Settlement (a few steps from this marker); Mount Cristo Rey/ The Gadsden Purchase/ El Paso Smelting Works (a few steps from this marker); El Paso International Airport / The Butterfield Trail / Refinery Area (a few steps from this marker); Scenic Drive (a few steps from this marker). Click for a list of all markers in El Paso.
 
Regarding The Rainmakers of 1891. Drought has always been a problem in Texas. Beginning in the early 1890s, Texans began to experiment with "rainmaking" techniques. In 1891, General Robert St. George Dyrenforth used explosive balloons and artillery to try to make rainclouds develop in Midland. Congress and the Department of Agriculture paid for the experiments, which were inconclusive.
 
Also see . . .  The Franklin Mountains. Franklin Mountains dominate the skyline of the city of El Paso. (Submitted on January 17, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.) 
 
Additional comments.
1. Additional Rainmaker Sites
In 1892, the rainmakers tried their hand in El Paso, the King Ranch in South Texas, and Camp Farwell near San Antonio, with little result. The experiment had ended in failure.
    — Submitted January 17, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.

 
Categories. Science & Medicine
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 1,870 times since then and 38 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.   2. submitted on , by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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