E.C. Slipher had many interests besides astronomy. He was on the Flagstaff City Council (1917), mayor of Flagstaff (1918-1920), and later a member of the Arizona State Legislature (1929-1933) and Coconino County Draft Board (1940-1945).
He also served on numerous comittees and boards, such as The Great International Highway Association and Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce.
Slipher's documentation of these activities provides an interesting picture of the time.
In particular, the twentieth century was marked by the delicate problem of dividing the waters of the Colorado River with the signing of the Colorado River Compact in 1922, ratified by the State of Arizona in 1944. Slipher was a determined advocate of the rights of Arizona and urged legislation to implement its own water and power project. He was an early supporter of what became the Central Arizona Project in 1968, a 336-mile system that brings Colorado River water to central and southern Arizona.
"The water shortage is imminent [...] Our position is so clear that it is almost needless to warn you that Arizona cannot further develop agriculture or grow in population without more water. Power will come in time, but water never, unless we get it soon. The question is vital, vital to all Arizona" (E.C. Slipher, 1947).
Slipher was president of The Great International Highway Association, Inc. The Association's goal was the construction of a scenic road between Canada and Mexico, in particular for the junction from the Verde Valley to the Utah state line.
Notes, Correspondence, and Articles
FLAGSTAFF CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
THE GREAT INTERNATIONAL HIGHWAY ASSOCIATION