Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
Wrecked Farmhouse
Fillmore or Santa Paula, Calif.

Click image to enlarge

This farmhouse was destroyed when the floodwaters from the St. Francis Dam Disaster reached this area in the wee hours of March 13, 1928. Fillmore or Santa Paula; probably Santa Paula.

Photographer unknown. The image is double-exposed (it's blurry). The tail of a windmill is visible in the foreground at right. White sheets are often indicative of casualties, but it's hard to tell here.

Construction on the 600-foot-long, 185-foot-high St. Francis Dam started in August 1924. With a 12.5-billion-gallon capacity, the reservoir began to fill with water on March 1, 1926. It was completed two months later.

At 11:57:30 p.m. on March 12, 1928, the dam failed, sending a 180-foot-high wall of water crashing down San Francisquito Canyon. An estimated 431 people lay dead by the time the floodwaters reached the Pacific Ocean south of Ventura 5½ hours later.

It was the second-worst disaster in California history, after the great San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906, in terms of lives lost — and America's worst civil engineering failure of the 20th Century.

DI2812: 9600 dpi jpeg from original 4x6-inch transparency purchased 2015 by Sharon Divis.
(St. Francis Dam Disaster 1928)

Broken Highway

Broken Water Main

Santa Paula Structures x11

April 8, 1928 x2

Wrecked Farmhouse

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