Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
> ST. FRANCIS DAM DISASTER
West Abutment & Wing Dyke
St. Francis Dam Disaster


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Looking up at the west abutment and wing dyke, from the broken base of the St. Francis Dam.

4x6-inch BW film transparency (larger than 4x5). Date, photographer and original purpose of photograph unknown. Compare to this series of images.


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.


DI2813: 9600 dpi jpeg from original 4x6-inch transparency purchased 2015 by Sharon Divis. Transparency and 1.7GB archival scan on file.
ST. FRANCIS DAM
Sharon Divis Collection

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Dam & Reservoir

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Floodpath, Rubble

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West Abutment

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Empty Reservoir

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Tombstone

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Climbing Tombstone

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Visiting Tombstone

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Picnic at Dam Site

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Dam Rubble x2

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Upended SPRR Track

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Wrecked Farmhouse

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PH-2 Reconstruction

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PH-2 Reconstruction

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PH-2 Reconstruction

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