Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
> ST. FRANCIS DAM
St. Francis Dam with Water in Forebay
San Francisquito Canyon


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Unidentified woman peers into the St. Francis Dam's forebay, 1927.

Note the four people on top of the dam (two and two).


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.


LW2574: 19200 dpi jpeg from Automobile Club of Southern California collection at the Huntington Library, Call No.: Negative Box 58 (8145-A).
ST. FRANCIS DAM INTACT

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3-11-1928 (Last Photo)

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3-9-1928

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1927

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1927

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~1928

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