Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
> ST. FRANCIS DAM DISASTER
Highway Pile Driver
Southwest of Castaic Junction | St. Francis Dam Disaster


Click image to enlarge

A steam-powered pile driver used southwest of Castaic Junction to install timber piles for a new bridge to replace one that washed away when the floodwaters hit during the early morning hours of March 13, 1928.



Click image to enlarge.

From Jason Brice: A Google image of the same view, looking west from the Highway 126 bridge over the Santa Clara River, about halfway between Castaic Junction and Del Valle.



Click image to enlarge.

From Jason Brice: Google image showing the location today (2014) of the "pile driver" image in RO2803e. The red circle surrounds the hills behind and to the right of the pile driver. The red arrow is pointing at it from the photographer's position. The blue lines are the edges of the Santa Clara River bed with the highway bridge between them (under the red arrow). The road in the middle, running perpendicular to Highway 126, is Commerce Center Drive. The industrial buildings between Commerce Center Drive and the red circle are the U.S. Postal Service mail processing facility. Immediately behind the red circle (above it, to the right) is the Chiquita Canyon Landfill.



Click map to enlarge.

According to Jason Brice, the pile driver seen in this photo (RO2803e) and this photo (RO2803f) is in the same location, one view looking west and the other east. Brice has circled the spot where the pile driver is being used to rebuild the bridge over Castaic Creek.



Destroyed highway and railroad bridges | Click to enlarge.

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.


RO2803e: 19200 dpi jpeg. Online image only.
LADWP Archive
CASTAIC JUNCTION
St. Francis Dam Disaster

thumbnail
Flood Path Aerials x3

thumbnail
High Water Mark

thumbnail
SPRR Tracks Moved

thumbnail
SPRR Track Erosion

thumbnail
Highway Pile Driver

thumbnail
Highway Pile Driver

thumbnail
Highway Pile Driver

RETURN TO TOP ]   RETURN TO MAIN INDEX ]   PHOTO CREDITS ]   BIBLIOGRAPHY ]   BOOKS FOR SALE ]
SCVHistory.com is another service of SCVTV, a 501c3 Nonprofit • Site contents ©SCVTV • Additional copyrights apply
comments powered by Disqus
Click for Forecast from weatherUSA   • Edwards Valencia
  • Edwards Cyn Ctry
  • Calendar
  • Freeway Conditions
  • Lowest Gas Prices
  • Canyon Theatre
  • REP Theatre