Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
> ST. FRANCIS DAM DISASTER   > CASTAIC JUNCTION
Highway Bridge Destroyed by Floodwaters
St. Francis Dam Disaster | Castaic Junction

Metal truss auto bridge on the Ridge Route at Castaic Junction destroyed by flood waters of the St. Francis Dam, March, 1928. Real photo postcard.

Caption reads: "Highway bridge ripped out by the raging waters after the big dam bursted."


Seven miles up San Francisquito Canyon Road from today's Copper Hill Drive, construction on the 700-foot-long, 205-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.


AL2020: 9600 dpi jpeg from 300 dpi jpg of original photograph, collection of Dr. Alan Pollack.
SANTA CLARA RIVER BRIDGE AT CASTAIC JUNCTION

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Postcard ~1923

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Same Bridge? 1928

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St. Francis Flood Damage 1928 x2

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St. Francis Flood Damage 1928

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Repairs 1928

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Damaged Bridges

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Roadbed 1980

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Ruins 2014 x23

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