Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
> ST. FRANCIS DAM
Upended Southern Pacific Train Track
Castaic Junction


Click image to enlarge

Southern Pacific train track, upended when the floodwaters from the St. Francis Dam came through during the wee hours of Tuesday, March 13, 1928.

Photographer and date of photo unknown; acquired at a flea market. There is nothing written on the original print to indicate where this is, but it looks about like this photograph of upended track one-quarter mile west of Castaic Junction.


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 411 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.


DI2801: 19200 dpi jpeg from original print.
ST. FRANCIS DAM
Sharon Divis Collection

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Dam & Reservoir

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Floodpath, Rubble

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Block 5

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West Abutment

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Empty Reservoir

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Tombstone

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Tombstone with Ladder x2

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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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Tombstone & Perimeter Road

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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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