Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
> ST. FRANCIS DAM
St. Francis Dam Tombstone
San Francisquito Canyon


Click image to enlarge

The St. Francis Dam "tombstone" — the section of the dam that remained standing after the dam broke March 12, 1928 — from the inside looking out (looking south).

This 2½x4-inch print, acquired at a flea market, shares the physical characteristics of this one, suggesting that it, too, may have been mass produced as a souvenir.


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.


DI2803: 19200 dpi jpeg from original print.
ST. FRANCIS DAM
Sharon Divis Collection

thumbnail

Dam & Reservoir

thumbnail

Floodpath, Rubble

thumbnail

Block 5

thumbnail

West Abutment

thumbnail

Empty Reservoir

thumbnail

Tombstone

thumbnail

Tombstone with Ladder x2

thumbnail

Climbing Tombstone

thumbnail

Visiting Tombstone

thumbnail

Picnic at Dam Site

thumbnail

Dam Rubble x2

thumbnail

Tombstone & Perimeter Road

thumbnail

Upended SPRR Track

thumbnail

Wrecked Farmhouse

thumbnail

PH-2 Reconstruction

thumbnail

PH-2 Reconstruction

thumbnail

PH-2 Reconstruction

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