Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
> ST. FRANCIS DAM DISASTER
Ruins of the St. Francis Dam
San Francisquito Canyon


Click image to enlarge

Ruins of the St. Francis Dam, looking east, showing the top of the tombstone (the center section that remained standing) and behind it, the road that ran around the eastern perimeter of the reservoir.

3x5½-inch glossy print from 1928.


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.


DI2817: 9600 dpi jpeg from original photograph from Sharon Divis Collection. Print on file.
ST. FRANCIS DAM
Sharon Divis Collection

thumbnail
Dam & Reservoir

thumbnail
Floodpath, Rubble

thumbnail
Block 5

thumbnail
West Abutment

thumbnail
Empty Reservoir

thumbnail
Tombstone

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
  • Edwards Valencia
  • Edwards Cyn Ctry
  • Calendar
  • Freeway Conditions
  • Lowest Gas Prices
  • Canyon Theatre
  • The MAIN