Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
> ST. FRANCIS DAM
Western Abutment After the Break
St. Francis Dam


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West side of the dam after the break. The view is to the north. The end of the wing dyke is visible at left. The tombstone — the section of the dam that remained standing — is at right.

Photo by Hetta Laurena Carter a few weeks after the St. Francis Dam broke.

Compare to this photograph.

Further reading: Failing St. Francis: Water Pressure or Political Pressure?


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.


HC2808: 9600 dpi jpeg from original print.
LAURENA CARTER'S
ST. FRANCIS DAM PHOTOS

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2006 TV Interview


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Plugging Leak 2/1928

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Dam Face 2/1928

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Reservoir 2/1928

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Visiting Tombstone

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Visiting Tombstone

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Tombstone & Fallen Section

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Fallen Section

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Western Abutment

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