St. Francis Dam Site.
National Register of Historic Places Nomination.

Summary of Signficance

The St. Francis Dam site is significant at the state level under Criterion A as the site of the second largest disaster in terms of loss of life of any type in California history, and the largest in the state of human origins. Further, the collapse of the dam would lead directly to changes in the design and construction of dams not only within California, but elsewhere in the United States. The St. Francis Dam disaster would be seen as the capstone of an infamous series of events which began with the Lippincott surveys in the Owens Valley in 1905, and as such, become a prominent element not only within the broader fabric of California's history, but also within the lore which grew up around the development of water resources in the West.

The site of the St. Francis Dam disaster is also significant under Criterion B as directly causing the abrupt end of the career of William Mulholland, chief engineer of the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Water Works and Supply, one of the principal enablers of the growth and development of modem Los Angeles.

Note: The initial draft of February 2004 was submitted by the USDA Forest Service to the National Park Service, which returned it for revisions. The nomination form above (June 2004) is the final, revised version. To date, it has not been approved by the Park Service.

LW3198: Download pdf here. Courtesy of Mitch Stone.
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