Santa Paula Flood Damage

St. Francis Dam Disaster

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March 16, 1928Real photo postcard shows wreckage in Santa Paula three days after the floodwaters from the St. Francis Dam Disaster inundated the city.

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Santa Paula historical consultants Mitch Stone and Judy Triem have identified the area as Fourth Street looking north from Harvard Boulevard. They note that at least two structures still exist as of 2019 (see photo below): a duplex at 228-230 S. 4th Street and a single-family home at 237 S. 4th Street, which is identifiable by its awning in the photo above (far right). The house next door to the latter, at 233 S. 4th Street, also appears to be the original.

The block-long building with the "Sunkist" sign in the distance is a Santa Paula Citrus Fruit Association packing house on the east side of Fourth Street between Main and Santa Barbara streets. The packing house survived the dam disaster only to be partially destroyed in an arson fire 51 years later at the height of a labor dispute between the growers and the United Farm Workers union. The fire of May 10, 1979, was the eighth such packing house fire in Ventura County in four months.

There were numerous citrus and vegetable packing houses in Santa Paula, and they tended to change hands, so piecing together the history is a little tricky. This packing house was probably erected in 1925. See the Oxnard Daily Courier of [June 16, 1915], [August 22, 1924], [April 11, 1925] and [June 11, 1925].

A hand-written date on the back of this RPPC reads, "3-16-29," but the year is incorrect. It was probably written from memory at a later time.

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Composite of Google Maps image(s) accessed 2019. Click image to enlarge | Download layered composite

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LW3667: 9600 dpi jpeg from original RPPC purchased 2019 by Leon Worden.
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