SaintFrancisDam.com

San Francisquito Creek Flows with St. Francis Floodwaters

St. Francis Dam Disaster

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March 13, 1928 — The St. Francis floodwaters are still flowing down San Francisquito Creek at the Harry Carey Ranch on their way to the Pacific Ocean between Oxnard and Ventura, carving up the riverbanks and leaving debris in their wake. About 15 people are huddled on the left (south) bank, and it's possible someone is standing on the north bank about halfway down.

This would be one of the first photographs made after the St. Francis Dam collapsed 3 minutes before March 12 turned into March 13, 1928. It was too dark for photos for the first six hours or so. Sunrise on March 13 was officially 6:00 a.m. in Saugus and 6:10 a.m. in Oxnard.

Original Associated Press wirephoto (Telephoto), 5x7 inches (with border), from an unidentified newspaper archive. Cutline reads:

ORDER G191 X

Los Angeles Ca. Mar. 13 1928

Associated Press

San Francisco Quito Canyon Southern Calif. six hours after St. Francis dam had broken and buried its people and citrus groves under 30 feet of water.

Associated Press.

The Los Angeles Evening Express picked up the photo and ran it the same evening (March 13). While the AP cutline does not do so, the L.A. Evening Express identifies the location as the Harry Carey Ranch.

One might expect an L.A. Evening Express photographer made the photo and provided it to the AP, but the published credit (below) indicates otherwise.

Original AP cutline appears below, followed by its use in the L.A. Evening Express on March 13, and another example published the next day in another AP member newspaper in Nashville, Tenn.


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LW3703: 9600 dpi jpeg from original photograph purchased 2020 by Leon Worden.
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