Click to enlarge.
The contention that the big San Francisquito dam was never built right, even to the quality
of the concrete, was borne out by the facts when it was finally wrecked by the big explosion
a couple of weeks ago. Preparations were made to blow the foundation from under it and
topple it over into a big hole which was prepared on the upper side. The tunnels were
carefully calculated to break up the pillars of concrete and do the work smoothly.
When the charge was finally fired, there was a dull report,
the big mass quivered, rose slightly, and sunk into a mass of small fragments right where it
had stood. When the under foundations were gone, the different chunks of concrete fell
apart, as undoubtedly the washed out part did on the fatal night when the foundation went
from under the structure.
The road was cleared and opened in just a week from the time the explosion
was staged, and travel now goes on as usual up the canyon and only a pile of concrete
marks the spot of one of the most disgraceful fiascoes of modern engineering. And the
disgracful part of it is not mitigated by the fact that the site still remains one of the
best places in the mountains on which to construct a reservoir — but it can never be
done, on account of the fear that there might be a repetition of the awful scenes
of March 13, 1928.*
* Note: Thatcher wrote 1927; it was a typo.