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St. Francis Dam Disaster Papers: Finding Aid
mssSt. Francis Dam  
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This collection consists of 12 notebooks with documents including correspondence, meetings minutes, press releases, photographs, and reports about the St. Francis dam collapse in Los Angeles County, California, in March 1928, which led to the deaths of hundreds of people. The papers, dating from 1928-1929, document, in detail, how various governmental committees and non-governmental organizations worked together for the disaster's relief and compensation.
From 1924 to 1926, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power built the St. Francis Dam in the San Francisquito Canyon to help provide water for the city. However, the dam collapsed in the night between March 12 and 13, 1928. The flood travelled south through San Francisquito Canyon, turned west to the Santa Clara River, and destroyed parts of several towns and cities in Ventura and Los Angeles counties including Santa Paula City before it reached the Pacific Ocean. Hundreds of people were killed, homes became debris, agricultural plants in the field were washed away, and the value of land in the flooded area drastically decreased. The county and city governments, with the help of personnel from the state and federal agencies, established several committees to investigate the cause of the dam's failure, to provide material support for the survivors, and to compensate for the loss caused by the disaster. The Red Cross, the American Legion, and many individuals joined the relief efforts.
12 items, containing 974 pages of material, in 2 boxes.
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