[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly clear
Mostly clear
55°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
May 26
1907 - John Wayne born in Iowa; got start in movies filmed in Placerita Canyon [watch one]


| Monday, Mar 11, 2019
Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society president Alan Pollack, center, speaks with visitors at the site of the St. Francis Dam Disaster. | Photo: Ryan Mancini/The Signal.
Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society president Alan Pollack, center, speaks with visitors at the site of the St. Francis Dam Disaster. | Photo: Ryan Mancini/The Signal.

 

History enthusiasts stood along the fractured, original San Francisquito Canyon Road and looked up at where the St. Francis Dam once stood.

“You’re standing within the dam, right here,” said Alan Pollack, president of the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society, as he pointed at where the dam once stood.

On Saturday, the society recognized the 91st anniversary of the St. Francis Dam Disaster with a lecture at the Saugus Train Station at Heritage Junction in Newhall, followed by a bus tour and hike to the site at San Francisquito Canyon for a planned national memorial that will recognize the second greatest disaster in California History.

The hike ended at the site for the planned visitor center and memorial wall of the over 400 victims of the disaster, along with a compact Native American village and ADA-approved trails.

The group was led by Pollack and Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel, executive director of the Community Hiking Club and is on the historical society’s board of directors. During the lecture, Pollack gave visitors the full background behind the dam’s creation, the “Shakespearean” rise and fall of civil engineer William Mulholland, the disaster itself and the subsequent fallout with regards to accountability and safety. Erskine-Hellrigel told the stories of several victims in the disaster.

The dam collapsed on March 12, 1928, with flood water reaching the Pacific Ocean and taking the lives of over 400 people. Mulholland took responsibility for the disaster.

“If there was an error in human judgment, I was the human,” Mulholland later said about the disaster.

Ideas on legislation began under former Rep. Buck McKeon and passed the House of Representatives under former Rep. Steve Knight. Legislation passed last month in both the Senate and House, a companion bill to the first legislation introduced by Rep. Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce. The bill now awaits President Donald Trump’s signature.

“It’s phenomenal,” Erskine-Hellrigel said. “A lot of people that live in Santa Clarita have no clue that the dam was even there or that the second biggest disaster in California happened here and so many people died. Everybody’s going to know. Not only will it be great for Santa Clarita, it’s going to put us on the map. People across the country are going to know about it.”

Pollack noted the parallels with the 1889 Johnstown Flood in Pennsylvania, which took the lives of over 2,000 people and is considered the worst dam failure in U.S. history.

“The intrigue leading up to the dam failure, the mistake made in dam-building, the tremendous destruction and loss of life,” Pollack said. “The major difference that I saw between Johnstown and St. Francis was they had a national memorial status and we don’t.”

Steve Simon hiked with the rest of the group to the site. As someone interested in history, he’s continued to go on these outings with the historical society over the last decade. He said his children did not grow up learning about the disaster in school, but hoped people will learn more about it as time goes on.

“Every time you come out here, you pick up a new tidbit of information,” he said.

The historical society will hold another bus tour commemorating the St. Francis Dam Disaster on March 31. The tour will cover the 52-mile area affected by the flood between Santa Clarita and Santa Paula.

For more information, go to scvhs.org/wp/.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

1 Comment

  1. Candi Curtis Hyter says:

    Thank you Alan and Diane for telling this story. It always amazes me how this major disaster in the history of California is basically swept under the rug and kept a secret. It is such an important part of the growth of LosAngeles that went terribly wrong. My grandmother, Lillian Curtis didn’t speak much about it, understandably, and my father, Daniel Curtis was only 3 and through the years he only said he really didn’t remember it, only the stories that were shared by His mom, Lillian’s family who helped her through those days of rebuilding her life. I am so happy to hear a monument is in the works. Thank you Candi Curtis Hyter

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Friday, May 24, 2019
SCV Detectives Issue Sketch of Indecent Exposure Suspect
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station detectives released a composite sketch Friday afternoon of the man suspected of indecent exposure in Towsley Canyon Park on Thursday, May 16.
Friday, May 24, 2019
SCV Deputies Rescue Suicidal Man on Canyon Country Bridge
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies rescued a suicidal man from a Canyon Country bridge on Thursday night, station officials reported.
Friday, May 24, 2019
Cannabis Tax Revenue in First Quarter 2019 Nearly Doubles 1Q 2018
The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration reported tax revenue numbers Friday totaling $116.6 million for cannabis sales for the first quarter of 2019, nearly doubling revenue over the first quarter of 2018.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1907 - John Wayne born in Iowa; got start in movies filmed in Placerita Canyon [watch one]
1966 - Mustang Drive-In theater opens on Soledad Canyon Road [story]
Mustang Drive-In
The Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association have released their "Beer Serves America" economic report on the nation’s beer industry, showing the U.S. beer industry supports more than 2.1 million jobs and contributes more than $328 billion to the U.S. economy.
Report: Beer Industry Creates 2 Million Jobs, Pours $328B into U.S. Economy
Los Angeles County's Department of Animal Care and Control has received a 2019 Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties for DACC's "Pawsitive Steps" program.
LA County Animal Care Wins National Achievement Award
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station detectives released a composite sketch Friday afternoon of the man suspected of indecent exposure in Towsley Canyon Park on Thursday, May 16.
SCV Detectives Issue Sketch of Indecent Exposure Suspect
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies rescued a suicidal man from a Canyon Country bridge on Thursday night, station officials reported.
SCV Deputies Rescue Suicidal Man on Canyon Country Bridge
The Valley Industry Association will host "Cocktails and Conversation: An Evening with Kathryn Barger" at the Valencia Country Club on Wednesday, June 26, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
June 26: VIA to Host Evening with LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger
The Santa Clarita City Council will hold its next regular meeting Tuesday, May 28, starting at 6 p.m. and preceded by a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. for labor negotiations.
May 28: Santa Clarita City Council Special, Regular Meetings
The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration reported tax revenue numbers Friday totaling $116.6 million for cannabis sales for the first quarter of 2019, nearly doubling revenue over the first quarter of 2018.
Cannabis Tax Revenue in First Quarter 2019 Nearly Doubles 1Q 2018
To improve Memorial Weekend holiday traffic flow on Interstate 5 through the Santa Clarita Valley, the California Department of Transportation opened a fourth northbound lane Wednesday where only three lanes were open in recent months due to construction.
Caltrans Opens New I-5 Lane in Time for Memorial Weekend
U.S. Rep. Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce, will celebrate Memorial Day in all three valleys of California's 25th Congressional District with events on both Saturday, May 25 and Monday, May 27.
Hill to Spend Memorial Weekend in 3 Valleys
After getting rained out on Wednesday, the JetHawks and Inland Empire 66ers split a doubleheader Thursday night at San Manuel Stadium.
JetHawks Split Thursday Double-Header with 66ers
The Los Angeles County Health Officer has called a Cold Weather Alert due to the National Weather Service’s forecast for low temperatures for the Los Angeles County mountain areas on Sunday, May 26.
Cold Weather Alert Called for Local Mountains on Sunday
The Santa Clarita City Council invites the public to attend an unveiling ceremony in front of the Valencia Library for the newest public art sculpture in Santa Clarita called “Imag_ne” by Australian artist Emma Anna on Wednesday, June 5, at 10 a.m.
June 5: Unveiling of ‘Imag_ne’ Public Art Piece at Valencia Library
While college is a faraway thought for most junior high students, Mark Gray was not only thinking about college, but also saving up for it, too.
Hard Work Pays Off for COC Graduating Student
Detectives from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station seek the public's help to identify a man suspected of stealing personal items from a locker at the LA Fitness club in Centre Pointe.
SCV Detectives Seek ID of Suspected Gym Locker Thief
A housing development plan for Canyon Country, introduced in 2006 when the housing industry entered the Great Recession, was dusted off this week and given a one-year extension by regional planners.
Regional Planners OK Time Extension for Canyon Country Development
Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday issued a proclamation Friday officially declaring Monday, May 27, 2019, as “Memorial Day” in the state of California.
Newsom Issues Proclamation Declaring Memorial Day
While still currently under construction, the development project formerly known as Newhall Ranch, which is also part of Valencia, will bring kids into the Saugus, Castaic and Newhall elementary school districts, as well as the William S. Hart Union High School District, local school officials have been told.
FivePoint Development to Add Enrollments to 4 SCV School Districts
A Santa Clarita woman who led police on a pursuit from Valencia to Tarzana while driving an RV with two dogs inside on Tuesday was charged Thursday with nine felony counts, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Woman Driving RV in Police Pursuit Charged with 9 Felonies
1860 - Colonel Thomas F. Mitchell arrives in Soledad Canyon [story]
T.F. Mitchell
After one and a half hours inside a crumpled car, the last of two people trapped was freed from the wreckage.
3 Hurt in Multi-Vehicle Stevenson Ranch Crash
The city of Santa Clarita is excited to announce the winners of the 16th annual “Bike to Work Day” Challenge that took place on Thursday, May 16.
City Announces Winners of ‘Bike to Work Day’ Challenge
SACRAMENTO – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notified California on Wednesday that it is in full compliance with the federal REAL ID Act and regulation.
DHS: California in Full Compliance with REAL ID Regulations
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) announces the expansion of the State of California’s CalFresh Program to now serve older adults and people with disabilities who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, beginning June 1, 2019.
CalFresh Expanding to Seniors, People with Disabilities Receiving SSI Benefits
LOS ANGELES – The Dodgers will hold their annual Alumni Game on Saturday, June 1, as part of Alumni Weekend presented by Security Benefit, when the club will welcome back over 30 fan-favorite players to Dodger Stadium.
More than 30 Fan Favorites to Take Part in Dodgers Alumni Weekend
SCVi, iLEAD’s founding school, will welcome Dr. Jacob Cohen, Chief Scientist at NASA Ames Research Center, to campus on Friday to kick off the school’s inaugural International Hack Into Space Competition, the school announced Thursday.
May 24: SCVi Hosts Inaugural International Hack into Space Competition
Three-hundred employees from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) volunteered their Saturday morning over Mother’s Day weekend to inspire hope at their annual “Help the Homeless” event at the Weingart Center in downtown L.A.
County Employees Inspire Hope at Annual ‘Help the Homeless’ Event
SACRAMENTO - State Sen. Scott Wilk, representing the 21st Senate District, announced Thursday the Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 219 (SB 219), a measure that will create a pilot program for foster youth to receive grants for extracurricular and enrichment activities.
Wilk Legislation to Create Foster Youth Pilot Program Clears State Senate
The Old Town Newhall Farmers Market will be celebrating their 4 year anniversary this Saturday, May 25, from 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the Old Town Newhall Library.
May 25: Old Town Newhall Farmers Market 4 Year Anniversary Celebration
Many people in our community have a parent or other family member who may be a veteran, who is presently deployed overseas, or who has recently returned home from active duty in the military.
June 15: Pathways to Empowerment SC Veteran & Family Mental Health Day
Robert Penalber is fairly confident that before long very little of what transpired on the course this week, or over the last four years for that matter, will be remembered.
Penalbar Misses Cut at NAIA Nationals
Well Q2 was removed from service after quarterly perchlorate sampling conducted on May 8, 2019, returned a result of 0.006 mg/L – which is the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), where treatment becomes necessary or a supply needs to be removed from service. Q2 is located near the Lowe’s shopping center on the west side of Bouquet Canyon, just north of the Santa Clara River.
Perchlorate Detected in Well Near Lowes Shopping Center
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Katie Hill serves as co-chair of the New Democrats’ Housing Task Force, which made public its goals for the 116th Congress on Wednesday. Hill serves alongside Representatives Denny Heck (D-WA) and Ben McAdams (D-UT).
Hill to Address Homelessness, Housing Shortage with New Task Force
The California Enterprise Development Authority will hold a teleconference meeting Thursday, May 23, at 10:30 a.m.
May 23: California Enterprise Development Authority Teleconference Meeting
%d bloggers like this: