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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly sunny
Mostly sunny
73°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
March 26
1821 - SCV (with the rest of Alta Calif.) becomes territory of Mexico during war for Mexican independence from Spain [story]
map


| 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
Tuesday, Mar 26, 2019
UCLA, USC Coaches in Admissions Scandal Arraigned; Plead Not Guilty
BOSTON (CN) – The first batch of defendants in the admissions bribery scandal was arraigned today in Boston, with a dozen college sports coaches and school administrators pleading not guilty to federal racketeering charges.
Tuesday, Mar 26, 2019
Cobblestone Cottage Closing After More than 3 Decades in Business
Years before the Westfield Valencia Town Center would be developed across the street, a 900-square-foot boutique made its debut and began a journey that would see more than three decades of change.
Tuesday, Mar 26, 2019
Policy Committee Approves Wilk Bill Aimed at Solving Homeless Crisis
SACRAMENTO - Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) announced on Monday the Senate Committee on Human Serves unanimously approved Senate Bill 333 (SB 333), a measure to address California's homeless crisis by requiring the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council (HCFC) develop and implement a long-term, strategic plan to combat homelessness across the state, complete with specific goals and benchmarks.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
The SCV Charity Chili Cook-off took place Thursday, March 21, at The Oaks Club at Valencia (formerly the TPC). The annual event benefits a local nonprofit organization every year.
SCV Charity Chili Cook-off Winners Announced
The Santa Clarita Valley (SCV) VegFest, is proud to announce the national nonprofit organization The Gentle Barn, as their new presenting sponsor. In addition, organizers of Santa Clarita’s first-ever vegan festival, have also announced that 20% of the proceeds from the one-day outdoor festival will benefit Kakao, Charity Water and local nonprofit organizations Bridge to Home and Family Promise.
SCV Vegan Fest to Benefit Local Nonprofits; Announces Presenting Sponsor
VICTOR VALLEY — College of the Canyons golfers Matthew Mansholt and Nobuhiko Wakaari took the top two individual spots and the Cougars rolled to a fifth straight tourney victory to remain leaders in the Western State Conference (WSC).
Cougars Golf Roll to 5th Straight Tourney Win
This week's golf meet featured a career-best finish, a preview of what should be a hyper-competitive conference tournament and a new team motto.
Mustang’s Senior Penalber Leads TMU Golf in Indio
BOSTON (CN) – The first batch of defendants in the admissions bribery scandal was arraigned today in Boston, with a dozen college sports coaches and school administrators pleading not guilty to federal racketeering charges.
UCLA, USC Coaches in Admissions Scandal Arraigned; Plead Not Guilty
NORTHRIDGE — Jillian James tossed a one-hitter against Saint Mary's before CSUN dropped a 14-2 decision to No. 1 UCLA Sunday afternoon at Matador Diamond.
CSUN Shuts Out Saint Mary’s; Falls to Top-Ranked UCLA
SAN LUIS OBISPO - The CSUN women's tennis team (10-4) had their winning streak snapped Sunday as the Matadors fell to the Mustangs, 4-3 in a close Big West conference bout.
Matadors Winning Streak Snapped by Cal Poly Mustangs
The city of Santa Clarita's Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission will be holding a special meeting Thursday, March 28, at 8:30 a.m.
March 28: Parks, Recreation & Community Services Special Meeting
Palmdale Water District (PWD), in collaboration with Angeles National Forest and Friends of Littlerock Dam, will hold a joint Littlerock Dam Community Information & Tour Day at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, April 6.
April 6: Littlerock Dam Community Information & Tour Day
A Royal Princess arrived at the Port of Los Angeles on Saturday – that is, the 3,560-guest Princess Cruises ship – now here to take travelers to sought-after destinations including the Mexican Riviera, the California Coast and Alaska.
‘Royal’ Fanfare for LA’s Newest Homeport Cruise Ship
California State University, Northridge’s youth summer camps will return this June for social enrichment activities that can guide children in critical thinking, athletics, problem solving and innovation, leaving them with a memorable summer experience.
Registration Now Open for CSUN’s Youth Summer Camps
LOS ANGELES – The Dodgers, winners of six consecutive division titles and back-to-back National League pennants, will kick off the 2019 season Thursday with Opening Day presented by Bank of America at 1:10 p.m. against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Dodgers to Honor Don Newcombe on Opening Day
Here is the list of what is currently filming in the Santa Clarita Valley for the week of March 25-31, 2019:
‘Bless this Mess,’ ‘NCIS LA,’ ‘Buried in the Backyard’ Now Filming in SCV
Flair Cleaners Valencia will host the Flair Cares Prom Dress Collection April 1 - April 30 to benefit Becca’s Closet, a nonprofit providing formal attire for local high school youth who cannot afford new dresses.
April 1-30: Flair Cares Prom Dress Collection
Years before the Westfield Valencia Town Center would be developed across the street, a 900-square-foot boutique made its debut and began a journey that would see more than three decades of change.
Cobblestone Cottage Closing After More than 3 Decades in Business
SACRAMENTO - Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) announced on Monday the Senate Committee on Human Serves unanimously approved Senate Bill 333 (SB 333), a measure to address California's homeless crisis by requiring the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council (HCFC) develop and implement a long-term, strategic plan to combat homelessness across the state, complete with specific goals and benchmarks.
Policy Committee Approves Wilk Bill Aimed at Solving Homeless Crisis
Circle of Hope, Inc. announced Monday its Executive Director, Pam Ripling, is retiring and the organization is currently seeking her replacement.
Circle of Hope Executive Director to Retire
1821 - SCV (with the rest of Alta Calif.) becomes territory of Mexico during war for Mexican independence from Spain [story]
map
The internationally acclaimed exhibition "Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983" made its West Coast debut at The Broad in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday.
Chouinard Alums Featured in ‘Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983’
Earlier this month, Library Journal named CalArts Reference & Instruction Librarian Marisa Méndez-Brady a 2019 "Mover & Shaker, "the trade publication’s annual award for “people shaping the future of libraries.”
CalArts Librarian Named 2019 ‘Mover & Shaker’ by Library Journal
The Mustangs beat San Diego Christian 4-1 and 3-2 in Lakeside on Saturday to complete a four-game sweep of the Hawks and move into a share of first place in GSAC standings.
Brooks Earns 700th Win in Mustang Sweep of San Diego
In light of how far the group has already come, TMU track and field coach Zach Schroeder is confident his 4x800-meter relay can go a little faster.
TMU Track & Field Shines at Westmont Collegiate Classic
The Santa Clarita Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission will hold a special meeting on Thursday, March 28, starting at 8:30 a.m.
March 28: Parks, Recreation, Community Services Special Meeting
The Santa Clarita Community College District's Board of Trustees will hold a joint business meeting with representatives of the Associated Student Government at College of the Canyons' Valencia Campus on Wednesday, March 27.
March 27: COC Board of Trustees, ASG Joint Business Meeting
The Santa Clarita City Council will hold its next regular and special meetings on Tuesday, March 26.
March 26: City Council Legislative, Special, Regular Meetings
On Friday in Lakeside, right-handed hitting senior Anthony Lepre's entire repertoire was on display in a doubleheader against San Diego Christian.
Lepre’s Big Day Powers Mustangs to Wins Over Hawks
A motorcyclist hurt and taken to the hospital Monday morning narrowly missed being run over by a big rig, one of the rescuing paramedics said.
Motorcyclist Hurt in Crash, Narrowly Misses Big-Rig Collision
California 38th District Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D-Santa Clarita) authored and submitted 14 bills prior to the Feb. 22 legislative submission deadline, tackling issues like education, human trafficking, and public safety.
Smith Introduces 14 Bills for Current Sacramento Session
This year’s annual Castaic Dam Run at Castaic Lake on Saturday, April 13 will offer more fun for families as the event will also include the community’s first-ever Gnome Festival, featuring a Kids’ Gnome Parade.
April 13: Annual Castaic Dam Run, First Gnome Festival, Kids’ Parade
Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Captain Timothy K. Murakami has been promoted to Undersheriff, according to a news release from the LASD's Information Bureau.
Murakami Promoted to LASD Undersheriff
After weeks of informational picketing and mediation, College of the Canyons and its full-time faculty members have reached a tentative agreement that would end an ongoing dispute between the two sides.
COC, Full-Time Faculty Reach Tentative Agreement
SCV Water’s FY 2018/19 Budget has been recognized, locally by the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers, and nationally by the Government Finance Officers Association, for meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting.
SCV Water Wins 2 Prestigious Awards for Inaugural Budget
Predicting that the public will not see the full report on Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections, Senator Lindsey Graham noted Monday that material covered by executive privilege will likely be kept under wraps.
Graham Expects Some of Mueller Report to Stay Secret
A pedestrian is in stable condition after a man accused of drunken driving drove over a man’s leg on the 23000 block of Drayton Street in Santa Clarita on Sunday.
Deputies Hold Suspect After Man’s Leg is Run Over Outside Homeless Shelter
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Court Services Division Chief Robin Limon has been promoted to Assistant Sheriff for LASD, according to the Sheriff's Information Bureau.
LASD Promotes Robin Limon to Assistant Sheriff
1889 - Castaic School District established [story]
Castaic siding