Saturday, May 28, 2022
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    St. Francis Dam Disaster: Presentation at the Agriculture Museum of Ventura County — May 7th

    cialis arial, malady sans-serif; font-size: 12pt;”>The St. Francis Dam Disaster will be the focus of a presentation at the Agriculture Museum of Ventura County where a varied program will examine different aspects of the second largest disaster in state history. Sponsored by the California State University Northridge Forgotten Casualties Project, cialis the May 7  symposium will be held from noon to 3 p.m. at the museum located at 926 Railroad Ave. in Santa Paula.

    The public is invited to the annual symposium, held in past years in Newhall and on the CSUN campus. The St. Francis Dam Disaster occurred minutes before midnight on March 12, 1928 when the dam catastrophically failed, and the resulting flood of 12.4 billion gallons of water took the lives of at least 431 confirmed victims as it traveled 56 miles from the dam site out to the Pacific Ocean. The waters swept through what is now Santa Clarita and through the Santa Clara River Valley, destroying millions of dollars of property. The collapse of the St. Francis Dam is considered to be one of the worst American civil engineering disasters of the 20th Century and remains the second-greatest loss of life in California’s history, after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.  The disaster marked the end of the career of William Mulholland, the acclaimed head of the City of Los Angeles’ Bureau of Water Works & Supply who had created the Aqueduct.

    Featured in theMay 7 program will be CSUN Professor Dr. James Snead who founded the Forgotten Casualties Project and Krystal Kissinger, currently doing archeological fieldwork in San Francisquito Canyon, which was home to the dam that collapsed in 1928. Also featured is Ann Stansell, a founding member of the Forgotten Casualties Project, whose extensive research for her thesis, Memorialization and Memory of St. Francis Dam Disaster of 1928 is the first documentation of the confirmed victims and the forms of commemoration used for same. Santa Paula journalist Peggy Kelly will present “Thornton’s Wild Ride! The True, Untold and Unbelievable Story of the Hero of the St. Francis Dam Disaster”, about Thornton Edwards, a State Motor Officer and the city’s former police chief who was credited with saving many lives. Photographer and author John Nichols — who wrote “The St. Francis Dam Disaster” and amassed the disaster collection now owned by the Ventura County Museum — will address digital storage/curation issues of St. Francis Dam photographs. He will discuss how The Warning Sculpture — sponsored by the Santa Paula Historical Society — came to be placed and sign copies of his book detailing the dam disaster in photographs. Associate Dean/Professor Thomas McMullen of the University of Maryland will address “The St. Francis Dam Collapse and Its Impact on the Construction of the Hoover Dam”. While researching Hoover Dam McMullen saw several references to the St. Francis Dam Disaster, which piqued his interest leading to his startling dissertation.

    The audience will be encouraged to ask questions and tell personal stories before the symposium concludes with a tour of the acclaimed sculpture, The Warning which honors the victims, survivors and heroes of the St. Francis Dam Disaster. Stansell, Kelly and Nichols will lead the tour of The Warning, sculpted by Eric Richards.


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