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Emergency morgue with bodies of victims of the flood that followed the failure of the Saint Francis Dam, Newhall (Calif.), 1928
Date Created and/or Issued
March 1928
Publication Information
Los Angeles Times
Contributing Institution
UCLA, Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library
Los Angeles Times Photographic Archives
Rights Information
Access to this collection is generously supported by Arcadia funds.
The location of the morgue is provided in a hand drawn map published in the Los Angeles Times, 14 Mar. 1928: 2. The 1880's building was located at the northwest corner of Railroad Ave. and Market St. in Newhall. It had been the J. O. Newhall general store, the Gulley-Swall general store, the El Dorado saloon and, at the time of the flood, the Hap-A-Lan dance club. After its use as a morgue it was torn down and in 1931 the county courthouse was built on the property. [
The St. Francis Dam was a 200-foot high concrete gravity-arch dam built between 1924 and 1926 in St. Francisquito Canyon (near present-day Castaic and Santa Clarita). The dam collapsed on March 12, 1928 at two and a half minutes before midnight. The resulting flood killed more than 600 residents plus an unknown number of itinerant farm workers camped in San Francisquito Canyon, making it the 2nd greatest loss of life in California after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. It is considered the worst American civil engineering failure in the 20th century.
Bodies of about ten flood victims enshrouded in sheets and resting on inclined wooden boards in an improvised morgue in Newhall. Four men and one woman stand at the end of the room. Another man is kneeling down at the foot of one of the dead.
Temporary morgues for flood victims were established and Piru, Santa Paula, Filmore, Oxnard, Newhall, Ventura and Bakersfield. Up to March 18, 273 bodies had been recovered.
Text from negative sleeve: Saint Francis Dam
b&w nitrate negative
No linguistic content
Saint Francis Dam Failure, Calif., 1928
Dead persons--California--Los Angeles
Morgues & mortuaries--California--Newhall
Los Angeles Times Photographic Collection

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