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L.A. River flooding, turbulent water under the Dayton Avenue Bridge
Alternative Title
Los Angeles Photographers Photo Collection;
Schultheis, Herman
Made accessible through a grant from the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation
Date Created and/or Issued
Contributing Institution
Los Angeles Public Library
Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
Rights Information
Images available for reproduction and use. Please see the Ordering & Use page at for additional information.
Title supplied by cataloger.; Herman J. Schultheis was born in Aachen, Germany in 1900, and immigrated to the United States in the mid-1920s after obtaining a Ph.D. in mechanical and electrical engineering. He married Ethel Wisloh in 1936, and the pair moved to Los Angeles the following year. He worked in the film industry from the late 1930s to the mid-1940s, most notably on the animated features Fantasia and Pinocchio. His detailed notebook, documenting the special effects for Fantasia, is the subject of a 14-minute short-subject included on the film's DVD. In 1949, he started employment with Librascope as a patent engineer. Schultheis was an avid amateur photographer who traveled the world with his cameras. It was on one of these photographic exhibitions in 1955 that he disappeared in the jungles of Guatemala. His remains were discovered 18 months later. The digitized portion of this collection represents the images Schultheis took of Los Angeles and its surrounding communities after he relocated to the area in 1937.
Originally an alluvial river that ran freely across a flood plain, the Los Angeles River's 51-mile path was unstable and unpredictable with the mouth of the river moving frequently from one place to the other. In March of 1938 there was a great storm that flooded one third of the city of Los Angeles killing 115 people. Later that year, due to public outcry, the Army Corps of Engineers began the 20 year project to create the permanent concrete channel which still contains most of the of riverbed today.; Dayton Avenue (later N. Figueroa Street) has had three different bridges. The Riverside Drive-Dayton Avenue Bridge, first built in 1903, was replaced with a concrete one completed in 1928. In 1939, after the Elysian Park landslide and heavy floods in 1938, the Army Corps of Engineers built a replacement bridge with steel trussing, known as the Riverside Drive Bridge (Riverside-Figueroa Bridge). In 2008 eleven bridges were designated as Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments including the Riverside-Figueroa Bridge #908, but it was demolished in 2012.
People stand on the Dayton Avenue Bridge watching the churning water in the river below near Elysian Park.
1 photographic print :b&w ;11 x 15 cm.
Photographic prints
Herman J Schultheis Collection; Los Angeles Photographers Collection;
N-008-679 8x10
Floods--California--Los Angeles
Natural disasters--California--Los Angeles County
Rivers--California, Southern
Bridges--California--Los Angeles
Lost architecture--California--Los Angeles
Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments
Riverside Drive-Dayton Avenue Bridge (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Riverside Drive (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Los Angeles River (Calif.)
Schultheis Collection photographs

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