The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #74881   Message #1313790
Posted By: GUEST
01-Nov-04 - 10:52 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Dam collapse tragedy songs
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Dam collapse tragedy songs
St. Francis Dam Disaster



Measured by loss of life, the collapse of the St. Francis dam, 50 miles north of Los Angeles, is the greatest American civil engineering failure of the 20th Century.Ê In California it ranks second to the natural catastrophe of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire.Ê Despite this, the St. Francis story is a surprisingly little known and widely misunderstood landmark of American history.

It began at approximately 11:57 PM on March 12, 1928 when a two hundred feet-high wall of concrete suddenly shuddered, cracked and broke apart.Ê 12 1/2 billion gallons water burst through gaping cracks and crumbling concrete.Ê Within minutes, a towering surge of mud, trees and debris rumbled down a narrow canyon.Ê Directly below the dam was a power plant surrounded by a community of workers and their families.Ê Only three would survive.Ê Ahead in the night lay a construction camp and isolated Southern California farms, ranches and entire towns.Ê Most of their inhabitants were sound asleep.Ê Many would die.

When the flood waters reached the Pacific Ocean, five and half hours and 53 miles later, more than 450 people were dead -- including manyÊ Mexican-Americans who lived directly in the flood path.Ê As much as $25 million worth of livestock and property were washed away.