SANTA CLARITA – A bill by Rep. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale to create a national memorial and monument to victims of the 1928 St. Francis Dam disaster was unanimously approved Tuesday by the House of Representatives.
H.R. 2156 would create a national memorial at the site of the dam in the San Francisquito Canyon, about 10 miles north of Santa Clarita.
The memorial to the 431 people killed by the collapse of the dam and subsequent flood would be funded by private donations. The bill would also establish a 440-acre national monument encompassing the designated national memorial area that was devastated by the flood.
“Our community suffered a great loss after the Saint Francis Dam disaster and this legislation will finally commemorate the tragedy with the respect it deserves,” Knight said.
“H.R 2156 will secure a beautiful memorial site for those lives lost and greatly affected by a devastating failure in our civil engineering history. Santa Clarita Valley has never forgotten this tragedy and recognition, on a national scale, is greatly appreciated. Families of those lost will know their loved one is not forgotten.”
Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village, the bill’s co-sponsor, called the dam collapse “one of the most catastrophic tragedies in our state’s history, second only to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.”
“This major historical event has remained in obscurity for far too long,” Brownley said. “From the victims who sadly lost their lives to the heroic telephone operators and California Highway Patrol officers who tried to warn residents of the rushing waters, this memorial will commemorate the stories of local residents for many generations to come.”
The bill now heads to the Senate. A similar bill was approved by the House last year, but no action on it was taken by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.