St. Francis Dam Disaster Commemoration

Just before midnight on March 12, 1928, the St. Francis Dam collapsed. The collapse was America’s worst civil-engineering failure of the 20th Century. More than 12 billion gallons of water and debris rushed the length of the Santa Clara Valley, damaging homes and crops, killing more than 400 people and injuring countless others. On March 18, 2018, Rancho Camulos Museum will remember this disaster.


Story Sharing by Survivors and Descendants

Time: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Survivors and descendants or friends of victims and survivors from throughout the flood path are invited to join with anyone interested in preserving the history of this important event to share their stories.

Maria Christopher is coordinating the Story Sharing. Irma Torres will provide Spanish translation as needed.

A picnic is planned. Attendees can also enjoy music, corridos, and Rancho Camulos museum tours as well as visit the special Camulos Connections exhibit

All welcome. Reservations required. Please email or call 805-524-7500.


Floodpath Faces – Presentation by Archeologist Ann Stansell

Time: 3 p.m.

Archaeologist and historian Ann Stansell’s comments will focus on her Master’s thesis research to accurately identify the number of victims and their burial locations as well as how the victims have been commemorated and remembered throughout the 54-mile flood zone through community memorialization and grave markers.


Screening of 1928 Delores Del Rio “Ramona” Movie

Time: 4:30 p.m.

While sad news of the St. Francis Dam collapse filled the newspapers, images of the beautiful Delores Del Rio as Ramona filled the silent screen. The silent movie screening will be hosted by film historian Hugh Munro Neely, who was involved with the discovery and restoration of this lost film.

Rancho Camulos is a National Historic Landmark, acknowledged as the setting for Helen Hunt Jackson’s 1884 novel “Ramona” and therefore is known as the “Home of Ramona.” Neely will also talk about the film viewing experience in the Santa Clara River Valley in that era.

A donation will be appreciated.


More St. Francis Dam Disaster commemoration events: