The Warning Sculpture Monument
The Warning, St. Francis Dam Disaster Memorial
Minutes before midnight on the chilly evening of March 12, 1928, the St. Francis Dam failed. The dam’s 200-foot high concrete wall crumbled and collapsed, sending billions of gallons of raging flood waters down San Francisquito Canyon – about five miles northeast of what is now the City of Santa Clarita. The avalanche of water swept 54 miles down the Santa Clara River to the sea. No one knows the exact death toll, but more than 450 people perished in the disaster. Shortly before 1:30 a.m. on March 13, an urgent message of imminent disaster reached the night telephone operator in Santa Paula and was quickly relayed to police officers, city officials and then homes in the lower portions of town. Among the many heroes of the flood that evening were two motorcycle officers who rode through the night to warn the sleeping citizens in the low lying areas of Santa Paula that a torrent of water was about to inundate their homes. Their heroic efforts saved countless lives. Their wild ride that night was stopped at 3:05 a.m. when the wall of water swept through Santa Paula on its way to the ocean. Many stories of heroism and courage emerged in the aftermath of the flood. This monument represents one such act of heroism.