Sunday, January 3, 2016

Local history

Question:

WHAT WAS THE DEADLIEST MAN-MADE DISASTER THAT OCCURRED IN AMERICA DURING THE 20TH CENTURY?

DID YOU KNOW THAT IT HAPPENED ONLY 36 MILES FROM BURBANK?


The 1928 collapse of the St. Francis Dam in San Francisquito Canyon near Santa Clarita, only 36 miles from Burbank, is considered the deadliest American civil engineering failure of the 20th century. The tragedy killed more than 500 people, and brought an end to the legendary career of William Mulholland, the self-taught engineer who built the Owens River Aqueduct, the project that made the growth of modern Los Angeles possible.


Author Jon Wilkman tells us the story of this largely forgotten tragedy in his book Floodpath, explaining its pivotal place in the long history of wars over water in the West. Driven by eyewitness accounts, combining urban history and life-and-death drama with a technological detective story, Floodpath reanimates the reality behind the classic noir fiction film Chinatown.

Sometimes, here at Burbank Public Library, we like to throw in a few educational programs! So we are hosting this author on Wednesday, January 6, at 7:00 p.m. at the Buena Vista Branch. We believe this is a topical (and fascinating) program from which you students of history could benefit. Proof of attendance slips will be available, should your teacher offer this program as an extra credit opportunity. But even if he/she doesn't, we hope you will attend!

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