THE 1938 LOS ANGELES RIVER FLOOD

By | January 3, 2019

The Los Angeles River had been known to flood many times in Los Angeles early history, but never, as it had done during a four day storm starting on March 2,1938. Most of the rain fell on the fourth day and this was the 5 th largest flood in history. The Southern Pacific’s first crossing is seen here washed out with two spans missing.

               Near Dayton Avenue Tower and looking upstream showing the partly uncovered girders of the original double track bridge and the temporary bridge under construction. Photo courtesy S.P.Lines

               One of the great engineering marvles at the time was to concrete the L.A. Riverbed by the Army Corps of Engineers. Dragline cranes, power shovels and dump trucks worked by the hundreds to lower the floor of the L.A. River. This photo is looking upstream from under the Pasadena Freeway Overpass.

               Looking upstream from Riverside Drive Bridge, showing government work on the retaining wall. Taylor Yard and the Dayton Avenue Tower are on the right. Photo 1939, Courtesy S.P.Lines

               Looking downstream from the west end of the Arroyo Seco Railroad Bridge on the east bank of the L.A. River. One span of the Santa Fe Railroad Bridge crossing the LA River was damaged during the 1938 flood, the Midway Yard is at the right. Photo 1939, courtesy S.P.Lines