The 1934 Floods in Los Angeles

The 1934 Floods in Los Angeles
January 13, 2014


Near the end of 1933, huge forest fires denuded the San Gabriel Mountains above La Crescenta, followed by weeks of steady rain in December. This all-too-familiar recipe for disaster in Southern California was punctuated by a massive cloudburst on New Years Eve. The mud soaked hills above CV could take no more and they cut-loose. Simultaneously the canyons filled with a mixture of water mud and rocks, and at 2 minutes after midnight, 20-foot high walls of mud roared out across the valley floor, pushing gigantic boulders in front of the mess.

The huge flood that occurred just after midnight on New Years Eve was one of the most dramatic events in the history of the Crescenta Valley. It killed and injured scores of residents, destroyed hundreds of homes, and forever changed the landscape of the valley. Local historian Art Cobery is recognized as one of the leading authorities on the New Years Flood, and will share with us an overview of this traumatic episode. Mr. Cobery has a wealth of knowledge about the origins of the flood, and the stories of what occurred during and after. However he wasn’t there when it happened… he wasn’t an eyewitness. But we do have in our community many that were! Several members of our group were children when the flood happened, lived through the experience and heartbreak, and will share their first-hand stories during the presentation; stories of looting, accounts of searching for dead bodies, and of rebuilding their neighborhoods that had been instantly turned into a moonscape of rocks and sand.”

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