Two photos show the Cowart family of Burbank visiting the site of the former St. Francis Dam in 1928, soon after the failure.
Above: (From left) Nolda, age 12; Betty, 10; Mrs. Gertrude Cowart; Jack, 8; and Merle, 14. They're standing on the so-called "wing dyke,"
the extension that was built atop the hill to the west when the decision was made to raise the height of the dam (without widening the base). Visible in the background is
the downstream side of the "tombstone"
— the dam's remaining center section.
Inset: (From left) Nolda, Jack (foreground), Merle and Betty are standing on the upstream (reservoir) side of the tombstone.
The photo contributor is Valencia resident Cheryl (Forbes) Elm, daughter of Betty Cowart Forbes, the 10-year-old girl in the photos.
The dam site was a popular tourist attraction for more than year after the disaster of March 12-13, 1928. Fortunately for posterity, many of the tourists brought a camera.
The fun ended in May 1929 when the City of Los Angeles dynamited the tombstone. The Cowarts would not have been able to stand where they're standing
in either photo because the wing dyke was dynamited, too.