The 1963 dam break that flooded parts of Los Angeles

Originally published at: The 1963 dam break that flooded parts of Los Angeles | Boing Boing


That newsreel music is really melodramatic, and more than a little dated, for 1963.


See also: Rob Helfman’s photos on Flickr: BALDWIN HILLS DAM DISASTER 1963 | Flickr

I’d never heard of this disaster before. I’m curious if it contributed to Baldwin Hills later becoming the site of one of the most affluent Black neighbourhoods in the country (I don’t see a lot of PoC in the newsreel).

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That had to really suck for the kids in the area. 10 days before Christmas Eve so you know there were probably a lot of toys and gifts hidden around those homes. Maybe the advanced warning that saved so many lives saved the Xmas goodies too though.

I was thinking that, too, but as far as I can tell it’s unrelated. It looks like nearby Leimert Park was pretty diverse leading up to 1960 [pdf warning]. Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, and Tom Bradley lived there. Baldwin Hills Estates is the hilly area next to it that was first built up in the 50s-70s. I think this is what we’re thinking of. This says it was spared due to the topology.

The reservoir was filled in and is now part of Kenneth Hahn Regional Park.

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Both Baldwin Hills and Leimert Park were developed as all-white communities with racially-restricted real-estate covenants.

But after such covenants were invalidated in the '40s, black families began moving into Baldwin Hills and Leimert Park from nearby areas that had no such covenants (often unincorporated territory) , and also into newly-developed (and thus unrestricted) hillside nabes.

That demographic shift was already pretty far along by the time of Baldwin Hills Dam failure. I’m not sure it had much influence one way or the other.


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