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The Warning Sculpture

The steel sculpture, The Warning, commemorates the heroism of Santa Paulans who worked to save lives during the St. Francis Dam Disaster. The 200-foot tall St. Francis Dam collapsed on March 12, 1928, just after it was completed five miles northeast of Newhall, California. The floodwaters swept down the Santa Clara River valley to the ocean, claiming 450 lives. As the flood approached Santa Paula in the darkness of night, two Santa Paula police officers road motorcycles through the low lying areas of town, warning residents to evacuate. Telephone operators similarly called residents through the night. This sculpture was commissioned by the Santa Paula Historical Society to commemorate these lifesaving efforts. It was sculpted by Santa Paula artist Eric Richards.