Sunday, February 20, 2011

"The Venice Floods of 1938", by Cal Porter

Well folks, we figured that there must have been some rainstorms and such between the years 1911 and the 1960's, so we went straight to L.A. County's Living Lifeguard Encyclopedia, Cal Porter. We sent Cal an email asking him if he recalled any storms or floods to hit the Venice area and Venice canals back in the day and we were not disappointed with his reply below to say the least !


"The Venice Floods of 1938", by Cal Porter
(Copyr. Cal Porter 2011. All Rights Reserved. Used here with permission.)

"Hi Will,

In addition to all the stories of flooding and swift water rescues you’ve been sent, you asked if there were any closer to the beach perhaps in the Venice Canal vicinity.

Okay, the worst flooding ever in the greater Los Angeles and Beach areas was “The 1938 Flood” when all the rivers and canals everywhere overflowed after over ten inches of continuous rain fell for four days, February into March. Over a hundred people perished and hundreds of homes were lost. The lifeguards were kept busy everyday helping people stranded in homes and cars. I was there and saw the action although I didn’t become a lifeguard until the following year, 1939. The Venice Lifeguards covered the area towing a dory behind the emergency truck and getting people out of trouble."

Above, L.A City Lifeguard Captain Babe Dillon at the Wheel
(Photo from Art Verge’s book “Los Angeles County Lifeguards”)

These same floods also affected other nearby canyons and beaches and Santa Monica Canyon was no exception!

Below, The Lifeguard Station above at SM Canyon barely escaped destruction when the 1938 flood swirled around it. It is still there today (at center of frame.)

Below, Filming a Rescue near SM Canyon Beach

Cal Porter


*** Thanks Cal ! Keep sending us stories, please !

(All photos provided and courtesy of Cal Porter and/or as attributed.)

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Until next time.....

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