Water Tables 2013: Water in the West: Coping with Extremes: Saturday, March 2, 2013, 5-9 p.m.


D.C. Jackson

Author and Professor of History,
Lafayette College

Topic: The Politics of Safety - The St. Francis Dam Disaster and
the Boulder Canyon Project Act

D.C. Jackson

With a death toll approaching 400, the horrific failure of the St. Francis Dam in Southern California in March 1928 represented an "extreme" event in the history of water in the American West. How this disaster was investigated by engineering boards, especially by the commission convened by California Gov. C.C. Young, offers an opportunity to consider both the relationship between politics and dam safety and the way that the St. Francis disaster was politically tied to the Boulder Canyon Project Act and to congressional authorization for what became Hoover Dam.


D.C. Jackson the author of Building the Ultimate Dam: John S. Eastwood and the Contral of Water in the West (University of Oklahoma Press, 2005). His spcial interests include history of technology; history of dams; water resources development; environmental history; business history; and United States history.

Jackson's other publications include Big Dams of the New Deal Era: A Confluence of Engineering and Politics, Studies in the History of Civil Engineering, Building the Ultimate Dam: John S. Eastwood and the Control of Water in the West and Great American Bridges and Dams.

His honors include Outstanding Academic Book for 1996, selected by CHOICE, the official publication of the Association of College and Research Libraries; Ray A. Billington Award in 1994 from the Western History Association for the best article on the history of the American West; Lafayette College’s Thomas and Lura Jones Lecture Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Teaching in 1996.

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