Anyway, here are a few of my favorite images from the newly aquired materials. The image above shows the evacuation of the "Mexican quarter" at 4th St. and Artesia in Santa Ana during the 1916 flood.
The image below was taken March 3, 1938 "at 5th Street, west of the Santa Ana River, looking west" in Santa Ana. It shows the old KVOE ("Voice of the Orange Empire") radio station at right, and an "auto lot" in the background. Today, the 1938 flood is certainly the best-remembered "big flood" in O.C.
(By the way, if you can't reach the Archives by phone or email this week, you can blame that on stormy weather, too. Let's just say the storms are creating more than a few headaches for us.)
I was totally amazed when I first saw the photo above. It's an image of the Orange County town of La Jolla in the aftermath of the 1937 flood. That's right, 1937 was a flood year too, but the magnitude of what happened in 1938 made people sort of forget about the year before. In fact, in 1938, La Jolla was all but washed away by the Santa Ana River when it broke through its banks. The photo above provides some truly ominous foreshadowing.
The photo below shows the Pacific Electric Railway bridge over the mouth of the Santa Ana River during the 1927 flood. A note attached reads: "Thousand foot channel when impounded flood waters broke through to the Ocean. The Coast Blvd. [PCH] and P.E. Railroad suffered extreme damage as shown." Indeed, we're seeing the River cut a path directly to the ocean (as it does today), rather than turning southeast to empty into Newport Bay the way it once did.