Rare 1964 Alaska Earthquake Pictures

These 1964 Alaska Earthquake Pictures are worth a look. Images of damage in Anchorage from the powerful 9.2 quake.

1964 alaska earthquake picturesSection of 4th Avenue that sank during the quake

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After the Earth Shook for 5 Minutes

Businesses along the stretch of 4th Avenue pictured above, were nothing more than a jumbled mess.

The slope behind the businesses, in the photo above, sank during the quake. Because of this, a large section of 4th Avenue ended up below the sidewalk. The D&D Bar and Café sign stands tall in the rubble.

Can you imagine being in one of those businesses during the quake?

After the earthquake, experts agreed that they could rebuild this area, but first they had to strengthen the slope. Following that process, rebuilding began and a new section of 4th Avenue was created.

1964 Alaska Earthquake Pictures

The Denali Movie Theatre

1964 earthquakePhoto by Orville Eggen

In the photo above, the Denali movie theatre on 4th Avenue ended up sinking below the sidewalk during the quake.

The blue building, to the right, was Bagoy's Flower Shop.

quake damage 1964 anchoragePhoto by Orville Eggen

In the above photo, notice how the building seemed to survive, but the foundation didn't.

In the background, to the left, you can see the elevator shaft of the Four Seasons building, which was still under construction when the earthquake struck.

damage on 4th avenuePhoto by Orville Eggen

The building, in the photo above, tore in half and sank below the sidewalk, during the intense shaking.

Turnagain by the Sea

damage in turnagainPhoto by Orville Eggen

As you see in the above photo, the soil in the Anchorage suburb of Turnagain by the Sea gave way during the powerful quake, destroying many houses.

Destruction on 4th Avenue

4th avenue quake damagePhoto by Orville Eggen

The color photo above shows how far down the buildings slid as the 1964 Good Friday earthquake ripped businesses from their foundations.

As you take a look at these photos, remember that there were people inside and outside these buildings when the quake hit.

Mac's Foto

Abandoned businesses after the earthquake1964 Alaska earthquake damage in Anchorage

photo by Jim Zoller

The Quake Changed Things

The only things that remain are the memories.

Often, businesses were somehow able to quickly find new locations.

Others would never reopen.

The earthquake had lasted five minutes, and when it was over, the destruction had changed things forever.

The JC Penney Building Collapsed

Destroyed JC Penney building in downtownLooking over our town after the quake

The massive damage, seen above on the left side of the JC Penney building, is a chilling reminder of the astonishing force of the quake.

When the quake struck, holiday shoppers filled these stores (it was Good Friday).

Bagoy's Flower Shop

damaged bagoy florist building

Happily, Bagoy's Florist shop, an Anchorage icon, was able to find another location and reopen.


John Bagoy, the shop's original owner, was the first person to bring flowers to Anchorage.

4th Avenue

damage in downtown anchoragePhoto courtesy of Starr Judkins-Lane

The damage in Anchorage was unimaginable, with many businesses destroyed.

The photo above shows a strange reminder of what was left.

1964 Alaska Earthquake Pictures

from Donald Cutler

earthquake destructionDamage and destruction were everywhere

Buildings were moved from their foundations upwards, downwards, left and right.

The shaker tore buildings apart, with I-beams twisted into what more closely resembled red licorice candy vines.

The power of this Alaska quake was intense. And those of us who experienced it, will never forget the terrible experiences that still haunt us to this day.

The Following photos by Donald Cutler's Mother Following the 64' Quake

unrecognizable damageThe Control Tower at Anchorage International Airport

The cleanup was very difficult and emotional.

In numerous instances, the destruction was complete. It's difficult to believe that the rubble in the picture above used to be a tower for controlling airplanes.

Helen Bucy took the Following pictures

Club Paris and Rexall Drugs, after the Earthquake
across from the JC Penney Building, in Downtown Anchorage, Alaska

quake damage in front of club paris and rexall drug storeConcrete slabs crushed cars

The picture above shows the huge concrete slabs that came crashing down off the outside walls of the JC Penney building in downtown Anchorage.

The falling slabs crushed cars on the street below, trapping the people who were inside.

The concrete slabs were covered with decorative pebbles, which shook loose and showered the street, people, and cars below, like rock-hard hail stones falling from the sky.

The noise of the quake was a deafening roar.

Can You Imagine?

car sitting on top of earthquake damageThe earth moved in strange ways

These black and white 1964 Alaska earthquake pictures by Helen Bucy have an almost haunting quality.

Despite the numerous photographs and videos that have been accumulated over the years following the earthquake, we remain astonished.

And we can learn about the astounding power of this quake.

Turnagain area of Anchorage, after the 1964 Good Friday earthquake

house in a destroyed subdivisionHomes destroyed in Turnagain

Torn from their foundations, many houses in the Anchorage area, known as Turnagain, slid violently toward the cold, muddy waters of Cook Inlet before coming to rest.

As you can see from these pictures, the powerful quake left many of these homes sitting on broken chunks of land with trees sticking out sideways.

Some homes were left above the ground, some below it, and some were completely torn apart.

After the five-minute quake finally ended, life changed forever.

home torn in halfThis was once someone's home

1964 Alaska earthquake pictures, like the one above, remind us of how destructive the quake was for the people of Anchorage.

Homes were torn apart while people were still in them.

During the quake, some survivors reported that the earth's extreme movement sometimes plunged them and their homes underground before pushing them back up again.

Can you imagine how terrifying that must have been?

JC Penney Building

photo by Ed Rosek

jc penney buildingA wall of the JC Penney Building collapsed

Imagine the horror of being inside, or just outside, of the building pictured above as it came crashing down onto the sidewalk below.

Mary shares her story in the e-book below.

An Anchorage Teen, and Her Earthquake Story

great alaskan earthquake survivor

When the earthquake struck, Mary of Anchorage Memories was a teenager.

She left the JC Penney building with her brother as it came crashing down around them.

Her e-book is a gripping story of survival.

A powerful, short read.

Photo by Helen Bucy

good friday earthquake damaged home in Anchorage AlaskaUnimaginable destruction

These 1964 Alaska Earthquake Pictures are a stark reminder that during this massive earthquake, there was no safe place… not even your home.

Only the top of the log house above remained after the earth finally stopped shaking. Notice the antlers over what was once the doorway.

The powerful force of nature that caused this destruction was horrifying.

Survivors still remember the terrifying things they saw, heard, and felt during this devastating 9.2 earthquake.

Home smashed in halfA house torn in half

Seeing these homes gives us a more profound understanding of what the residents of Turnagain went through.

As the home above tore in half, we can only wonder what the occupants went through, especially if they were still inside.


Quake survivors tell their stories.

Take a look at these Memories of the 1964 Earthquake and discover

incredible damage to homesHouses smashed together during the quake

survivors will tell you that they can never forget the incredible and frightening sounds they heard during the destruction that was happening all around them.

Even the remarkable picture above can't begin to capture what it was like to be there.

Originally two homes, they were then crushed together during the 1964 earthquake.

home lifted in the airA home torn from its foundation and driveway

These pictures of Anchorage tell you a story.

Homes ripped from their foundations, torn apart or swallowed by large openings in the earth. Unimaginable destruction.

Alaskans, who lived through this tragic quake, still remember many of the businesses destroyed by the powerful force of this five-minute shaker.

As residents of Anchorage, we shopped in these businesses, had breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the cafés and restaurants, and enjoyed the movie theaters.

Then, in a matter of minutes, our lives changed forever and only fading memories of our favorite places remain.

And these 1964 Alaska earthquake pictures are a jolting reminder.

Fourth Avenue in Anchorage

photo by Ed Rosek

downtown Anchorage Alaska 4th avenue after the 1964 earthquakeIncredible destruction

Unless you lived through this quake, it's hard to imagine the horrific impact of seeing your town destroyed and having your life turned upside down in a matter of minutes.

There were so many shops, restaurants, and fun places to go window shopping that were badly damaged, or simply gone when the earth finally stopped shaking.

Most survivors will tell you that during the 1964 earthquake, it seemed like the earth's violence would never stop.

And later, every aftershock scared us because we thought the monstrous quake was starting all over again.

1964 Alaska Earthquake Pictures

photos by Diane S. Smith

damaged jumbled homesA row of homes lifted off solid foundations

As you look at these pictures, it looks more like the set of a disaster movie than an Anchorage neighborhood.

Or maybe these homes look more like they just violently fell from the sky, landing near the sidewalk.

Anchorage home lifted then pitched sideways during the Good Friday quakeSome houses escaped damage, some did not

Destroyed remains that were once homes for residents of Anchorage.

These 1964 Alaska earthquake pictures are a survivor's account of the horrifying, destructive force generated by the 9.2 shaker.

neighborhoods were torn apartHomes in our town

Scenes of destruction like this were everywhere.

Perhaps one of these homes was yours.

The Four Seasons Apartment Building was Still under Construction

four seasons apartment building

The Four Seasons building was still under construction at the time of the quake. Only the elevator shaft remained.

1964 Alaska Earthquake Pictures

Diane S. Smith's color pictures of the destruction caused by the Good Friday earthquake in and around Anchorage are a look we don't often see.

Homes were pushed from their foundations, businesses were destroyed, and lives were forever changed.

Book Cache, Downtown

downtown book cache after 1964 quakeJC Penny's in the background

The earthquake left many of our favorite stores and shops badly damaged, with parts of Anchorage looking strangely like a ghost town.

As amazing as it seems, the Book Cache, seen in the photo above, was quickly able to reopen, and become a gathering place for locals.

destroyed homesOur neighbors left homeless

The shattered remains of houses and yards serve as a stark reminder of the quake.

For some, they could never go back home.

Fourth Avenue in Downtown Anchorage

photos by Starr Judkins-Lane

1964 quake destruction downtownPhoto by Starr Judkins-Lane

These 1964 Alaska earthquake pictures show us a different look at “Our Town”.

Notice the banner hanging over 4th Avenue. It was an advertisement for a local play.

After the quake, the banner became a reminder and even a rally cry that it was still our town.

We have seen many photographs taken of the damage and destruction on 4th Avenue in Anchorage following the 1964 earthquake, but these pictures by Starr Judkins-Lane give us a different, oddly haunting experience.

After the 5-minute quake had ended, those strong, hard, terrifying after shocks continued – and the survivors, and “Our Town” would never be the same.

The Denali Theater on 4th Avenue

Earthquake Starr Judkins Lane Denali CroppedPhoto by Starr Judkins-Lane

Like many buildings in certain parts of Anchorage's 4th Avenue, the Denali Theater, pictured above, ended up sinking below the sidewalk in front of it.


Liquefaction, the process where normally solid ground, turns into a kind of liquid when it's stressed, caused buildings in downtown Anchorage to slide off their foundations.

The resulting damage, captured in these pictures, is a stark and graphic reminder of the intense destruction experienced by those of us who are the survivors.

4th Avenue Anchorage, Alaska

destruction was everywherePhoto by Starr Judkins-Lane

When the 5-minute quake finally stopped

Long before its Spenard location, the Denali Theater was in downtown Anchorage on 4th Avenue.

And as illustrated by the two pictures above – during that powerful earthquake, the theater sank all the way down to its marquee.

It was a sad sight for those of us who have fond memories of seeing movies in that famed theater.

The Denali Theater marquee, seen in the picture above, later found a home at the theater's new location in the Anchorage community of Spenard.

Earthquake Park Photos

Courtesy of Cindy Pendleton

earthquake park anchorage alaskaTurnagain by the Sea, now a park

Our look at 1964 Alaska earthquake pictures would not be complete without a visit to Earthquake Park.

After the quake, a section of the Turnagain neighborhood, left oddly damaged by the Good Friday quake, became a park as a reminder of the event.

These are 1967 pictures of Earthquake Park.

Trees Growing in All Directions

earthquake parkA picture filled with memories

If you look closely, you can see the trees in Earthquake park.

When the Park first opened, it was an astonishing sight that more closely resembled the landscape of a distant planet.

There were trees growing “sideways”, large columns of dirt pushed skyward, and a jagged landscape left behind by the incredible force of nature.

Transformed by the Earthquake

park dedicated to remembering the 1964 alaska earthquakeDirt pushed skyward in columns from intense quake pressure

In the picture above, you can see how the years following that day in 1964 have turned a landscape once ravaged by a violent 5-minute earthquake, into an awe-filled experience.

Earthquake Park is a reminder of what all of us survivors went through during the intense earthquake that would change us, and our town, forever.

How can I Submit My Pictures?

Do you have 1964 Alaska earthquake pictures?

If you do, we would love to include them on this page. We are also happy to include your name or the name of the photographer.

To have your pictures included on Anchorage Memories, contact us right here (it's so easy).

A Personal Note from Mike of Anchorage Memories

Both Mary and I experienced the earthquake on that day long ago.

These 1964 Alaska earthquake pictures so vividly portray the events of that Good Friday.

While my experience was scary, Mary is happy to have survived her ordeal at the JC Penney building in Anchorage.

Like many of you, it's sometimes hard for us to look at the pictures you've just seen above.

But they are a necessary reminder for not only those of us who survived that never-to-be-forgotten day, but for those who did not experience that profound and powerful quake.

So, with tear filled eyes, I say this -

We hope and pray that no one else ever has to experience an intensely powerful earthquake like the one we've just shown you.

Because afterward, they will have to live with horrifying memories for the rest of their life, like Mary and I and so many of you have for all these years.

Thank you

Mike and Mary

A Final Note

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

But you've learned much more from the pictures on this page.

Imagine the expansive and devastating energy many Alaskans experienced as they rode out the 1964 earthquake. It was the most powerful quake ever recorded in North America.

You've just seen photos of buildings.

But think of this.

You only saw pictures of buildings, not of the survivors, who were left stunned and shaken to the very core of their being.

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