Rare 1964 Alaska Earthquake Pictures show you images of destruction in Anchorage, from the powerful 9.2 quake.
Businesses along what was left of the sidewalk were nothing more than a jumbled mess. The slope behind the businesses in the photo above, sank during the quake. As a result, 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, it was determined that they could rebuild in this area, but first they had to “buttress” the slope. Following that process, rebuilding began and a new section of 4th Avenue was reborn.
Do you want to hear the incredible sounds
of the Great Alaska earthquake
while you scroll down this page
and look at the startling pictures.
(click the link below right now)
The audio above was recorded by
Robert Pate of KHAR radio in Anchorage.
This was recorded during the quake on Blueberry Road
near the northeast corner of Northern Lights Blvd.
In the photo above, you can see the Denali Theatre on 4th Avenue ended up sinking below the sidewalk during the quake.
To the right in the picture, the blue building was Bagoy's Flower Shop.
Notice in the photo above how the building seemed to survive, but the foundation was destroyed.
In the background, to the left, you can see the elevator shaft of the Four Seasons building that was still under construction when the earthquake struck.
The building in the photo above not only sank below the sidewalk, but was torn in half by the intense shaking.
The soil in the Anchorage suburb of Turnagain by the Sea, gave way during the powerful quake, and many houses were destroyed.
A color photo shows how far down the buildings slid as the 1964 Good Friday earthquake ripped the businesses from their foundations. As you look at these pictures, remember that there were people inside and outside these buildings when the quake hit.
photo by Jim Zoller
The only thing left are the memories
Often, businesses were somehow able to quickly find new locations.
For others, they would never re-open.
The earthquake had lasted for five minutes and when it was over, the destruction had changed things forever.
The massive damage seen on the left side of the JC Penney building is a chilling reminder of the astonishing force of the quake.
Remember, stores were filled with holiday shoppers (it was Good Friday) when the quake struck.
Sitting empty as clean up began
Happily, Bagoy's Florist shop, an Anchorage icon, was able to find another location and reopen.
By the way, the original owner, John Bagoy, was the first to bring flowers to Anchorage.
Damage in Anchorage was unimaginable. Many businesses were destroyed.
The photo above is a surreal reminder of what remained.
from Donald Cutler
Buildings moved off their foundations up, down, left and right.
Some were torn apart, compressed and strong I-beams were 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 be able to forget the horrific memories that still haunt us to this day.
Clean up was tough, and emotional.
In numerous instances, the destruction was total. It's hard to believe that the rubble in the picture above was once an air traffic control tower.
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.
Embedded in those concrete slabs, were decorative pebbles that 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.
These black and white 1964 Alaska earthquake pictures by Helen Bucy have an almost haunting quality about them.
No matter how many pictures and videos of the earthquake we see over the years, we can still be amazed.
And we can learn about the astounding power of this quake.
Torn from their foundations, many houses in the Anchorage area known as Turnagain, slid violently toward the cold, murky waters of Cook Inlet before coming to rest.
As you can see from these pictures, the powerful quake left a lot of these homes sitting on broken chunks of land with trees sticking out sideways.
Some homes ended up above the dirt, some under and some were completely torn apart.
After the five-minute quake finally ended, lives had been changed forever.
1964 Alaska earthquake pictures like the one above, remind us of just how destructive the quake was for the people of Anchorage.
Homes torn apart. In most cases, while people were still in them.
During the quake, some survivors reported that the extreme movement of of the earth sometimes plunged them and their homes underground before pushing them back up again.
Can you imagine how terrifying that was?
photo by Ed Rosek
Imagine the horror of being inside, or just outside, of the building pictured above as it came crashing down on the sidewalk below.
In the e-book below, that is precisely what happened to Mary.
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 destructive 9.2 quake.
Seeing these homes gives us a closer look at what the residents of Turnagain went through.
The home above was torn in half, and we can only wonder what the occupants went through – especially if they were still inside.
Once two homes, during the 1964 earthquake they were crushed together.
Survivors will tell you that they can never forget the incredible and scary sounds they heard during the destruction that was happening all around them.
Even these remarkable pictures can't begin to capture what it was like to be there.
These pictures of Anchorage, show 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 that were 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 were entertained in the movie theaters. Then, in a matter of minutes, they were torn from our lives forever.
And these Alaska 1964 earthquake pictures are a jolting reminder.
photo by Ed Rosek
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, with every aftershock, we were terrified that the monstrous quake was starting all over again.
photos by Diane S. Smith
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 were just violently “dumped” near a sidewalk and left.
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.
Scenes of destruction like this were everywhere.
Maybe one of these homes was yours.
Nothing remained but the elevator shaft in the Four Seasons building above.
It was still under construction. But for many reasons, following the quake, it was never completed.
These color pictures by Diane S. Smith of the destruction in and around Anchorage, caused by the Good Friday earthquake, are a look we don't often see.
Homes shoved from their foundations, businesses destroyed, lives forever changed.
Many of our favorite stores and shops were so badly damaged that parts of Anchorage looked strangely like a ghost town.
As amazing as it seems, the Book Cache, seen in the photo above, was quickly able to reopen, and it became a gathering place for locals.
Houses and yards left shattered, a dark reminder of the quake.
For some, they could never go back home.
photos by Starr Judkins-Lane
These 1964 Alaska earthquake pictures give 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.
Over the years, we've 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 look.
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.
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.
Long before its Spenard location, Anchorage's Denali Theater was located in downtown Anchorage on 4th Avenue.
And as illustrated by the two pictures above – during that powerful earthquake, the theater sunk all the way down to its Marquee
A sad sight for those of us who have fond memories of seeing movies in that famed theater.
The Denali Theater marquee was saved and later used at the theater's new location in the Anchorage community of Spenard.
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, was turned into a park as a reminder of the event.
These pictures of Earthquake Park were taken in 1967.
If you look closely, you'll notice 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.
Trees growing “sideways”, large columns of dirt pushed skyward and a jagged landscape left behind by the incredible force of nature.
In the picture above, you can see that 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.
Do you have 1964 Alaska earthquake pictures?
If you do, we would love to include them on this page. And we are 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).
Both Mary and I “rode out” 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 terrifying and one that I will never forget, Mary is blessed to have survived her horrifying ordeal in the JC Penney building in Anchorage.
Like many of you, it's sometimes hard 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.
Mike and Mary
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. The most powerful quake ever recorded in North America.
You've just saw photos of buildings that were literally torn apart.
But think of this.
You only saw pictures of buildings. Not of the people who were left stunned and shaken to the very core of their being.
“I’ve learned a lot about my hometown of Anchorage, and you’ve jogged memories of things I haven’t thought about for years. I can only say YAY!” Juanita.