Rarely Seen
1964 Alaska Earthquake Pictures

Look at these 1964 Alaska Earthquake Pictures. Images of destruction in Anchorage from the powerful 9.2 quake.

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

Businesses along this section of 4th Avenue 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, experts agreed that they could rebuild this area, but first they had to “buttress” the slope. Following that process, rebuilding began and a new section of 4th Avenue was reborn.

1964 Alaska

Earthquake Pictures

1964 earthquakePhoto by Orville Eggen

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.

quake damage 1964 anchoragePhoto by Orville Eggen

Notice in the above photo 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 that 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.

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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.

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 look at these pictures, remember that there were people inside and outside these buildings when the quake hit.

Abandoned businesses after the earthquake1964 Alaska earthquake damage in Anchorage

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.

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

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

Holiday shoppers (it was Good Friday) filled these stores when the quake struck.

damaged bagoy florist buildingBagoy's Flower Shop

Sitting empty as the cleanup 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 downtown anchoragePhoto courtesy of Starr Judkins-Lane

Damage in Anchorage was unimaginable with many businesses destroyed.

The photo above is a surreal reminder of what remained.

1964 Alaska

Earthquake Pictures

from Donald Cutler

earthquake destructionDamage and destruction were everywhere

Buildings moved off their foundations up, down, 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 be able to forget the horrific memories that still haunt us to this day.

These photos by

Donald Cutler's mother

following the 64' quake

unrecognizable damageThe Control Tower at Anchorage International Airport

The cleanup was tough and very 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.

Helen Bucy

took these 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.

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.

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 about them.

No matter how many pictures and videos of the earthquake we see over the years, we are still amazed.

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, 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

Homes above the ground, some under and some 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 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?

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.

In the e-book below, Mary tells her story.

An Anchorage Teen

And Her Earthquake Story

Great Alaskan Earthquake Survivor ebook

Mary of Anchorage Memories was a teenage girl when the earthquake struck.

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

Her e-book is a gripping story of survival.

A powerful, short read.

Click on the following link:

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 destructive 9.2 quake.

Home smashed in halfA house torn in half

Seeing these homes gives us a closer look at what the residents of Turnagain went through.

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


Quake survivors tell their stories.

downtown anchorage businesses

Click on the following link:

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 scary 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.

Once two homes, 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 Alaska 1964 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, terrified 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 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.

Maybe one of these homes was yours.

The Four Seasons

Apartment Building

still under construction

four seasons apartment buildingDestroyed while still under construction

Still under construction at the time of the quake, only the elevator shaft remained in the Four Seasons building seen above.

1964 Alaska

Earthquake Pictures

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.

Book Cache


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

Houses and yards left shattered, a dark 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 downtownNotice the "Our Town" banner

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.

The Denali Theater on 4th Avenue

original  downtown denali theater after the 64 quake in AnchorageThe original location

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 under stress, 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.

Fourth Avenue

Anchorage, Alaska

destruction was everywhereWhen the five-minute quake finally stopped shaking

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 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, seen in the picture above, 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'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.


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 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.

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 “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 counts her blessings 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.

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 people left stunned and shaken to the very core of their being.

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