Great Alaskan Earthquake stories and videos from survivors of the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake that shook Alaska like no other.
Then the ceiling began to crumble and fall in.
Our parents shielded Ted & I from the debris with their bodies. Dad said that it was time to move and ushered us back into the living room.
Right after the quake, one of the first questions all of us survivors asked each other was "where were you when the quake struck?"
"I was watching "Fireball XL5" on TV" was one of the answers.
Check out this fun clip from that popular TV show right now.
Dishes where breaking and the house was really shaking.
My Dad yelled, "get out of the house now", he didn't have to say it twice. Outside, the trees where really swaying and cracking.
I will never forget the rolling motion of the ground.
I was being slammed one way then the other, it was such a struggle just to keep standing up, and at one point I lost that fight and fell.
Then the ground kept shaking for over 5 minutes.
Cars slid out of flat driveways. The paved road looked like waves. There was nothing we could do.
The adults went into panic mode.
The cabinets were emptied as the house rolled up and down, like a boat in 15 foot swells.
All 9 of us (little sister was 6 months old) clung to each other in the doorway between the dining room and the living room.
Photo by Helen Bucy
Photo by Diane S. Smith
Check out the Alaska 1964 Earthquake in rare pictures right now
5:36pm, Good Friday, March 27th, 1964
It felt like it would never stop. And when it was over we learned that it was a magnitude 9.2 earthquake that had lasted 5 minutes. And it was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in north America.
139 people lost their lives, and the tsunamis that followed hit British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and Northern California.
Click below to see stories from other visitors to this page...
Salvaging Earthquake Damaged Homes in Turnagain
Many of us who were older (as in 17) volunteered for Civil Defense duty after the earthquake. We were assigned to different projects over the next few …
My 1964 Earthquake Experience in Turnagain
For you G.T. who I promised this to some time ago. And to you C.H because your post regarding the ’64 quake and PSTD really hit home for me and finally …
I Saw the School Split in Half
I was stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base at the time of the quake. I was just outside the gate on Government Hill at a drug store picking up a …
We were lucky in Spenard
My mom was in the kitchen making sloppy Joes for dinner. The three of us were huddled around the television watching the start of Fireball XL5. …
Imprinted Forever by the 1964 Earthquake
I was 11 years old when the great “64” earthquake impacted my life. We lived in what my mom liked to call the cesspool, an apartment at 13th & Cordova. …
Mommy’s House Broken
Our family was spared by the Grace of God! We lived in a single family house on a typical street in our neighborhood of "Turnagain By The Sea." …
A Teenager in Fairbanks During the 1964 Earthquake
It was an overcast day in Fairbanks and business at the Piggly Wiggly Super Market was sparse, making for a slow and kind of boring shift. Around 5:30pm, …
Cordova and the Great Alaskan Earthquake
I was a school teacher in Cordova for 8 years. The following is our families experience about the 1964 Alaskan earthquake. On Friday school got …
Great Alaskan Earthquake Survivor
Get your FREE instant download of the ebook at the end of this post My older brother Norman and I were shopping downtown at JC Penney's Department …
I'll Never Forget
I was 6 years old on that day. We lived on West 29th Place, which back then was a dead end street off of Spenard Road. Now days it's Benson Blvd …
The Fireball XL5 Great Alaska Earthquake Connection
What does "Supermarionation" have to do with the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake in Alaska? Right after the quake, one of the first questions all of us …
Shaking on Boniface Road
We lived in a trailer court on Boniface road. It started as a dull roar and vibration as you expect when a jet flies over. This time the roar and vibration …
The original… Home Alone I had turned 11 years old a couple weeks prior to the earthquake in March 1964. My brother was 15. We lived in a mobile …
Alaskan Earthquake - No Place to Hide
Ground fissures were opening up all around me as the earth began to shake more violently than ever before. Suddenly, I knew I could die if I didn't somehow …
I Remember 64
I was 11 years old in 1964 and living with my parents in the Turnagain By The Sea residential area on Captain Cook Blvd. It was a snowy day, grey …
The Big Alaska Earthquake - Part 2
During the 1964 Good Friday Alaskan earthquake, the author, Linda A. Wingfield was living in Valdez, Alaska. This is Part 2 of her story - At some …
The Big Alaska Earthquake - Part 1
I was 14 years old and we lived in Valdez when the earthquake happened. I'm now 66. Some of my memories are fuzzy, but I'll endeavor to keep things accurate. …
Man survives the earthquake, but is injured from the after effects! Not rated yet
My dad used to love to tell this story that he heard from a Palmer Dairy farmer friend of his. My family rode out the earthquake in the Gulkana area …
Ridgeway like it was Yesterday Not rated yet
I lived in Ridgeway and my Dad was the fuel oil distributor in the area for Standard Oil. Our company was called "Peninsula Fuel." We had a trailer …
I was 13 and my Little Brother was 10 ... We Recall the Quake Vividly Not rated yet
I've been asked to give our memory of March 27, 1964 at 5:36 PM. My brother and I have vivid recall. My name is Ron Dionne and my brother is Ross …
1964 Alaskan Earthquake Memories Not rated yet
It was my husband's birthday and I was cooking and had just placed his cake on the table. All of a sudden, things started shaking. The doors of our …
The stories on this page were all written by actual survivors of this horrible earthquake.
While Anchorage and Alaska in general, has it's share of quakes, the one on Good Friday, 1964 was much more intense and destructive than others - before or sense. And those who experienced the terror and devastation first hand, still vividly recall their experiences to this day - and always will.
As you read the stories above, one of the first things you'll discover is the incredible variety of amazing things each one saw and experienced.
You'll also discover that for everyone, the earthquake did strange things with time. It rattle and shook time until it seemed like there was nothing but the earthquake. We were trapped in the seemingly never ending world of an earth that would not stop shaking us to our very core.
And you'll learn the many faces of terror -
The intense and profound shaking began as a cautious curiosity and quickly turned into a quest for survival as we tried desperately to just survive the incredible earthquake that would haunt us for the rest of our lives.
To this day, most survivors will tell you that at some strange moment while the earth was shaking, buildings were crumbling, and there was no place to hide, it seemed as though it would never stop. That it would go on and on until the earth was but a memory.
Can you imagine what that must have felt like?
The stories you'll read when you scroll up this page will give you a special look into this amazing event as you experience the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake through the eyes of the survivors.
To learn more, visit the Anchorage Museum website.