My 1964 Earthquake Adventure

by Carol Oaks Shafford
(Fairbanks, AK)

Four Seasons apartment building

Four Seasons apartment building

I had just gotten off work at JC Penneys, driven home and parked the car in the garage.

I walked into the house at 1333 11th Avenue when the house started really shaking.

Mrs. B, (Esther Balhiser), was cooking dinner. The cupboard doors flew open. I ran and grabbed my Mother's china, and put it down on the floor.

Then I yelled at my sister Peggy and Mrs. B, telling them to get out of the house. We went out on the front steps.

Across the street, the Snoderly kids were out in the front yard. I remember Vonnie screaming. It was difficult to stand while the ground was shaking.

When the quake finally stopped, we were all quite shaken. We went back into the house and picked up the mess in the kitchen.

A short time later, Mrs. B, Peggy and I got in the car and drove around the neighborhood.

We saw the collapsed apartment building, (the Four Seasons), near the old providence hospital on L Street. As the building collapsed, it nearly hit the Koslosky's house. We also saw huge breaks in the pavement on L street.

It would be days before we realized the full extent of the earthquake. The apartment building our friend Ilona Johnson lived in on L street had been mostly destroyed. Ilona ended up living with us for the remainder of the school year.

I remember hearing that Paul Cruz had jogged home from somewhere near Girdwood as the road was closed due to snow slides. The Cruzes lived in Turnagain.

That summer, my dad's company was rebuilding the runway in Soldotna. Driving back and forth between Anchorage and Soldotna was a real adventure because some of the bridges had been destroyed by the earthquake.

You had to travel at low tide because you had to drive through and across the rivers.

I worked for my dad that summer so spent a lot of time in Soldotna.

For many years after the 1964 earthquake, when buildings would shake, I would stop what I was doing and wait for it to stop.

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We were Just Across the Street
by: Linda Cordle

We were across the street from there at the
doctor’s office on 9th and L street.

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