Salvaging Earthquake Damaged Homes in Turnagain

by Gordon Parker
(Anchorage)


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 weeks.

On one of our assignments we were handed sledge hammers and told to take down the walls of the old airport. The building was no longer safe and would be replaced.

We spent several days salvaging what we could from damaged homes in Turnagain. We took out clothing, furniture that was still usable, even appliances including stoves and refrigerators. On one memorable occasion we even removed a toilet.

The houses were badly damaged.

I recall one that was completely broken in half. My friend Mike Dale and I climbed into that one. We were busy removing usable items when a strong aftershock struck. I really don't remember which of us was outside and which was inside. I do remember that the outside guy grabbed the arm of the inside guy and pulled him out just before the house slid farther down the earthquake-created plateau on which it stood.

The items we salvaged, as I recall, were taken to a warehouse and held there until the families could find new housing and reclaim their possessions.

There was another, less altruistic, motivation for volunteering to work with Civil Defense.

Anchorage was put under martial law for a while due to some looting. We weren't allowed to go out after dark. With a Civil Defense arm band and hard hat, you could go out. It was the only way we could go see our girlfriends. And, of course, we looked dramatically dashing in our CD gear.

Check out this amazing story My 1964 Earthquake Experience in Turnagain right now

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Earthquake Clean Up
by: Ron Maley

I went down to the Park Strip to volunteer after the 1964 earthquake.

They asked me where I worked, I told them Smyth the smoother mover. They sent me down to Post Road to pick up a flat bed truck from a truck sales place.

When I returned to the Park Strip they asked me what name I wanted to operate under, I said Maley Trucking. They dispatched me to the Penny's Mall.

A crane loaded me with slabs of concrete which I took to a gravel pit in Mt View. The next load was baby buggy's and type writers.

As soon as I got to the dump, they lined them up and ran over them with a cat. What a waste.

I took every dispatch I could get, even hauling garbage for the State Troopers.

Six months later I get a big check made out to Maley Trucking. Made my day.

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