Anchorage 64'Earthquake Memories
Do you remember what life was like in Anchorage following the 1964 earthquake?
In the picture above, recovery was beginning on 4th Avenue in downtown Anchorage.
What was life like for you after the 5 minute, 9.2 earthquake stopped shaking in Anchorage?
In this edition of your Anchorage Memories VIP Club, we’re remembering what our lives were like after the earthquake. What are your memories?
Like the banner above reads, “Our Town” after the 64’ quake.
See more rare Earthquake Pictures and remember.
He Found a Way
Following the earthquake, we were told that our tap water was not safe to drink, but that we could use it if we boiled it first.
A friend of ours told this story:
One day our friend was brushing his teeth and forgot that the tap water was not safe to drink. Not sure what to do, he remembered a bottle of Scotch he had in a cupboard. Moments later he was rinsing, gargling and hoping the alcohol would keep him safe… Don’t try this at home.
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Many could not return to their homes. Others had no heat, electricity or running water.
C Rations Were a Blessing
When Mike, of Anchorage Memories, was a boy, he used to think it was fun to eat C rations. Those were rations prepared for our military combat troupes.
But on the second night after the earthquake, Mike’s family sat down on the living room floor to have a dinner of cold C Rations. That dinner was a stark reminder of everything that had and was still happening.
A Walk to the Grocery Store
Not far from where Mary of Anchorage Memories, who was in the sixth grade, and her family lived on 2nd Avenue and Cordova in a three-story log house, was Chinook Grocery, a small neighborhood store.
One morning following the quake, Mary’s mom Feodoria, heard that Chinook Grocery had reopened, so she gathered the family, and they walked to the store.
Mary remembers that it was cold and dark gray clouds covered the morning sky, but it was nice to be out. They stopped along the way to say hello to neighbors who were shoveling the sidewalk and making a snowman. “I liked it because it seemed normal again” says Mary.
At Chinook Grocery, they picked up some treats and a few groceries. The owner looked sad and told Mary’s mother that he was afraid there would be another earthquake.
On their way back home, Mary said it felt good to be out for a long walk and to see that Anchorage was still there.
The Denali Theatre on 4th Avenue
While the Denali movie theatre on 4th Avenue, had sunk to its marquee and was no longer in operation, just up the street to the west, the 4th Avenue theatre was finally able to reopen.
McLintock at the 4th Avenue Theatre
If memory serves… When the 4th Avenue theatre could reopen after the earthquake, they showed the John Wayne movie “McLintock” which seemed to be a perfect way to forget about what was going on all around us.
Mike of Anchorage Memories was a high school teen in 1964 and he and a friend decided to go to the 4th Avenue Theatre for the evening.
The two were having so much fun talking and just being normal again that they forgot Anchorage was still under Marshall Law and that folks were not allowed in certain areas.
Without paying attention, they parked in an area that was closed. As Mike and his friend walked up the steps from the parking lot in the dark of the evening, there were suddenly four to six very bright flashlights trained on their faces. Behind the bright lights, several Police Officers were ordering them to “halt”…
After a few minutes of stern questions and a quick lecture, Mike and his friend were told they could go on, but that they had better not enter a secured area again. Gulp.
An After the 1964 Quake Video
There is no sound
This video is filled with pictures of Anchorage after the Good Friday earthquake.
It’s Still Your Birthday
Every so often, you end up having to do things very differently.
We recently read about a lady who was a young girl when the quake struck. Her mom had her birthday cake in the oven. After the quake, they “baked” her birthday cake in the fireplace… The cake was “a little crispy, but it was good”.
All These Years Later it Still Hard to Believe
Getting back to normal after the 1964 Great Alaska earthquake wasn’t easy.
What Are Your Memories of Life After the Quake?
For all these years, the survivors of the Good Friday, March 27, 1964, earthquake have been asking each other, the question… “where were you when the quake struck?”
The answers are as varied as big, fluffy snowflakes drifting slowly from the sky.
And then, story after story of what everyone did after the quake.
Contact Mike and Mary
So, after the earthquake, while Mary was going to Chinook Grocery to get some tasty treats, Mike was eating C Rations on the cold living room floor.
What are your memories of life after the 64’ earthquake? We would love to hear from you. To get in touch with us, you can reply to this email. Or you can easily Contact Us right now.
Until Next Time
Mike and Mary
To all, I am very thankful for your input and stories. Stay safe and great that the First day of Spring is here. All most time to break out the sneakers after "break up!"