Sunday, October 17, 2010

21st Anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake

Use of photo is courtesy of the Wapple House Museum
Research Room, San Benito County Historical Society.
So, where were you 21 years ago when the earth shook long and hard at around 5 o'clock in the afternoon?

Twenty-one years ago today (October 17, 1989) was a Tuesday.  The Giants and A's were about to play their third game of the World Series at Candlestick Park.  Then the Loma Prieta earthquake happened. It was a slip on the San Andreas Fault that measured a surface-wave magnitude of 7.1. It caused the Cypress Street section of the Nimitz Freeway in West Oakland to crumble and a section of the Bay Bridge to fall. Many residences and buildings collapsed throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Santa Cruz county. Sixty-three people were killed as a result of the earthquake, and nearly 4,000 people were injured.

The earthquake's epicenter was about 30 miles northwest of Hollister. According to an October 23, 1989 article in the Hollister Free Lance ("Rain Brings New Misery to Victims: Quake Damage Climbs" by Dennis Taylor), the earthquake caused more that $100 million of property damage in San Benito County. About 500 homes and commercial buildings were damaged and more than 400 residents were displaced.

For many days after the earthquake, downtown Hollister between Fourth and Sixth streets were out of bounds because of major damage to buildings. Eventually, several buildings were razed. That stretch of lawn next to the Vault and the parking garage was once lined with businesses, for example. That's how much downtown Hollister changed after the Loma Prieta Earthquake.

Do you recall where you were and what you were doing when the earthquake happened?

For more about the Loma Prieta Earthquake, check out these links:

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