Shook in Spenard

54 years ago today, Sylvia Butcher was enjoying an after dinner coffee with her husband, David Butcher. The earth began to tremble and shake; leaving the couple to run out of their newly built Spenard apartment for their lives.

The Good Friday earthquake in 1964 was a 9.2 on the Richter scale, the largest earthquake ever recorded in North America and the second largest earthquake ever recorded in the world. Striking at 5:36 p.m. March 27, 1964, the quake lasted for approximately four and a half minutes.

Spenard resident, Sylvia Butcher, who was pregnant and weeks from her due date when the earthquake occurred, describes her experience.

The apartment they lived in was partially damaged from the quake. The building was leaning over. Even one of the most structurally sound parts of the building, the door frame, was so off-kilter that the Butchers couldn’t shut their door. The building, which has since been renovated still stands today on W. 25th Avenue.

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Sylvia Butcher stands at the apartment complex she was living on March 27, 1964. During the earthquake, Butcher’s hutch cabinet fell to the floor, destroying most of her newly acquired wedding China, and leaving few pieces from the set unbroken. Photo by Young Kim.

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