Re: Earthquake of 1957

08/12/18 - posted by ken l

I was working at my desk at PG&E, 3rd floor, 18th and Shotwell Sts. The shaking was not long in duration, but there were 8 to 10 violent lurches. The reinforced concrete building popped, sounded like shotgun blasts, as the forces over-strained the structure in a north-south direction. Two painters were painting the wooden sash windows outside; they were on a scaffold suspended by falls from the roof. With each lurch, they swung 5 or 6 feet away from the building- almost touching the 4ooo volt power lines! They voiced some real colorful language for the education of the Catholic school kids across the street. We quickly opened the windows and the painters climbed inside. They didn't feel like painting any more that day.

Co-worker John Maccri was walking up the stairwell when it shook. The glass skylight above the stairs shattered, raining shards of glass down on John's bald head. His scalp looked like picture puzzle pieces!

I called my wife Carmen, eight months pregnant, and she said "you better come home right now--water is running all over the basement!" I zipped right out to our
Westlake home on Avalon Dr., brand-new, we moved in two weeks prior.
Damages: Water heater pulled loose from the copper pipes and was lying on the garage floor.
Front terrazzo stairs were much cracked.
Sheetrock walls in most rooms had cracks.
Exterior stucco walls at the "soft" lower level were badly cracked.

Located only 1/4 mile from the epicenter, the ground motion was very intense. Thankfully, the quake was of short duration.

The Western Neighborhoods Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.