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The Loma Prieta Earthquake Was 23 Years Ago Today—Where Were You?

If you were in the Bay Area or knew family there 23 years ago, chances are you remember exactly where you were when the earth shook. Share your memories here.

At 5:04 p.m. on Oct. 17, 1989 the ground throughout the Bay Area shook.

A lot of the area's attention was focused on the World Series game that was about to start between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics at Candlestick Park, but suddenly sports was insignificant as a 6.9 quake centered at Loma Prieta in the Forest Nisene Marks State Park rocked Northern California.

The shaking could be felt in nearly all parts of the Bay Area. Many in the North Bay sustained far less damage than their neighbors to the south but nevertheless have vivid memories of that fateful day.

In Marin, a bevy of residents shared their stories for the 20th anniversary of the quake. In the Sacramento region, the quake was not as powerful, but some of our readers who were in the Bay Area at the time of the quake are now living in or near the state capital.

What do you remember about Oct. 17, 1989? How has your life changed since then?

Was the area successful in rebuilding? Are we better prepared than we were 23 years ago?

Have we learned from the disaster?

Patricia DuMond October 18, 2012 at 07:06 PM
I was at home in my condo up on Diamond Heights in San Francisco. First thing I noticed was the cat acting strange and then running under the bed. I sat mesmerized on the couch and watched the television shimmy toward the edge of the table it was on. The fish tank was sloshing back and forth. Then the shaking stopped. Later, when the sun had set, I looked out over a dark San Francisco and no light could be seen even across the bay. Very spooky. The next day when I returned to work at UCSF I found out that several of my co-workers had been on a commute van that was on the bay bridge; the van had bounced and fallen, killing several of them. A very sad day indeed. My husband was at the World Series... he said the stands started shaking badly and people were freaking out; he was praying that the stands held. After the shaking the announcer told everybody in the lower bleachers to move onto the field and the upper bleacher to come down to the lower bleachers. However, security would not let people onto the field so it was a massive push and shove mess. .
Haggis October 18, 2012 at 07:22 PM
I was at the Mill Valley Citibank ATM, felt the shake and looked down Throckmorton to see the lamp posts bowing to each other. Fortunately, when I got home all was well and the family felt only a mild shake. Television showed us how bad the destruction was and how lucky we were.
don October 18, 2012 at 11:27 PM
I am my family were living in Inverness at the time. I was watching the TV and suddenly it went blank then I saw ground waves. I watched as the really tall Eucalyptus trees started to shake / wave then the ground shock hit our house. The house shook pretty good. I realized my youngest son was on a creek hike with his friends and got really concerned. My older son was in his bedroom doing home work. He never stopped the homework. My younger son got back to the house and said the creek valley they were in, "started shaking and rocks were falling form the creek walls." He said it was "really cool." (10 years old)! The hose skylights leaked until fixed in the winder but that was all. The scariest part of the who thing was seeing San Francisco totally in the dark and the fires in the Marina. There was a lesson to be learned, That's how vulnerable we truly are to the earths' whim! I am a person not easily impressed, been through typhoons at sea (three at once) between south east Asia and the Philippine islands on a 400' destroyer, however that was play time compared to the power I saw displayed by mother earth on the day of the Loma Prieta.
Richard Breedon October 19, 2012 at 06:13 AM
An employee of UC Davis, I was in Japan, at the airport on the southern main island of Shikoku waiting for a flight back to Tokyo, when I saw the news on the lobby TV. Being very familiar with earthquakes, the Japanese watching along with me were stunned into silence. The house I later bought in Davis in 1993 had a crack running through the brick facade that I was told was a result of the earthquake.
lev January 06, 2013 at 03:41 AM
Hi Marie ~ Didn't mean to disappear in thin air on you. - Lev, h2o.5.nz@spamgourmet.com

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