Waves of Destruction

Introduction

Waves of Destruction is a legacy of Kodiak stories about the 1964 Great Alaska earthquake and tsunami. This online exhibit draws excerpts from audio recordings of Kodiak residents who experienced the earthquake and its aftermath in Kodiak.

These recordings originate from the Kodiak Oral History Project, a collection of more than 120 life histories of Kodiak residents that students enrolled in Dr. Gary Stevens' History of Alaska classes at Kodiak College recorded in the early 1990s. As you explore the Waves of Destruction exhibit and listen to the audio recordings, you will hear residents describe what they saw, heard, smelled and felt during the 1964 earthquake and aftermath. 

To help you navigate Waves of Destruction, the online exhibit it is organized as a timeline divided into five chapters. 

Table of Contents

Chapter 1:  The Community

Listen to residents describe what the Kodiak community was like during the first half of the 20th century.

Narrators:

Judge Roy Madsen
Chuck Mackey

 

 

 

 

 

Leif J. Norman photo courtesy of Nancy Norman Sweeney

Chapter 2:  The Earthquake

Learn what caused the earthquake.  Hear Kodiak residents recall what they saw, heard and felt during the earthquake.

Narrators:

Sonny Chichenoff
Chlora Clymer
Wanda Fields
Thelma Johnson
Charles Madsen
Candy McGuire
Art Zimmer
Lynn Saupe
Lena Metrokin

 

Leif J. Norman photo, March 30, 1964, courtesy of Nancy Norman Sweeney

Chapter 3:  The Tsunami

Learn what causes tsunamis. Hear Kodiak residents describe the tsunami and the damage the waves caused.

Narrators:

Ruth Breckberg
Bud Cassidy
Mary Cichoski
Chuck Mackey
Charles Madsen
Lynn Saupe
Art Zimmer

 

 

Leif J. Norman photo, March 30, 1964, courtesy of Nancy Norman Sweeney

Chapter 4:  The Aftermath

Read a letter written by Georgia Norman about the devastation and personal loss she and her husband experienced when the tsunami wiped out their business and home in downtown Kodiak. Hear Kodiak residents describe downtown Kodiak after the tsunami, the hardships they endured and how they all pulled together to get through the first weeks after the catastrophic event.

Narrators:

Kevin Arndt
 Wanda Fields 
Ruth Breckberg
 Charles Madsen
Bud Cassidy
 Lynn Saupe
Mary Cichoski
 Betty Springhill

Leif J. Norman photo courtesy of Nancy Norman Sweeney

Chapter 5:  The Rebuilding

Learn about the challenges of refloating fishing vessels and filling in the center of town that had sunk during the earthquake. Learn about the massive redesign of downtown Kodiak. Hear Kodiak residents describe how they felt about the loss of Old Kodiak and the federal program that funded the rebuilding of downtown Kodiak.

Narrators:

Bud Cassidy
Chuck Mackey
Kevin Arndt
Mary Cichoski
Nancy Norman Sweeney
Wanda Fields

Leif J. Norman photo, March 30, 1964, courtesy of Nancy Norman Sweeney