I’m going to try to make this blog a place to talk about not just the Nisqually earthquake, but also other infamous earthquakes in Northwest history. To that end, I’ve picked up Seattle newspapers’ coverage of the 7.1 Puget Sound earthquake on Wednesday, April 13, 1949 that killed eight people. Here, reprinted from the Seattle Times, is a story from Phil Orlando, a steelworker who was standing on one of the 500-foot towers of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge: that is, the replacement for the Narrows Bridge that snapped in high winds in November 1940. Orlando said:
“I had just sent in the last signal, and told the men it was pretty close to lunch time so we’d knock off for a safety meeting. The tower began swaying, and then the casting began snapping off the 1-inch bolts it was fastened with.
“I jumped off the casting. It began to slide toward me, so I jumped back on. Then I jumped off again and finally caught a safety line and hung on for all I was worth. Just as I caught the line the tower whipped again and the casting I had been standing on disappeared. The tower kept shaking and I hung on, worrying about how my brother was making out underneath. I think the tower swayed six feet east and west and two feet north and south, but it seemed it was swinging a mile.”