An earthquake that began beneath an obscure mountain in Santa Cruz County called Loma Prieta struck terror into Northern California 20 years ago this week on a beautiful fall afternoon, just as a World Series game was about to begin in San Francisco.
The quake lasted only 15 seconds, but it killed 67 people, smashed downtown Santa Cruz, wrecked San Francisco’s Marina district, broke the Bay Bridge – and changed much of the Bay Area.
Loma Prieta was one of those watershed events; in some ways, the disaster was a blessing in disguise. Out of it came a brand new San Francisco waterfront, the revival of a rundown neighborhood in Hayes Valley, major upgrades of classic buildings in downtown Oakland, and new laws on unreinforced old buildings. One of these years, a new eastern half of the Bay Bridge will open.
More notes and links on Loma Prieta, including my recollection(s) and that of Brian Zimdars.