Reprinted with permission of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch


SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 1968 VOL. 90 NO. 311 PAGE 1A


Damage photos from St. Louis area:
4830 Sacramento Ave.
4459 Olive St.

Centered About 120 miles Miles East
The earthquake that shook the St. Louis area at 11:02 a.m. yesterday spread over a wide area from Oklahoma to the Carolinas and from Wisconsin to Mississippi.

More frightening than destructive, the tremor caused only one serious injury and relatively minor local property damage.

The Rev. William Stauder S.J., and Prof. Otto Nuttli, of the Geophysics Department at St. Louis University, reported, the tremor was 5.5 on the Richter scale, which measures the magnitude of tremors.

The earthquake was centered in southern Illinois about 120 miles east and slightly south of St Louis near the Illinois-Indiana border, the National Earthquake Information Center In Rockville, Md., reported.

It was felt in 22 states eastward to Pennsylvania and West Virginia, southward to Mississippi and Alabama, northward to Toronto, Canada, and westward to Oklahoma.

At the California Institute of Technology seismology laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., Dr. Charles Richter said preliminary study indicated the quake had a magnitude of 5.5 or over on the Richter scale.

New Madrid Fault
Prof. Nuttli said the center, in Illinois was near the New Madrid fault area. The New Madrid fault is a recognized tremor spawning bed.

Tremors were registered on the university seismograph for 20 minutes. However, Father Stauder explained, the actual earthquake was of only seconds duration. The remaining ground motion came after the original quake.

By way of intensity comparison, the strongest quake ever recorded by the St. Louis University seismograph was 8.5 on the scale. Tremors are registered on the machine on film called a seismogram.

Deputy Building Commissioner Martin J. Walsh dispatched seven radio-equipped cars to check reported damage in the city. Early reports told of 16 damaged structures.

Boy Injured
Thommie Dobbins, 11 years old, was knocked unconscious when debris from the chimney at his home, 2410 South Eleventh street, fell on him. The boy was found in the yard, where be had been playing, by his mother, Mrs. Mary Ann Dobbins. He was admitted to City Hospital with a head injury.

Property damage in south St. Louis was reported by police as follows: 3142 Hickory street, part of the roof collapsed when a chimney fell; two chimneys fell on a dwelling at Ann avenue and South Seventh street; 913 Emmet street, rear wall buckled.

The cornice and part of a wall collapsed at 4199 Chippewa street, damaging an adjoining building.

Police blocked off the immediate area at the Funston Apartments, 4461 Olive street, after the five-story building was deemed in dangerous condition. A city building inspector was to examine the apartment structure.

Other Damage
Damage to chimneys, cornices and walls was reported in other areas of the city including: 12 houses in the 3300 and 3400 blocks of Blair avenue; the Senior Citizens Home, 4315 Lindell boulevard; 5025 Lindenwood avenue; and structures in the area of Newstead avenue and Delmar boulevard, Page boulevard and Semple avenue, and Marcus avenue and Wagoner place.

Gov. Warren E. Hearnes was sipping coffee with friends in an East Prairie, Mo., confectionery when the quake came.

The owner of the confectionery, E. C. Aycock, said the Governor ran into the middle of the street. He quoted the Govener as saying, "I've had many types of receptions in many parts of Missouri, but nothing like this. If the election weren't over, I would have thought Roos might have instigated it".

Lawrence K. Roos was Hearnes' opponent in last week's gubernatorial race.

Call From France
Charles Cordeal, 421 Woodlawn avenue, Webster Groves, said that he received a telephone call two hours after the tremor occurred from a physician friend in Nantes, France, who inquired about earthquake damage in the area. The physician, Dr. Alain Gouray, told Cordeal that he had heard about the earthquake on a radio broadcast.

Glen Arrowsmith, operator of an electronics repair service at 1395 Hamilton avenue, reported the tremor was so violent that testing equipment was knocked off work benches in the three-story, concrete and steel building.

Mrs. James T. Brandon, 8730 Trumbell avenue, Bel Ridge, called her mother Mrs. Carroll Crosby, after the earthquake. The Crosbys live at Harviell, 12 miles south of Poplar Bluff. The cinder block Crosby home, on a farm, was split in half, Mrs. Brandon was told. No one was hurt.

Wayne Kennedy, commissioner of parks and recreation in St. county, ordered a Civil War museum at Jefferson Barracks Park closed, because of earthquake damage. Bricks and plaster fell when a large crack opened in the vault-type room.

Built In 1857
Built in 1857 as a powder magazine the building now contains artifacts of the Civil War, a history of Jefferson Barracks and other material.

Patrolman Billie Cox, Penrose District, who momentarily left his police cruiser in the 3400 block of Blair avenue, reported that the car "bounced up and down". Cox escaped possible serious injury when a falling chimney narrowly missed him.

Crystal light fixtures in the Mayor's office at City Hall swayed with the tremor. Most, of the city offices are closed on Saturday, and Mayor Alfonso J. Cervantes was not in his office.

The main switchboard at Washington University was affected by the tremor so that it was impossible to make outgoing calls. Incoming calls continued to be received.

Miss Lillie Jones, 3419 Marcus avenue, told the Post-Dispatch that plaster fell in two floors of her home. "The houses around ours were shaking, it was a terrible feeling," she declared.

In other north St. Louis areas, residents ran into the streets, exchanging reports with neighbors. There was concern over possible leaking gas, but no lines were reported damaged.

Mrs. Arthur Lyons, 4830 Sacramento avenue, said a telephone was knocked off a table in a second floor room, and dishes rattled.

Diners in the serving line at Miss Hullings Cafeteria, Eleventh and Locust streets, were startled when the floor began to quiver, and glasses rattled. The tremor caused comment, but the general demeanor was calm.

Canned goods toppled off shelves in a Kirkwood supermarket. The St. Louis County Courthouse and other Clayton buildings were evacuated quickly when people ran in to the streets. Police reported that cars on the courthouse parking lot "skipped" several inches.

Part Of the chimney of the Eliot Unitarian Church, North Taylor avenue and East Argonne drive, Kirkwood, fell. The 100-year-old building formerly was Grace Episcopal Church.

Damage on the East Side was limited to broken windows, cracked walls and a few fallen chimneys. A chimney at the home of Dr. Robert Lynn, 415 East Twelfth street, Alton, fell on a car. Another chimney fell at the Alton home of Dr. Joseph Mira, 302 Prospect drive.

Phone Calls
Telephone calls jammed police station switchboards and those in newspapers and radio stations throughout the area. Considerable breakage of dishes was reported in East Side communities.

The 13-story civil courts building was rocked by the tremor. The building is of massive stone.

Clerks In the St. Louis Court of Appeals ran out of their offices. The buildings shook for about four or five seconds. At the time, the Twenty-second Circuit Judicial Commission was meeting to select a panel of three nominees for appointment to the post of probate judge.

Persons riding in automobiles did not feel the earth shocks, they reported.

Minor Damage
Sheriffs Offices in St. Charles, Franklin and Jefferson counties reported minor damage in their areas. Damage included chimneys falling, walls cracked and windows broken.

Canned goods were thrown from shelves and furniture moved in Princeton, Mo., near the Iowa line. There were reports of, residents of Indiana towns rushing into the streets when their homes began to rock. Sidewalks were reported cracked in Terre Haute.

Plate glass windows were broken in Cairo, Ill. and Chicago residents were aware of the quake.

In Milwaukee the quake was felt in several shocks. Downtown buildings shook and suspended signs swayed. Buildings in La Crosse and Beloit also trembled.

A tremor of similar strength to yesterday's earthquake was recorded in the St. Louis area in 1963. A weaker tremor was recorded in the area last year.

Earthquake damage is not covered by normal household insurance executive secretary of the Insurance Board of St. Louis, told the Post-Dispatch. He said few St. Louis homeowners had bothered to obtain insurance with special earthquake clauses.

William Casey, vice-president of Firemen's Fund American, one of the few insurance groups that offers earthquake coverage, said there was an additional charge and the number of persons who had it was "very slight in comparison to the total market."

Casey said the firm had withdrawn earthquake coverage in most states because of the limited demand, but that such coverage was still available in Missouri.

Schmidt noted that past earthquakes in the area "have caused very little damage."

Tremor Makes Arch Bounce

Visitors in the observation tower of the 630-foot Gateway Arch were calm, but National Park Service guides were concerned when the structure began to tremble at 11:02 a.m. yesterday.

"The arch bounced up and down" Freddie L. Lambert, a park guide said. The tremor came as he was pointing out places of interest to more than 50 visitors at the top of the stainless steel national monument.

"Does it do this all the time?" a young woman asked.

"It sways," he said casually, trying to avoid a situation that might have caused panic.

"There was a fast vibration," Lambert said later. "Then the motion tapered off and the arch began to sway in normal fashion from east to west. The whole thing lasted about 40 seconds."

Donald F. Dosch, chief historian of the park service, said neither the arch nor the transportation system suffered any damage.

"The Arch is sound and nothing in nature could damage it, and that includes an earthquake," he said.

The trains in both the north and south legs were halted for a maintenance check, but the crews could find nothing unusual, Dosch said.

Ticket sales were stopped but the operation was resumed in less than an hour after the quake.

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