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Apr 26th
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SC History

Santa Cruz - SC History

Memory Matters

Memory Matters

Twenty years after the fact, a geologist and a historian say we must not forget

Loma Prieta was a humbling experience for most of us. a reminder of our diminutive stature in the grand scheme of things. I think that remembering events like that is a perfect antidote for our collective hubris; it keeps us honest.—Sandy Lydon, ‘History Dude’

 

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Santa Cruz - SC History

Loma Prieta Earthquake video

Exclusive '89 earthquake footage shot by filmmaker Peter McGettigan.


See all Loma Prieta earthquake articles in the Santa Cruz History section >
Santa Cruz - SC History

Reflections Behind the Lens

Reflections Behind the Lens

Twenty years ago, Chip Scheuer was a photographer for the Pajaronian. He happened to be on the scene after the quake pummeled downtown Santa Cruz. The following is his story—in words and pictures.

THE GROUND WAS STILL SHAKING AS I ran toward a mushroom cloud of black smoke billowing from a home engulfed in flames on Myrtle Street across from the Santa Cruz High School pool. One of the residents was fleeing the inferno and I photographed him as firefighters battled the intense flames.  Approaching Pacific Avenue, I couldn’t believe the devastation. Santa Cruz looked like a bad Japanese science fiction movie—as if a drunken Godzilla had stumbled through the center of town.

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Santa Cruz - SC History

Looking Back Looking Ahead-Remembering Loma

Looking Back Looking Ahead-Remembering Loma

The 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake may have shaken Santa Cruz to the core, but it did one thing and one thing very well—it brought the community together. Here, GT probes the minds of several well-known Cruzans to get a better perspective of how things unravelled back then and … what may lie ahead. (Pictured: Mark Primack on a piece of the old Cooper House.)

What do you remember most? With my family safe and our home secure, I walked the length of Pacific Avenue a half hour after the earthquake. As an architect and Zoning Board Chair, I felt compelled to attempt my own assessment of damages. I didn’t have a camera, so I tried hard to take indelible mental notes on the apparent condition of each building I passed. Those first impressions informed later efforts at housing displaced businesses and saving older buildings. It is those white-knuckled images of cracked and battered buildings that come most clearly to mind when I remember the ’89 quake.

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Santa Cruz - SC History

On That Day

On That Day

We were inundated with essays for The Loma Prieta Earthquake writing contest. This one stood out.

It was 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 1989.   I had one hour left before 30 people would show up at my front door for a meeting on Child Abuse Prevention. Our guest speaker was Diane Siri, the new Superintendent of Schools for the Santa Cruz County Office of Education.  As Board President of the Santa Cruz County Child Abuse Prevention Council, it had taken me months to pull together this gathering of department directors and social service providers. But it was worth it. This was going to be a golden opportunity to integrate the sometimes contentious elements that impacted the life of every foster child in Santa Cruz County.  Ms. Siri would be the spark that ignited this important effort. I could sense the possibility of change. I wanted everything to be perfect.

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Santa Cruz - SC History

Rumblings from the Past

Rumblings from the Past

UCSC class captures earthquake survivors’ recollections in new audio archive

“Twenty minutes before the earthquake, the dog suddenly stopped and just went down, spread-eagle, on the ground, and would not budge … like, holding the earth.”
So spoke one longtime local to the students of “20 Years after Loma Prieta,” a five-week UCSC class that examined the infamous 1989 earthquake’s repercussions on the City of Santa Cruz. Sarah Yahm, a graduate student in the university’s social documentation program, created this class with the goal of creating an audio walking tour of downtown Santa Cruz that would reflect the experiences of locals during and after the quake. The results can be heard at santacruzafterthequake.wordpress.com.

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Santa Cruz - SC History

The Cooperhouse

The Cooperhouse

It was a true crosswalk of Santa Cruz. The location was absolutely perfect, right at the corner of Pacific Avenue and Cooper Street. Notice how even the space in front of O’Neill’s where the Cooperhouse stood, attracts people. If you came here after 1990 or you are under 20 “The Cooperhouse” is only a bunch of old photos and wild stories. Now it’s just a part of Santa Cruz history. It was once our County Courthouse and from June 1972 to 1990 it was the happiest, busiest, gathering, shopping-drinking place (or as we now say, “small locally owned business incubator”) in all of Santa Cruz. For a little while longer, while we older long time residents last, the Cooperhouse will be a bit more important than the Santa Cruz Mission or the vanished bridge at Natural Bridges because it was a real part of our lives.

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We Can Rebuild You

A look back at how downtown Santa Cruz recovered from the 1989 earthquake

 

International Earth Day—Mother Earth Day

Every April 22, humanity celebrates International Mother Earth Day and Earth Day. As more than a billion people participate in Earth Day activities every year, Earth Day has become the world’s largest civic observance. The massive concern to build right relations between humanity and the living being we call Earth is evidence of humanity’s love of the Mother. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed April 22 International Mother Earth Day, with a significant resolution affirming “the interdependence existing among human beings, other living species (the kingdoms—mineral, plant, animal and human) and the planet itself, the Earth which we all inhabit.” The Earth is our home. Celebrating Earth Day helps us define new emerging processes (economic, social, political) focused on the well-being of the kingdoms. Through these, humanity seeks to raise the quality of life, foster equality and begin to establish right relations with the Earth. We dedicate ourselves to bringing forth balance and a relationship of harmony with all of nature. Learn about planting a billion trees (the Canopy Project); participate in 1.5 billion acts of green. Disassociation (toward Earth) is no longer viable. We lose our connection to life itself. Participation is viable—an anchor, refuge and service for all of life on Earth. Visit earthday.org; harmonywithnatureun.org; and un.org/en/events/motherearthday for more information. From Farmers Almanac, “On Earth Day, enjoy the tonic of fresh air, contact with the soil, companionship with nature! Go barefooted. Walk through woods, find wildflowers and green moss. Remain outside, no matter the weather!” Nature, Earth’s most balanced kingdom, heals us. The New Group of World Servers is preparing for the May 3 Wesak Buddha Taurus solar festival. We prepare through asking for and offering forgiveness. Forgiveness purifies and like nature, heals.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Mission Critical

How reading Lisa Jensen’s reviews taught me to love film
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Oral Fixations

Blown away by a Tuesday night dinner at Oswald

 

What would you like to see a TED talk about?

Hydrogen-gas cars that are coming this summer. Scott Oliver, Santa Cruz, Professor

 

Sarah’s Vineyard

Sarah’s Vineyard of Gilroy is known for crafting fine wines—and one of my all-time favorites is its Chardonnay. But this time, its Viognier has my vote.

 

Munch

East Coast meets West Coast in new meat lover’s paradise