If you had looked at the Seward waterfront area before 1964, you would have seen fish processing plants, warehouses, a small boat harbor, various pleasure and commercial vessels, and huge Texico and Standard Oil tanks. You would also have seen the Alaska Railroad facilities and tracks which ran to the south end of town near where the Alaska Sea Life Center is today. That's where steamers would come in to off and on load materials. The bulk of Seward's economy resided along this shoreline.

On March 27, 1964 at 5:36 p.m., this entire shoreline dropped off into Resurrection Bay carrying Seward's economy with it. On that Good Friday, a 9.2 magnitude earthquake struck this part of Alaska and devastated small coastal towns like Seward. You may still be able to see the dock pilings and other remnants of this earth-shattering event off to the right side of the boat. The under water avalanching from the loss of shoreline set off a series of seiche waves, or reverberation waves in Resurrection Bay. These were the first waves of destruction to hit the town of Seward. Back in 1964 all of the railroad industry and well as a large oil tank farm ran along the shoreline. All of this was left in ruins. What the seiche waves did not destroy was mangled by the Tsunami which hit about 25 minutes after the start of the quake. This seismic sea wave was about 30 feet tall when it struck Seward. It went inland 9/10ths of a mile. All in all it was a very scary day for the residents of town, 12 of whom were killed. However, one long time Seward resident quipped "They don't call it Resurrection Bay for nothing," referring to the rebuilding and restoration that took place after the quake for which Seward received the All American City award the next year.

Getting There

Latitude: 60.10655
Longitude: -149.434
Driving Directions