Earthquake / Air National Guard Memorial
On March 27, 1964, Alaska experienced the largest-ever recorded earthquake in North America. Known as the Good Friday Earthquake, this event caused an underwater landslide that washed away the waterfront area of Valdez and resulted in the loss of 32 lives. The quake also caused a local tsunami which surged into town, causing significant damage. As a result of the earthquake, the Valdez town site was deemed unsafe for habitation, causing the entire town to be relocated to its present, safer location approximately four miles away.
On April 25, 1964, an Air National Guard helicopter transported Governor Egan, and his entourage to Valdez to conduct an assessment for reconstruction, and for Governor Egan to observe the progress being made. The flight crew was planning to return to Anchorage without their passengers, and upon takeoff crashed into the Bay of Valdez, all four National Guardsmen aboard perished.
The 1964 Good Friday Earthquake and subsequent Alaska Air National Guard accident has been a defining moment in Valdez’s history. It has shaped the culture of our community and the landscape of our built environment. While the Pioneers of Alaska annually remember and commemorate the lives lost, there is no meaningful and tangible acknowledgment of these defining events that is accessible year around for not only survivors but visitors and local residents.
Planning for the project began in late 2015. The installation of the artwork will take place in early summer of 2017 and in accordance with the project team including the contractor, project manager, project architect, facility contact, and Valdez Museum Earthquake / Air National Guard Memorial Committee. The project RFP and all project requirements can be downloaded here.