Wells, Nev. marks 1 year after quake

14 photos
Save Story

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

Residents of Wells, Nev., marked an anniversary Saturday that they would rather have not had. Exactly 1 year ago, a 6.0 earthquake shook the town.

Buildings came down, homes were damaged, and the high school was closed for months. One year later, a lot of progress has been made, but it's progress you really can't see.

The downtown is still in ruins, but Friday the city discovered it will receive money from the Nevada Department of Emergency Management. That means more rebuilding finally can begin.

Resident Peg Kaplan said, "It is as vivid in my mind as though it happened this morning."

Kaplan was home February 21, 2008 when the earthquake hit.

"I heard a loud noise, and then things started to shake. I thought a train had derailed and had come through the downstairs," she said.

It wasn't a train, though one still rolls through town. The damage was much more severe, widespread, and a year later still is very visible.

Mayor Rusty Tybo said, "We're starting to get some movement in the right direction, but it is still a tedious process."

Tybo knows downtown still looks bad, but a lot of good has happened. The high school gymnasium has been fixed. Residents gathered there Saturday morning for a sort-of anniversary pancake breakfast and lunch.

Residents' homes have been repaired. And Tybo says the best part is that people are better prepared.

"We know how to respond a little better, I think, and deal with the emotional side of things a little better," he said.

Plenty of aftershocks have hit Wells in the past year. One of the bigger ones, measuring 3.7, hit last Tuesday. Some people felt it and remembered what earthquakes are like.

Resident Robert Johnson said, "It just brings you closer together."

Johnson says there is still a lot of work to be done, and it seems likely Murphy's Bar, the meat market and the Mint Saloon will never be the same. But there are plans to turn the old El Rancho Hotel into a community center. It's just one more thing that likely will bring the community even closer.

"This is where we live," Johnson said. "We want it to be the best we can make it."

Mayor Tybo says the biggest problem the city faces now is dealing with its insurance company for claims. With the economy down, there isn't a lot of extra money to rebuild. However, at least emotionally, residents of Wells have come a long way.

To view earthquake preparedness tips from Craig DePolo, research geologist from University of Nevada, Reno, see the related link on this page.

E-mail: acabrero@ksl.com


Related links

Related stories

Most recent Utah stories

Related topics

Alex Cabrero


    Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the KSL.com Trending 5.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast