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Oklahoma shakedown: The 1952 earthquake

By Sally Allen Published: February 25, 2004
Oklahomans were a bit edgy the morning of April 9, 1952. It had been a sleepless night under stormy skies. At least six tornadoes were spotted in western Oklahoma overnight. The temperature plummeted from a balmy 81 degrees the previous day, to a wintry 30 degrees.

Photos from '52

The April 9, 1952 earthquake loosened sections of glass tile from the facade of a dress shop at 308 W Main in Oklahoma City. Oklahoman File Photo.

The state Capitol sustained several large cracks in walls and ceilings. Oklahoman File Photo.

An engineer examines damage to the south wall of the Lake Overholser pumping station at NW 4 and Pennsylvania on April 9, 1952. Oklahoman File Photo.

Living history
See full-page replicas of The Oklahoman's 1952 earthquake coverage in the all new Oklahoman Archives.
The morning's events would prove to be as unpredictable as our springtime weather.

At 6 a.m., telephone workers went on strike.

At 10:30, Mother Nature struck. She rattled windows and nerves in at least seven states, including Oklahoma, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas.

Tall buildings swayed, chimneys toppled, walls cracked, pipes burst and floors buckled during the strongest earthquake ever recorded in Oklahoma.

Frightened workers spilled onto the streets of downtown Oklahoma City.

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