Seward children's 1964 earthquake drawings

Photo courtesy Seward Library Museum The Seward Library Museum has a collection of artwork made by children in 1964, soon after an earthquake and tsunami ripped through the town and set off a series of fires. Eighty-six drawings of the earthquake were discovered in the library archives, though it is unknown why they were made or preserved as a collection.
Photo courtesy Seward Library Museum
Photo by Kerry Tasker Rocky Morgan, a retired hunting guide, in his Seward home holding a drawing he made when he was 8 years old, just after the 1964 earthquake. "I wanted to go down and help with the fire with my dad," Morgan remembers. Drawings were made by children in Seward, following the 1964 Earthquake.
Kerry Tasker
Photo courtesy Seward Library Museum The Seward Library Museum has a collection of artwork made by children in 1964, soon after an earthquake and tsunami ripped through the town and set off a series of fires. Eighty-six drawings of the earthquake were discovered in the library archives, though it is unknown why they were made or preserved as a collection.
Photo courtesy Seward Library Museum
Photo by Kerry Tasker Collections coordinator Katelyn Rullman at the Seward Library Museum shows one of the drawings made by a child in 1964, soon after an earthquake and tsunami ripped through the town and set off a series of fires. Eighty-six drawings of the earthquake were discovered in the library archives, though it's unknown why they were made or preserved as a collection. Drawings were made by children in Seward, following the 1964 Earthquake.
Kerry Tasker
Photo courtesy Seward Library Museum The Seward Library Museum has a collection of artwork made by children in 1964, soon after an earthquake and tsunami ripped through the town and set off a series of fires. Eighty-six drawings of the earthquake were discovered in the library archives, though it is unknown why they were made or preserved as a collection.
Photo courtesy Seward Library Museum
Photo by Kerry Tasker Sue McClure stands in front of the house she lived in at the time of the 1964 earthquake, holding a pair of drawings she made just afterwards. One shows plates and flowerpots falling to the ground and the other depicts oil tankers on fire. "It was just total devastation," she said. Drawings were made by children in Seward, following the 1964 Earthquake.
Kerry Tasker
Photo by Kerry Tasker In the mid-'90s, Seward Library staff discovered over 80 drawings made by Seward children shortly after the 1964 earthquake. It's unknown why they were made or preserved as a collection. Drawings were made by children in Seward, following the 1964 Earthquake.
Kerry Tasker
Photo courtesy Seward Library Museum The Seward Library Museum has a collection of artwork made by children in 1964, soon after an earthquake and tsunami ripped through the town and set off a series of fires. Eighty-six drawings of the earthquake were discovered in the library archives, though it is unknown why they were made or preserved as a collection.
Photo courtesy Seward Library Museum
Photo courtesy Seward Library Museum The Seward Library Museum has a collection of artwork made by children in 1964, soon after an earthquake and tsunami ripped through the town and set off a series of fires. Eighty-six drawings of the earthquake were discovered in the library archives, though it is unknown why they were made or preserved as a collection.
Photo courtesy Seward Library Museum
Photo by Kerry Tasker Collections coordinator Katelyn Rullman at the Seward Library Museum shows one of the drawings made by a child in 1964, soon after an earthquake and tsunami ripped through the town and set off a series of fires. Eighty-six drawings of the earthquake were discovered in the library archives, though it's unknown why they were made or preserved as a collection. Drawings were made by children in Seward, following the 1964 Earthquake.
Kerry Tasker
Craig Medred

SEWARD -- The old library basement was a dim, musty room, used occasionally for meetings and movie nights. It was an unremarkable space except for what hung on the walls -- children's drawings, dozens of them, in Crayola-bright colors with stick-figure people and blob-like cars, all showing the same basic scene: billowing fire and black skies, enormous waves, buildings sinking, people fleeing on foot or in cars.

They are a collection of more than 80 drawings made by Seward children in 1964, just after the 9.2 Good Friday earthquake ripped though their town and triggered a lethal tsunami, rupturing fuel tanks and starting a series of explosions and fires that lasted for days.

Some of the scenes are drawn in crayons and pastels, others in ink or pencil. Most show fuel tanks -- often with Texaco and Standard Oil symbols neatly drawn -- engulfed in an inferno of fire, with enormous plumes of black smoke filling the sky. In some, boats in the bay are on fire, or blue waves threaten the town. One boy imagined Nazi fighter planes dropping bombs on the exploding fuel tanks. A seventh grader drew two adults and a child clinging to each other, surveying a black and broken landscape.

No one knows for certain why they were made. It seems that someone must have coordinated different classes of children, grades one through eight, for the project, and preserved the drawings as a collection. But for about 30 years, no one knew they existed.

"I do know that I have always thought they were unique and real treasures," said Maureen Callahan, who was a senior library assistant when the drawings came to light.

Read more: 'Pictures of devastation: Forgotten drawings show 1964 quake, tsunami through eyes of children'