Editor’s note: Today marks the 57th anniversary of Cache Valley’s largest recorded earthquake — a 5.7-magnitude temblor on August 30, 1962, that lasted a reported 35 seconds. On the 50th anniversary in 2012, the paper took a comprehensive look back at the event. This year, after a friendly reader brought in an old copy of the newspaper from that day, we thought it would be interesting to reprint the top of the front page and a “sidebar” written to accompany the earthquake coverage. Though this article had no byline, it appears to have been written by then-editor Ray Nelson, a later inductee in the Utah Newspaper Hall of Fame. See attached layout of this article for Friday's print edition of The Herald Journal.
Long, deep cracks on each of the walls of the newspaper office this morning were solemn evidence that our typewriters would touch history before the day was finished.
Since our job is to transmit the news to others accurately and completely, there was no time for tension when an earthquake rocked the valley at 6:36 a.m.
Knowing of the overwhelming task before us, many employees got to work early and immediately began a round of contacts attempting to discover what had happened and where to whom.
Obliging community leaders soon advised us as to a badly damaged church house, a wall cave-in at a billiards hall, a ruined home in Richmond, and trouble at the Lewiston sugar factory.
For a while we worked in a lightless office, not knowing whether or not the power would return in time to publish a paper.
There was a generous invitation from the publisher of a Box Elder County paper to use his equipment if necessary for publication late this afternoon.
Until almost 10 o’clock our incoming calls were blocked (due to the power failure) which undoubtedly accounts for many not being able to reach the office by telephone this morning.
And for at least an hour after the return of power, metal pots for use in the electric linotype machines were having to reheat.
In the meantime there were photography visits down Logan’s business section where marks in the form of cracked walls, shattered windows, broken plaster and, occasionally, some damage of a much more serious nature.
There were photos to take and identify, damage estimates to receive from the most reliable sources, and stories to transmit to the national wire services.
In the meantime, there were anxious calls from parents and many visits from those who had something special to report concerning the effects of the quake.
The schools needed to report their closing, adding that most of the buildings would be opened again tomorrow.
Students were jubilantly invading the streets, while many adults were staying close to home.
Politics, space shots, marriages and meetings were almost forgotten when the first earthquake since 1934 rampaged through Cache Valley.