Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Friday, May 23, 2008


Earthquakes have always been pretty common in Taiwan. Sarj sent along this account of one rumbler that he experienced in the early nineteen-sixties:

Here is a photo taken on the top of the First Hotel, the tallest building in Taipei in 1962 or 63. We were attending a party that some officer invited me to. There was a lot of brass there and as I remember the officer who invited me loved the official portrait that I took of him so much that he invited me and my wife and Chief Dumas , chief of the photo lab, to this party.

The party was being held on the roof of the hotel and shortly after I took this photo...left to right PHC Dumas, chief's friend, my wife Ray-Fong. As you can see, the chief was sitting with his arm on the outside wall of the hotel and so was I after this photo. Well, the quake hit and the building swayed so much I was sure it was going to fall over. Boy, did we get off that roof and down to the ground fast!

I tried to look up details of the quake but with no luck. I remember everyone saying it was one of the worst in quite some time. Maybe it was a 6.0?

Maybe someone else will remember the date and the magnitude of the quake or have another story of other quakes. I know I remember my first one -- waking up with a hangover while the bed was jumping across the room.

Here's another photo of the First Hotel as it looked then, and as it looks today. Still standing!


Anonymous said...

I was there when that happened. On the top floor. I was escorting an entertainment group that consisted of five women from the US. I seem to remember a Mongolian BBQ at the top. They had just expierenced the big earthquake in Alaska a short time before and were all just freaked out. I was about 22 years old and working in the house band at Club 13. It was my day off and they had just played our club the night before and, of course, I just wanted to hang out with the American gals. I was too dumb to be really afraid, but that building must have moved at least ten feet at the top where we were. We left right away as you can imagine. Raybobus

Sarj Bloom said...

So you were there? WOW you are right the building really moved a lot and my wife and I left very fast too. I was also around 22 and I believe that my future wife and I were dating at the time. I was a Photomate in the Navy and as I remember an officer whom I did his annual photo for invited me. I don't remember any American women but there was a pretty large crowd there and we had only been there a short time when the quake hit. I'll never forget I was out of there!