Tremors in the Fifties

by Paula Bosse


by Paula Bosse

Despite what I said previously, there have been a few reports of earthquakes being felt in Dallas, but they’ve almost always been caused by quakes originating outside of Texas (Oklahoma tends to be a common culprit). The staggering number of quakes (called a “swarm” in the trade) that hit us on January 6, 2014 — 10 or 11 recorded in 24 hours! — have been traced directly to Irving. Hometown earthquakes? Born and bred in DFW? That is rare, indeed!

I was directed to the following article by reader Rusty Williams (he’s the author of the great Historic Photos of Dallas in the 50s, 60s, and 70s — get it!):

earthquake_denton-record-chronicle_061759Denton Record-Chronicle, June 17, 1959

The Dallas Morning News reported this Red River-centered quake thusly:

earthquake_dmn_061859DMN, June 18, 1959

Which then led me to April 9, 1952. The headline of Frank X. Tolbert’s front-page article pretty much summed that one up: “Strong Quake Causes Jitters In Seven States — Dallas Structures Quiver; No Major Damage Done.” The epicenter of that one seems to have been, again, in Oklahoma. It was definitely seen as a novelty, and people were more amused by it than frightened or concerned.

earthquake_dmn_041052DMN, April 10, 1952


earthquake_crume_dmn_041052Paul Crume, DMN, April 10, 1952

So, yes, technically earthquakes have been felt in Dallas before, but has the Dallas area ever been the epicenter of an earthquake? Suddenly, in recent years, yes, but historically?

No matter. As Paul Crume wrote in his Big D humor column in The Dallas Morning News the day after the Minor Tremor of ’52:

Earthquakes as a family do surprisingly little damage. They invariably improve public morale. After a quake, people brighten up. They have something new to talk about for awhile. It even interests your wife. (DMN, April 10, 1952)

Like a parade, everyone loves an earthquake. Even your wife. Don’t worry — be happy!


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.