The Great Quakes of 1952
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In the summer of 1952, a series of earthquakes caused major damage across Kern County, killing 14 people and causing millions of dollars of damage. The first quake hit on July 21 at 4:52 a.m. and was estimated to be greater than 7.3 on the richter scale -- the second most powerful Californian quake in the 20th Century. The quake killed 12 people and heavily damaged Tehachapi, Arvin and Bakersfield. A series of major aftershocks followed and culminated with a 5.5 quake on August 22 that devastated downtown Bakersfield and resulted in the death of two people. This is the story of those quakes, told by the people who lived through them and by the newspaper that was in the middle of it all — The Bakersfield Californian.