Sunday, March 9, 2003

Ohio Bicentennial Moments

Anna's shaky past makes it quake capital

On March 9, 1937, an earthquake rocked the Ohio village of Anna, situated about 45 miles north of Dayton. Thereafter, some called Anna the "Earthquake Capital of Ohio."

Legend has it that when the famous Shawnee leader Tecumseh tried, unsuccessfully, to unite several Indian tribes in the Northwest Territory, he told them he would stamp his foot and the ground would tremble. This has been taken to be a curse on Ohio and has been blamed for every earthquake since the great one along the New Madrid Fault in 1811.

The Village of Anna lies on a fault sometimes called the Anna-Champaign Rift. Twenty-three quakes occurred in Anna during the 1930s - eight of them in March 1937. The first one hit on March 2. There were no reported injuries, but the school was damaged, several chimneys were toppled and Fire Chief Henry Cleaves reported that the garage clock, which hadn't been working for about a year, began ticking again.

Anna was still recovering from that quake when, at 12:45 a.m. March 9, a bigger quake hit. Every building in Anna was damaged and many residents fled to neighboring towns. The quake measured about 5.5 on the Richter Scale and was felt as far away as Ontario, Canada. Chief Cleaves reported that his clock stopped ticking - this time for good.

- Rebecca Goodman

Ohio Moments will appear daily during 2003. Have a suggestion? Contact Rebecca Goodman at or (513) 768-8361.

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