“The 2014 Napa Valley Earthquake” is the first in a series of pictorial editions by California artist Marques Vickers capturing the immediate damage from the August 24, 2014 trembler. Vickers 80+ images capture the stark damage to downtown Napa, Mare Island Naval Shipyard and the city of Vallejo the day following the magnitude 6.0 earthquake.
The Napa Valley had never experienced a direct earthquake hit of this magnitude before as the source, the West Napa fault had not been previously identified. The oasis of pre and post-Victorian-era buildings nestled amongst vineyard laced hillsides seemed somehow immune from the legacies of other damaged communities who’d suffered from the shifting of the San Andreas faultline. The masonry from early twentieth century constructions displayed their vulnerable even despite retrofitting in some instances. The alluring structures failed their severest test. Their quaint charm proved defenseless to errantly vibrating terrain. Gaping holes left building facades and roofing open to the elements. Damage and debris were strewn indiscriminately, seemingly everywhere.
His lens focuses on the damage in downtown Napa to historic structures including the Franklin Main Post Office, Alexandria Hotel Annex, Sam Kee Laundry, Goodman Library, Napa County Courthouse, First United Methodist and Presbyterian Churches, Winship-Smernes Building, Napa Law Center, First National Bank, Napa Firefighter’s Museum and numerous downtown commercial businesses. The edition provides background on some of the architecture and construction dates.
While Napa suffered the worst of the damage, there was also significant impairment about 17 miles south in downtown Vallejo and Mare Island, a former naval shipyard. Thirteen Victorian officer’s mansions on Walnut Street suffered diverse internal and external damage. Each shared the fate of detached chimneys littering their front lawns due to unreinforced masonry. Severed water mains caused significant flooding to the U.S. Forest Service and Touro University building complexes located on the southwest sector of Mare Island. Many downtown Vallejo commercial buildings suffered moderate damage as several commercial buildings were temporarily closed for clean up and inspection.