The Morning of June,26 1953, dawned clear and hot just like any other summer day ,but something was different.As Carolyn Jenkins came to work at the Engel Store, she was unable to open the door .The postman came along and opened .In a short time Hazel Engel came down from her apartment upstairs and they noticed and talked about plaster sifting down.Wayne and Lavone Freeland were quite concerned about an excessive amount of plaster sifting on the west wall of their store.This continued all morning Hazel ,Carolyn and Lavonne carried many of the small items from the west wall shelves to the Engel Store.
Noon came and Carolyn went to lunch. Shortly after she returned the building collapsed at 1:20 P.M. Karl Engel was upstairs in their apartment and walked down the back stairs unharmed,Hazel and Lavonne were blown out into the street.Betty Kisner was in the Engel building about midway back and as she heard the wall crack, she ran to the front door.As the crash so came,it pushed her out.She was shocked and first went to a car to sit down then took out for home.The fire whistle blew ;her mother and Grandmother ,Mrs. Wright heard about the crash so came to town to find Betty .No one knew where Betty was ,but Mrs. Blanche Starr was on the street and had seen Betty heading for home.All covered with dust it was difficult to tell if she were black or white.
Carolyn was caught inside the Freeland Store with bricks,plaster and a beam falling across her pinning her down and cutting her leg.Her glass were about two feet from her,but she could not reach them because she was pinned down.Later Carl Hankins waded through the debris and got them for her.
Wayne Freeland was caught under the stairway and unharmed .He said he heard the west wall crack and give,and ran to the east side of his store.Somehow he got under the stairway and after the crash,he thought he was doomed . He didn't know how he could get as there was so much dust and debris he couldn't see. Soon Carolyn began to call for help. He managed to get to her and lift the beam from her and free her. Men made a saddle and carried her to Dr. Boyd's Clinic, but she was hurt enough to require hospitalization. Carolyn and Hazel were taken by ambulance to the Nevada City Hospital. Maurine Crossland Linard had a beauty shop upstairs over the Engel Store. When the building upstairs over the Engel Store collapsed, the beauty shop just dropped down. Billie Brooks Ferguson was getting a permanent and had all the curlers onher head fastened to the machine.
Dr. Claude Allen had an office upstairs over the bank. He had just gone out on a call. Mrs. Inez Vodry, his receptionist, had some laboratory work and had just returned from the beauty shop where she had borrowed a match. She had just lighted the gas when the crash occurred. She remained right there in the office.
It all happened so fast. The fire alarm was sounded and almost immediately the firemen came. Orben smith came in and told Mrs. Vodry to leave. The stairway had remained but all was covered with laths and plaster, and everyone was dirty from plaster. Mrs. Vodry went home, cleaned up, changed her clothes, and came back to town. She said, "That's where the excitement was."
Orben Smith tied a rope around his waist but used a slip knot. As the men let him down to rescue Billie the rope tightened and was quite uncomfortable.
Dr. Allen and Mrs. Vodry continued to keep his office open until the new office on south Sixth Street was ready for him to move into.
Dr. Halke had a dentist office over the bank. Mr. Hall was in the dentist's chair. when the building fell, he left with the dentist's towel still fastened around his neck.
The Engels Store opened in the building across the street where Terry Wheatley is now located. They remained there until their original buildings could be rebuilt. The Engel's and Freeland's stores reopened in their new buildings upon completion of the structures.
This Picture below come's from (Tom Perry)