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West Yellowstone in Gallatin County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
 

A Leap Just in Time

 
 
A Leap Just in Time Marker image. Click for full size.
By Martin Schrattenholzer, August 27, 2017
1. A Leap Just in Time Marker
Inscription.
I've been a pretty tough old bird, but I wouldnít want to go through that again! Grace Miller
August 1959

Survival Tactics

Seventy-something-year-old Grace Miller was a self-professed “tough old bird.” When she found herself boating past her submerged home, which was sunk to the roofline in Hebgen lake, she responded to the situation with humor. “I hope it stays upright,”she quipped, “my teeth are still on the kitchen counter. Right next to the sink.”

Prior to the Disaster

Prior to the Hebgen Lake Earthquake, Grace Millerís small lakeside home sat up the hillside from here---along the original lakeside. Miller ran the Hilgard Lodge---renting cabins and boats to vacationers. On the night of August 17,1959, she woke with a strange feeling she needed to get out of the house, immediately. When she and her malemute dog, Sandy, reached the door, she found it jammed shut.

Strengthened by adrenaline, she kicked the door open---only to find a five-foot gap between the stoop and the shore. As she and her dog leaped, the house dropped away behind them, sinking into the lake.

Now homeless and afoot, with the earth trembling all around, she knew she had to get to higher ground. She and Sandy headed cross-country. The dog stayed close to Miller, several

A Leap Just in Time Marker image. Click for full size.
By Martin Schrattenholzer, August 27, 2017
2. A Leap Just in Time Marker
times stopping her before she fell into crevices. They arrived at the Kirkwood Ranch, about a mile and a half away, in the early hours of the next morning.

Slides and Seiches

Grace Millerís house (and other buildings at this site) were destroyed by the 20-foot seiches (pronounced saysh), waves that rolled back and forth across the lake after the earthquake. These powerful water surges, combined with the destabilization of the ground, also caused a landslide along the shore. The slide was 750 feet long, 200 feet wide, and dumped 1/3 million cubic yards of debris into the lake---taking a large chunk of Highway 287 with it.

 
Location. 44° 51.431′ N, 111° 19.591′ W. Marker is in West Yellowstone, Montana, in Gallatin County. Marker can be reached from Lake Hebgen Road (U.S. 287) 12 miles west of U.S. 191. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: West Yellowstone MT 59758, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Something is terribly wrong (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Lake that Tilted (about 600 feet away); Sleep Interrupted (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Night the Earth Cracked (approx. 1.3 miles away); The Nightís Peace Was Shattered (approx. 7.7 miles away); Earthquake Lake Geologic Area (approx. 7.7 miles away); Geologists' Dream (approx. 7.7 miles away); Hebgen Lake and Quake Lake (approx. 8.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in West Yellowstone.
 
Categories. DisastersWomen

 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 16, 2018. This page originally submitted on February 17, 2018, by Martin Schrattenholzer of Renton, Washington. This page has been viewed 103 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 17, 2018, by Martin Schrattenholzer of Renton, Washington. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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