A Leap Just in Time
I've been a pretty tough old bird, but I wouldn’t want to go through that again! Grace Miller
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 Miller’s 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
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 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 Miller’s 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.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Disasters • Women. A significant historical date for this entry is August 17, 1959.
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. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 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);
Credits. This page was last revised on April 16, 2018. It was originally submitted on February 17, 2018, by Martin Schrattenholzer of Renton, Washington. This page has been viewed 344 times since then and 67 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on February 17, 2018, by Martin Schrattenholzer of Renton, Washington. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.