1987 Whittier Narrows Earthquake


A Cal State Fullerton International Business student, Emily Nuttmann, 22, takes advantage of a beautiful, sunny Tuesday afternoon reading next to a replica of Michelangelo’s “David”. The “Fallen Monument” toppled during the October 1st 1987, Whittier Narrows earthquake, and was donated in separate broken pieces by Forest Lawn Memorial Parks.

Fallen David

Al Schaben

March 10, 1998, Fullerton, CA

The Whitter Narrows earthquake took place at 7:42am on October 1, 1987 in the San Gabriel Valley with a 5.9 magnitude and an epicenter located near Whitter, CA. The Whitter fault line, part of the larger Puente Hills fault located just west of downtown Los Angeles, caused the 20-second earthquake, the largest since the Sylmar-San Fernando earthquake of 1971. The Whitter Narrows quake resulted in several days of aftershocks, eight deaths, and over 350 million dollars in damage. The 13 ½ foot replica of Michelangelo’s “David” was moved from its original place in the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Cyprus to the campus of California State University, Fullerton after Studio Art Professor Don Lagerberg saw the fallen statue in a newspaper and had the idea of displaying the broken sculpture on campus. Installed as a permanent public art piece near the campus library, Lagerberg hoped the symbolism of the “fallen hero” would help inspire students to embrace challenges.  

Mandatory Credit: Al Schaben/ The Los Angeles Times
LA Times staff writer: Cathy Curtis, 7/15/1989/ Whitter Daily News writer: Miriam Velasquez, 9/27/2017