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Call for submissions: Your keepsakes and memories of the Mount St. Helens eruption for 40th anniversary exhibit

Posted on November 19, 2019 at 6:00 am

The May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington. PHOTO BY USGS

The Mount St. Helens eruption on May 18, 1980, resulted in the deaths of 57 people and the destruction of over 212 square miles of land and ecosystems surrounding the stratovolcano in Skamania County.

In eastern Washington and the Spokane area, residents experienced the ash clouds and particulates in the air, the ash covering the ground, and cars and other vehicles coughing to a stop because their engines were gummed up with ash.

For the 40th anniversary of the eruption, our libraries are displaying items and sharing stories related to the eruption of Mount St. Helens.

And we need your help!

Your Mount St. Helens memorabilia, pictures, and stories could be included in our exhibit occurring throughout the month of May 2020.

Where were you when the ash from the Mount St. Helens eruption drifted through the sky and covered the hills, trees, buildings, and streets throughout Spokane County?

Stacey Goddard, public services manager, was 12 years old at the time and recalls that Sunday afternoon clearly. Her family was watching TV when the sky suddenly went dark.

She thought a storm was rolling in, but an emergency news broadcast broke in and informed the public of the eruption and the dangers of going outside and breathing the ash.

Schools were closed for the week. Stacey recalls walking to the grocery store with her family, wearing one of the safety face masks that her dad had for home improvement projects.

“The streets were eerily quiet—surreal. No one was driving, and very few people were outside,” Goddard recalls.


What story could you share about your experience of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens?

The Library District would like to include your stories, memories, and mementos in the May 2020 exhibit.

We are accepting items and stories now through March 15, 2020.

To be included, you can bring your items to one of the District libraries with your name, contact information, a description, and the personal significance of the items.

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