There was no immediate word on how the old Roland Park Water Tower, a crumbling, 80-foot-tall community icon, had fared. But the Rotunda mall, also an old building, appeared to be all right, said Chris Bell, a senior vice president for the mall's owner, New Jersey-based Hekemian & Co.
Jennifer Erickson, president of the Charles Village Civic Association, reported nothing amiss there. But the earthquake made her life at work downtown an adventure, she said, noting that she works on the 19th floor of the M&T Bank building between Light and Charles Street and had to walk down 19 flights of stairs to evacuate the building temporarily.
Baltimoreans uninitiated in the feeling of an earthquake described it in various ways. For Erickson, "It felt like jumping on a trampoline."
Maggie Blackstone, 15, of Roland Park, was home when the quake hit and said it felt like riding a roller coaster — "an old wooden one."
Her sister, Becky, also 15, was attending a Latin camp at Roland Park Country School, and the students were told to get under their desks. She described the feeling as being like "a moving floor."
"We thought a huge truck must have hit the building," said Leslie Wietscher, an aide to 4th District City Councilman Bill Henry, who was in a staff meeting with her boss at his district office on York Road when the quake struck.
Joshua Berlow, of York Courts in Guilford, said his neighbor had been doing construction work next door.
"I thought it was the guy using power tools," said Berlow, 51, a real estate agent. "I asked him, 'Are you doing that?' He said, 'Uh, no.'"
Then there were those like Cindy Leahy, president of the Keswick Improvement Association and an aide to 14th District City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke. Leahy said she and Clarke were riding in a van during a tour of transportation projects in the district.
"We never heard it or felt it," Leahy said.
Friends School spokeswoman Heidi Blalock said her daughter, Annie, was in a large group of middle-schoolers who volunteered at the CARES pantry in Govans on Tuesday. Blalock said Annie, a rising eighth- grader, told her that all the students felt the quake except her, because in her words, "I was so focused on my work."
Magnet and Alaska, two polar bears at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, apparently didn't feel or hear the quake, either. They were sleeping contentedly in 3,000 pounds of "snow" that was trucked in from the Mount Pleasant Ice Rink for the zoo's Beat the Heat Day. And they never moved, even as the quake hit just as a Channel 13 news crew was preparing to report on the snow day, according to zoo spokeswoman Jane Ballentine, who was with the crew at the time.
Ironically, Ballentine, of Roland Park, said she always braces for a possible earthquake when she visits her brother in San Francisco.
"But it's never happened," she said.