Last house

Last House Standing at Royal Gardens

The top aerial photograph shows what the Royal Garden subdivision looked like on February 19, 1977. The grid-like pattern was a network of roads that had been etched into the forested landscape. Digital Globe’s Woldview-2 satellite acquired the second image on May 15, 2011. By then, lava had destroyed the majority of the subdivision, but a few areas remained unscathed.

Luck had spared Jack Thompson’s house numerous times since the eruption began, but in 2012 his luck finally ran out. Fast-moving lava erupting from the Pu‘u O‘o crater—6 kilometers (4 miles) uphill—finally overran the house on March 2, 2012. Thompson and a photographer who happened to be staying with him evacuated via helicopter just a few hours before lava consumed his property.


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