Posted By Bill Payer on Nov 27, 2020 | 0 comments

This time the damage was caused by a massive earthquake on August 31, 1886. More than 60 people died and the property damage was massive.

According to Wikipedia, “The shock was felt as far away as Boston, Massachusetts, to the north, Chicago, Illinois, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to the northwest, as far as New Orleans, Louisiana, to the west, as far as Cuba to the south, and as far as Bermuda to the east.[3] It was so severe that outside the immediate area, there was speculation that the Florida peninsula had broken away from North America.[4]

It is a heavily studied example of an intraplate earthquake and is believed to have occurred on faults formed during the break-up of Pangaea. Similar faults are found all along the east coast of North America. It is thought that such ancient faults remain active from forces exerted on them by present-day motions of the North American Plate. The exact mechanisms of intraplate earthquakes are a subject of much ongoing research.

Sand boils were common throughout the affected area due to soil liquefaction. Aftershocks continued to be felt for weeks after the event[4] and minor earthquake activity that still continues in the area today may be a continuation of aftershocks. There were at least 60 fatalities.

One of many “earthquake bolts” found throughout period houses in Charleston


Within the city almost all of the buildings sustained damage and most had to be torn down and rebuilt. Wires were cut and the railroad tracks were torn apart, cutting residents off from the outside world and vice versa. The damage was assessed to be between $5 million and $6 million.

Major damage occurred as far away as Tybee Island, Georgia, (more than 60 miles away) and structural damage was reported several hundred miles from Charleston, (including central Alabama, central Ohio, eastern Kentucky, southern Virginia and western West Virginia).”


On this date in history….November 27, 1886 a report on the damage was released. The Stockdell Report released detailed information about 8,000 damaged Charleston structures from the earthquake. The report would help form the basis of which buildings could be repaired and which were beyond restoration.

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