Shock in the Holy City: The Charleston Earthquake of 1886

On August 31, 1886, around 9:50 p.m. a powerful earthquake shook Charleston, South Carolina. The earthquake is estimated to have been between 6.6 and 7.3 on the Richter scale and is one of the most powerful and costly earthquakes to hit the southeastern United States. This earthquake was reported from distant places such as Boston, Massachusetts; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Chicago, Illinois; Cuba; and Bermuda.

27 people died on the night of the quake, with 56 more earthquake-related deaths recorded between September and October.  


Images are from the Margaretta Childs Archives at Historic Charleston Foundation, the Library of Congress, the U.S. Geological Survey Photographic Library, and the Diocese of Charleston Office of Archives and Records Management.