If you have a particular interest in the history of Northwest earthquakes, you’ve probably heard of the North Cascades earthquake of 1872. However, a sequel on November 23, 1873 that registered about a 6.8 is less known. The epicenter is believed to have been inland, near the Oregon-California border, with damage centered on the Crescent City area. Read about the quake here. Two excerpts, one from the Crescent City Courier:
Happy camp was visited last night at quarter to nine by a violent shock of an earthquake, which is something unusual, as the oldest resident does not recollect of anything of that kind happening before. The shock lasted about 25 seconds and the rumbling noise accompanying the shock . . . .
The wooden buildings rocked to and fro very much, and the tin pails hung up in Messers. Camp & Co’s brick store swung backwards and forwards at an angle of nearly 45 degrees with the reeling for upwards of ten minutes after the shock. Messer’s Camp & Store is but one storey high and stoutly built or it would undoubtedly have fallen to the ground.
M. Cuddihy, Esq. says he was in San Francisco at one of what they call one of their heaviest shocks and says it did not compare with his at happy Camp for violence. He says, and everybody believes if a building here had been four or even three stories high built of brick or stone it certainly could not have withstood the shock, and must have fallen. It is said that there are several small cracks in Mr. Camp’s building, but we believe they are old cracks. We do not know of any other damage. The dogs howled and the horses got frightened in the fields, and ran at a fearful speed for a while, and the citizens looked pale and thunderstruck or rather earthquake struck. Some people here had never experienced an earthquake before, and will be perfectly satisfied if they never experienced another. I was in the upper story of M. Cuddahy’s Hotel and the building appeared to move to and fro about a foot. . . .
(A letter) From Port Orford: “The quiet of our town was somewhat disturbed last evening at 9 o’clock, by a terrible earthquake, the first ever felt in this section. A rotary shock … which lasted fully a minute. No noise accompanied it, not one was hurt, no building thrown down but had we brick structures in our town, not a building would have been standing this morning. I experienced the heavy shake of 1868 in San Francisco, which was nothing to be compared with the one here last evening. Later as people came into town this morning, we hear that it was felt about the same in all quarters within the distance of 10 miles from here.
A loud noise was heard off at sea west of Cape Blanco. It appeared like the rush and upheaving of the waters; in fact the water was seen to rise and fall, boiling and hissing. This took place, or was noticed immediately after the shock, and the people in that vicinity were making preparations for climbing a tree, or getting for higher ground. No tidal wave followed, and nothing unusual noticed on the beach. No signs of higher water. Light house and Tower still standing at this time unable to learn if any damage was done to either. –Yours truly, J.B. Tichenor —
N.B. Mr Deadmond who resides one mile north of here, directly on the seacoast says that he heard a noise off to the westward loud as a report of a hundred cannon, and that he noticed indications on the beach of very high water mosses and sand being thrown up to the highest water marks. Light House but little damaged, plastering and putty started in many places. Vibrations in tower at least six inches.”
Lt. Colonel Frank Wheaton, stationed at Fort Klamath, wrote in a letter: “Severe shock of Earthquake was felt at this Post, the duration of the phenomena was for nearly two and a one half minutes, hats were shaken from pegs, dishes rattled and shook on their shelves, stovepipes were disjointed, open doors swung to and fro on their hinges, the apparent undulations were so marked and serious that people here were seized with giddiness from it very difficult to stand erect, my floor seemed to be moving like the deck of a ship at sea influenced by a ground swell. I can learn of no serious damage done or in this vicinity by the shock of Earthquake reported.”