Earthquake strikes Puget Sound region on June 29, 1869.

  • By Greg Lange
  • Posted 8/01/2000
  • Essay 2302
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On June 29, 1869, just before 8 p.m., the Puget Sound region had an earthquake that was felt from Astoria, Oregon, to San Juan Island and perhaps all the way to Victoria, British Columbia. At Seattle the earthquake is described by the Portland Oregonian as "much heavier than any before known in this vicinity."

Dishes Thrown

The Oregonian continued, "All the buildings on a line through the center of town, commencing at the Occidental Hotel and terminating at Messrs. Atkins and Shundy's [Shoudy's] wharf, were quite perceptibly shaken." The quake was strong enough to cause the citizenry to rush from their dwellings into the streets. The main damage in Seattle was dishes thrown from shelves. The earthquake, which occurred between 7:50 and 7:55, was described as severe in Olympia and Astoria, Oregon. An aftershock followed about four hours later.

A week before, on June 22, 1869, just before 5 a.m., Seattle and Olympia felt an earthquake. According to the June 29, 1869 Victoria, British Columbia Daily British Colonist, the quake in Olympia "terrified all who are in the least inclined to timidity."


Ruth Ludwin, "June 1869 Puget Sound Earthquakes," in Ruth Ludwin and A. I. Quamar, A Database Catalog of Cascadia Earthquakes (Reston: U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior, 2000) Appendix 3 ( HIST_CAT/Special/1869.html). Newspaper quotations were taken from the website.

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