It was on this day in 1886 that the Big Quake of '86 occurred in Charleston, SC. There's a nice write-up at the History Channel's website.
I have to wonder what went through their minds...only 21 years since the end of the Civil War, and the folks here weren't exactly living it up. Economic conditions in Charleston never really began to recover until WWII (see, I told you it was an important time!). So then this huge quake hits. It must have been bewildering, to say the least. And destructive. They estimate the number of chimneys that fell to be around 14,000. When you think about the fact that these chimneys weren't just recreational, but vital to cooking and heating, you get an idea of the mess they were in. You can still see evidence of that long ago quake in areas around Charleston--among them ruins of grand houses that were damaged beyond their ability (financial or otherwise) to repair.
I wonder if anyone blamed the US government for the quake, for not warning the residents fast enough, for racial profiling (or it could have been regional profiling in this case), or for moving too slowly in supplying assistance. I wonder if, on the subsequent anniversaries of the quake, the survivors joined together to criticize the current administration and reaffirm their status as victims. Or did they rather give thanks for being alive, continue to rebuild, and look to the future? I wonder if they could have foreseen what Charleston is now and how the lack of wherewithal that plagued the area for so long has helped contribute to Charleston's status as an historical treasure of old homes, old buildings and quaint cobblestone streets. (Somehow I doubt it! I think they probably hated those cobblestone streets as much as I do!)
So that's your history lesson for today. Now go knit something!