Timeline of Slatington History


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10 August 1884


At about 15 minutes past 2 o’clock, Sunday afternoon, a series of quiverings lasting two or three seconds were felt by nearly every one in this community and without scarcely any interruption. It was at first attributed to the same cause. Every one thought someone was “moving heavy furniture in the next room.” In some instances people rushed from their homes into the streets to ascertain what the trouble was but no one could give a definite explanation. A few thought of an earthquake, while others attributed the shock to an explosion of some powder mill in Luzerne county; some by an exploding boiler and others by dynamite. The suppositions were numerous. It finally grew to be the accepted belief that an earthquake, the first in forty years, had visited this section of the country, and so it proved when we learned from dispatches that the shock had been felt from Maine to Ohio. The sensations were those of violent quiverings of the building in which one sat. The motion was so great as to cause dishes to rattle, chandeliers to quiver and vibrate, windows to shake and houses to appear to be toppling. Nervous people were especially alarmed, while those who were fond of sensations found plenty upon which to talk and tell about. Shortly after the occurrence the eye could not look in any direction on any street bot what it would rest on knots of people on the sidewalks, scores of heads protruding from windows, showing that every one was fully aroused by the strange experience. The shock was very distinct all over town. In some buildings especially in Upper Slatington, it appears to have been greater than in others.

This is the first time that our people, if their recollections serve them faithfully, have felt earthquake's shocks. We find from old records that at 8 o'clock, on the morning of April 25th, 1772, a very distinct shock was felt throughout the provinces of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. At 11 o'clock on the night of March 22, 1758, there was another shook, and the waters of the Delaware rose over two feet. On December 7, 1731, a violent shock occurred, accompanied by thunder and lighting. It was on that day (Sunday) that John Penn arrived at Philadelphia, landing at High (now Market) street wharf. The people felt superstitious when the earthquake happened, as they considered it a bad omen of his future administration as Governor. In October 1727, a smart shock was felt in Philadelphia, New York and Boston; chinaware being shaken from shelves and clocks were set to running. This is the earliest recorded date of an earthquake shock in Pennsylvania the great earthquake of 1755, which destroyed 60,000 lives at Lisbon, Portugal, produced decided tidal disturbances in Philadelphia and other cities.

Source: The Slatington News, 13 August 1884