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December 23, 1862: San Francisco

December 23, 2012
Trauma 05

Location set for Trauma, an NBC series, in Justin Herman Plaza; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

[This] morning, December 23, at half-past five, the city was visited by the severest earthquake that has been felt for some seven years. To say that houses rocked like ships in a tempest would be putting it on too thick, but they did pitch about in an uncomfortable way. The sensation is so peculiar that I cannot describe it. Three shocks followed in quick succession, the whole lasting not over six or eight seconds. The first awakened me, and with it came a slight nausea. The bed seemed lifted, then it shook, and the house rocked, not as if jarred by the wind but as if heaved on some mighty wave, which caused everything to tremble as it was being heaved. A few feminine screams were heard in other parts of the house. I got up and noted the time, but it was an hour before I could sleep again. No serious damage was done—we hear of walls cracked, plastering shaken down, clocks stopped in many houses, furniture thrown down, and such things—nothing more. These mysterious quakings and throes of Mother Earth affected me as no other phenomenon of nature ever did.

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