Tacoma, WA Puget Sound Landslide, Dec 1894


Two Acres of Tacoma Slid Into Puget Sound

Shortly after 11 o'clock p.m. Forty-five feet of the south end of the Puget Sound warehouse of the Northern Pacific Railroad on the water front of Tacoma, Wash., including the office of the road, the cattle sheds and the pump house for hydraulic work of filling in tide lands, sink into the bay. Just what caused the disaster is a mystery which no one has as yet explained. JOHN HANSEN, a watchman, was in the pump house, and he was drowned. Close by to the south was the boat house of H. B. ALGER, built partly on made land and partly on piles. This turned completely over. A family of six persons were asleep in the boat house at the time. All were rescued except a fifteen-year-old girl named EMMA STUBBS, who is missing.

At an early hour the land seemed to be still slowly slipping into the bay. What appeared to be a tidal wave was observed by Sergeant HARRIS at Old Town, more than a mile away. Several ships parted their cables, but were secured before sustaining any damage. The strip of land which slid into the bay was from 250 to 300 yards long and from sixty to seventy feet wide.

The cave-in of the Northern Pacific Railway's water front property is found later to be much more disastrous and attended with more loss of life than was at first supposed. The length of the strip which caved in is about 1400 feet, and the damage done extends back in places 100 feet.

Many of the boats served as sleeping apartments for their owners, and for this reason it was thought several lives had been lost besides those of HANSON, the watchman, and EMMA STUBBS, fifteen years old, the stepdaughter of H. B. ALGER.

The damage to property will be over $50,000. Much freight was standing on the wharves and stored in the warehouse which collapsed.

In the Northern Pacific freight office which went down was a safe containing $14,000.

The bodies of Watchman JOHN HANSEN and EMMA STUBBS have been recovered. The harbor is strewn with wreckage. Three thousand cases of canned salmon and thirty bails of grain sacks are all the freight that went down. About two acres of land have slid into the Sound.

The Cranbury Press New Jersey 1894-12-07