Disasters timeline

  • Great Train Wreck of 1856

    At the Wissahickon station another train, the Aramingo, engineered by William Vanstavoren, waited for the excursion to pass on the single track... Read more

  • Last Island Hurricane

    The Last Island hurricane of 1856 was an intense Atlantic hurricane that destroyed Last Island in southern Louisiana. The first tropical cyclone,... Read more

  • Sinking of the SS Central America

    SS Central America, sometimes called the Ship of Gold, was a 280-foot (85 m) sidewheel steamer that operated between Central America and the... Read more

  • Wreck of the SS Admella

    The wreck of the SS Admella in the early hours of August 6th 1859 was only the beginning of a horrific week for survivors who remained on board, in... Read more

  • Pemberton Mill Collapse

    What is likely the worst industrial accident in Massachusetts history occurred on January 10, 1860. A large mill located in Lawrence collapsed... Read more

  • SS Lady Elgin Sinks in Lake Michigan

    The Lady Elgin was a luxury steamship that sank in Lake Michigan on the stormy night of September 8, 1860. Returning late from Chicago to Milwaukee... Read more

  • Sinking of HMS Orpheus

    Orpheus left Sydney, Australia, on 31 January 1863. Her approach to Manukau Harbour on 7 February ran near Whatipu beach, through a series of... Read more

  • Church of the Company Fire

    The Church of the Company Fire (December 8, 1863) is the largest fire to have ever affected the city of Santiago, Chile. Between 2,000 and 3,000... Read more

  • Great Sheffield Flood

    The Great Sheffield Flood, also known as the Great Inundation, was a flood that devastated parts of Sheffield, England, on 11 March 1864, when the... Read more

  • St-Hilare Train Disaster

    Canada's deadliest wreck occurred at St-Hilaire, Québec, at 1:10 AM on 29 June 1864. A Grand Trunk train with 458 passengers, most of them newly... Read more

  • Shohola Train Wreck

    The Great Shohola train wreck occurred on July 15, 1864 during the American Civil War on the broad gauge Erie Railroad 1½ miles west of Shohola,... Read more

  • Destruction of the SS Sultana

    It was the worst maritime disaster in U.S. history, more costly than even the April 14, 1912 sinking of the Titanic, when 1,517 people were lost.... Read more

  • Staplehurst Rail Crash

    The Staplehurst rail crash was a railway accident at Staplehurst, Kent, England, which took place on 9 June 1865 and in which ten passengers were... Read more

  • Sinking of the Brother Johnathan

    On July 30, 1865, the ship wrecked on its way to Portland in a terrible windstorm, hitting an uncharted rock near Point St. George, off the coast... Read more

  • The Angola Horror

    The bridge crossing the Big Sister creek is about a quarter of a mile east of the village of Angola. The train to which the accident happened was... Read more

  • Avondale Mine Disaster

    The Avondale Mine Disaster was a massive fire in the Avondale Colliery in Plymouth, Pennsylvania, United States on September 6, 1869. It caused the... Read more

  • Sinking of HMS Captain

    On the night of Sept. 6, 1870, while sailing off Cape Finisterre in a freshening gale, Captain abruptly capsized and sank like a stone. She took... Read more

  • Great Chicago Fire

    The Great Chicago Fire killed approximately 300 people, destroyed over 17,000 structures, and left 100,000 people homeless. Although legend has it... Read more

  • Peshtigo Wisconsin Fire

    On the same day as the Great Chicago Fire, a forest fire driven by strong winds totally consumed Peshtigo along with a dozen other villages,... Read more

  • Lone Pine Earthquake

    The Great Lone Pine earthquake was one of the largest earthquakes to hit California in recorded history. The quake struck on March 26, 1872 and its... Read more

  • Sinking of the RMS Atlantic

    On 20 March 1873 the Atlantic departed on her 19th voyage from Liverpool with 952 people onboard, of whom 835 were passengers. En route, the crew... Read more

  • Wreck of the SS Ville du Havre

    On 15 November 1873, the Ville du Havre sailed from New York with 313 passengers and crew on board, under the command of Captain Marino Surmonte.... Read more

  • Loss of the Cospatrick

    On the night of 17 November 1874, the immigrant ship Cospatrick was in the south Atlantic, several hundred kilometres south-west of Cape Town. The... Read more

  • Wreck of the SS Gothenburg

    She left Port Darwin for Melbourne on the 14th with 88 passengers and a crew of 38, reaching Somerset via Albany Pass, on the 19th. The passengers... Read more

  • Brooklyn Theater Fire

    Miss Kate Claxton reclined on a pallet of straw as she played the part of Louise, the blind girl in the popular melodrama of the times, “The Two... Read more