Although earthquakes are rare in the Midwest, St. Joseph experienced several in the last half of the 19th century. The book History of Buchanan County and St. Joseph recounted one early earthquake.
St. Joseph was violently shaken by an earthquake on April 24, 1867. The shock occurred at 2:35 o'clock in the afternoon. At first there was an ominous rumbling sound, then a rocking movement from east to west and west to east, which continued for 20 seconds. The alarmed populace sought the streets and there was intense excitement. The public school buildings shook, the plastering cracked, huge seams being observed in the walls; the children screamed and the teachers, being bewildered and perplexed, dismissed the frightened pupils and hastened to their homes. Never before was there such consternation in the city. In a few seconds the air was as calm, the earth as tranquil, the face of nature as placid and everything as harmonious as though nothing unusual had occurred. No damage was done to property.