VIEW-2337 | Rock slide, Quebec City, QC, about 1890

Rock slide, Quebec City, QC, about 1890
Wm. Notman & Son
About 1890, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Cityscape (3948) , Photograph (77678) , streetscape (1737)
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Keys to History

This 1890 rockslide was not the first to occur below Cap Diamant in Quebec City. In 1841, 32 people lost their lives in similar events, and in 1852, seven people were killed by a rockslide on Champlain Street. But the worst such disaster happened on September 19, 1889.

That evening, a massive slab of rock fell away from the face of Cap Diamant and plummeted 91 metres to crush houses on Champlain Street. Police, firefighters and military personnel were dispatched to the site to search for survivors. In all, nearly 50 people perished in this disaster, many of them children.

Source : Disasters and Calamities [Web tour], by Nathalie Lampron (see Links)

  • What

    Torrential rains and repeated periods of rapid freezes and thaws increase the risk of rockslides by expanding the crevices in the rock.

  • Where

    Champlain Street runs beside a steep cliff of bare rock, weakened in spots by long-ago mining.

  • When

    On his 1613 map, Samuel de Champlain named the headland overlooking Quebec City "Mont du Gas." The name "Cap Diamant," originally used for only the western area, became the promontory's official designation in 1925.

  • Who

    In 1889, 28 families were living in the neighbourhood hit by the rockslide. Among the survivors was Joseph Klemp, aged 74, who was trapped under the debris for 108 hours before being rescued safe and sound!