Community reflects on the Mineral earthquake, 10 years later


Emion Byers

Superintendent Doug Straley gives speech to crowd at the ten year anniversary of the August 23, 2011 earthquake.

Maddie Wilson, Reporter/Photographer

Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011, students at Louisa County High School scrambled when the unexpected trembling shook the town of Mineral at 1:51 p.m. The 5.8 magnitude earthquake left LCHS in shambles.
Damage to the building included ceiling tiles falling, lights dangling and walls cracking, as scientists concluded that it was one of the most felt quakes that had stretched as far as Florida, Arkansas and even Canada. Additionally, The Washington Monument was closed for three years because of the cracks at the top of the structure.
“It was nothing short of a miracle that lives were not lost, and no serious injuries occurred that day,” said Louisa County superintendent, Doug Straley.
Due to the wreckage, high school students attended classes on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays at Louisa County Middle School, sharing space with LCMS students. For the remainder of the first semester, high schoolers switched to modular buildings in the parking lot of the high school that had been demolished.
“I enjoyed being able to walk outside between classes, rather than staying inside all day,” said freshman at the time, and current teacher, Kristin Watkins.
In 2012, the community came together to win a free concert from Alan Jackson with over 31,000 votes. The country singer held the concert in Mineral, raising over $150,000 to rebuild the auditorium which became The Alan Jackson Theatre.
In August of 2015, after four years of rebuilding, the new Louisa County High School opened for the 2015-2016 school year. Students began the school year in a $54 million state-of-the-art facility.
In honor of the 10 year anniversary, a ceremony was held Aug. 23. 2021 with guest speakers of Superintendent Straley, Louisa County Administrator Christian Goodwin and LCHS senior Alexis Downey. The ceremony concluded with the planting of a tree in remembrance of all that Louisa overcame as “one family” in 2011.
“‘Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work that you already did,’” Goodwin said, quoting former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. “And if that doesn’t describe what happened in this county after the earthquake, I don’t know what does.”