Alton, IL Tornado, Jun 1860 - Destructive Tornado


The most destructive tornado which ever devastated the county was that which struck Alton on Saturday evening, June 2, 1860. The Alton Courier of June 4th, says, in recounting it: "In twenty minutes it destroyed property to the value of many thousand dollars. No lives, however, were lost and but few persons injured. The German Catholic church, at the corner of Henry and Third streets and built last year at a cost of $9,000, is almost a complete wreck, the basement and part of the upper front wall alone standing. The steeple was blown off the Episcopal church. It is said the church is almost a total loss, the walls being much sprung and cracked. The church cost about $12,000. The organ is ruined. The steeple was blown from the Methodist church. The roof was also considerably injured by the fall. Loss $3,000. The house of D. Simms, just south of the church, was completely crushed by the falling steeple. It was worth $1,800. No loss in the city is commented on with more and warmer expressions of sympathy than that of the Democrat office. The building, presses, engine, stock and all are a complete wreck. The entire loss must be at least $8,000. Over one hundred houses throughout the city were damaged, and the total loss of property is estimated at $200,000."

Centennial history of Madison County, Illinois, and its people, 1812 to 1912; 1914, pages 218-220