Silver Plume, CO Snowslide, Feb 1899

TWO MIGHTY AVALANCHES SWEEP DOWN.

COMBINE INTO ONE WHICH CARRIES AWAY BUILDINGS AND PEOPLE.

BENEATH THE GREAT MASS OF SNOW AND DEBRIS A DOZEN OR MORE PERSONS ARE BURIED.

Special Dispatch to The Call.
Denver, Colo., Feb. 12, -- A special to the Republican from Silver Plume, Colo., says:
Two mighty avalanches, combining into one, swept down Cherokee Gulch at 8 o'clock this morning, carrying away a dozen or more mine buildings, cabins and machinery, and causing great loss of life and damage to mine property. How many dead bodies lie in this great mass of snow and debris will not be known before spring. Eight dead bodies are now at the morgue, two more persons are known to be lost, and three have been taken out alive. The rescuing party has only penetrated about fifteen feet into the mass of snow and wreckage piled up at the foot of the gulch to the depth of seventy-five feet.
The dead are:
DOMINICK DESTAFNO, his wife and two children, a boy aged 5 and a girl aged 2.
JOSEPH TONDENA.
PETER TONDENA.
JOHN TONDENA.
JEROME GUANANZI.
JOHN BIETTO.
ENRICO NAVARIA.
Injured:
TONY NEGRETTO, arm broken, otherwise injured.
JOSEPH COCONO, head and body bruised.
TONY MALINO, leg broken.
The worst has not come. Only about a third of the enormous drift piled upon the mountain broke away. A drift about a hundred feet in height still clings to the mountain side, and should it become loosened the upper end of the town is in danger of destruction. The slide today started in what is known as Carry City Gulch. It swept over the Pelican Mine's tunnel house, carrying away the mine dumps and buildings and filling the entire valley.
As this slide reached the main gulch the snow in Swallow Hen Gulch on the opposite mountain broke away and rushed down to Cherokee Gulch. Here the two avalanches met and continued their course toward the town.
Just back of Silver Plume, in the main gulch, was a settlement of Italian miners. Their cabins were directly in the path of destruction and were crushed like eggshells. Trees were torn up by the roots and gigantic boulders carried away like pebbles.
A turn in the gulch just as it opens on the town checked the slide, and it now stands threatening destruction to at least a portion of this camp should the remainder of the snow on the mountain sides start to fall. Every available man from Silver Plume and Georgetown is now digging for the bodies of the missing.

San Francisco Call California 1899-02-13