Rome, GA Tornado, Apr 1921
A hard rain fell soon after the tornado had passed, and continued for several hours. It held up a while, but let in again before midnight. Woodmen and other workers took their axes and set to work repairing the damage, and said some unkind things about frolicsome gusts of wind.
Rome's pet tornado had certainly not behaved like Oliver Herford's "Bashful Earthquake."
Tornadoes are exciting phenomena and always commit freakish and weird acts as well as tragic awl frightening. In the following running story are told incidents as they were heard and discovered by The News during Saturday afternoon:
The worst damage in Rome was in the area bounded by Eighth avenue, the Oostanaula river, head of Coosa and Broad street. Moving toward North Rome, the tornado in this area first struck the rear of the old Hamilton block, occupied by Stamps & Co., and took it off, a lot of brick falling and helping to demolish a shed in the rear of the place. It swept through West First street between the rears of the second Broad street block of wholesale grocery concerns and the Curry-Arrington warehouse, caroming off the rear of the Rome Mercantile Co. and throwing a shower of brick and timbers into the street on a group of a dozen or more mules and wagons parked there by farmers, and carrying down three poles full of heavily-charged electric wires. One of the wires fell across the back of a small gray mule and killed it instantly, while the brick which fell from the rear of the Rome Mercantile Co. buried a pair of mules driven to a wagon by Mose Middleton, a Black's Bluff Road farmer. One of the mules was killed instantly and one was hurt and it was thought it would have to be shot. Mr. Middleton was slightly injured. He heard the storm had swept his home neighborhood, and went down to see.
The electric current was immediately cut off by the Rome Railway & Light Co., thus reducing the danger of broken and depending wires. Police and firemen, the Boy Scouts, American Legion and citizen volunteers rendered first aid and went on duty informally where needed. Linemen and other electrical workers went to , work with a vim to relieve the city from the predicament of no electric power or lights, all having been cut off in the city except the trolley car current. Candles and lamps were used pretty freely for illuminating purposes. The gas plant on West First street, by the way, escaped any damage from the tornado, but an adjoining building had the roof taken off.
After a few hours most of the lights were switched on again, but throughout the night the downtown area of devastation was dotted only with red danger lights. The white way lights on the Oostanaula side of Broad street were dark, and the two picture shows and business establishments in that row did not attempt to keep open last night.
Part of the roof of the Rome Manufacturing company on Second avenue was lifted and the rain began to pour in, so a lot of goods were moved to a warehouse at the rear of the First National Bank building. Although the wind sliced off a layer of brick from the Arrington-Buick building across the street, it bowed before the tall First National structure and swept over the Rome Manufacturing Company, where it also sent down a shower of brick.
The McWilliams Feed and Grocery Co. sign was doubled up at Third avenue and West First street, and one screen door opening outward was torn from its hinges and another partly unhinged. A hogshead was blown from a platform to the middle of the street. A lot of tin was ripped from warehouses in this neighborhood and sent whirling and whistling toward the courthouse. A tin ice can of the Atlantic Ice & Coal Corporation was blown 50 feet to Fourth avenue.
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