Alton, IL Tornado, May 1873

Still another terrific tornado, or rather cyclone, was that of May, 1873. At Alton the famed funnel shaped cloud swept across the river from the south, passed between the Topping store and Farber’s mill (now the Stanard mill) -- the lot between being vacant and; by creating a vacuum, caused the east wall of the mill to fall outward from the basement to the roof of a three story building. The wall was of brick and three feet thick. The front wall of Basse’s mill on Front street was also blown in. The fourth story of the Armory Hall building, corner of Third and Piasa streets, was torn off. The cyclone then swept southeast and took the flagstaff and chimneys off the City Hall, then passed diagonally across the street and crushed a two-story brick, northeast corner of Market and Second streets, leaving not one brick upon another; then rising higher took off the chimneys of the three story brick adjoining, occupied by Dr. Haskell’s office; next, moving northeast and still rising clipped the chimneys off the Ursuline Academy and disappeared in the higher altitude. The freaks of these cyclones are curious; for instance, the fourth story of the Armory Hall was blown off for the second time in this disaster, the first being destroyed in the great tornado of 1860.

Centennial history of Madison County, Illinois, and its people, 1812 to 1912, 1914, page 220.  Use this Free trial to search the book for your ancestors.