Central Illinois Tornado, Jun 1902



Peoria, Ill., June 11 – The double storm that struck Peoria at 10 o'clock last night and again at 2 o'clock this morning was the worst central Illinois has experienced since 1843. Rain fell in torrents and the damage caused by the high winds is inestimable at this time. . .

Lineman Killed.
GEORGE REARDAN, a lineman employed by the electric light company, was instantly killed this morning while repairing the storm damage at Glen Oak park. He was caught by a live wire and died instantly. GEORGE ASHLOCK, another lineman, was seriously burned in attempting to extricate REARDAN from the wire.
The Peoria & Pekin Union round house was blown down shortly after 10 o'clock. In it at the time were eight men, and all escaped without serious injury, but SAMUEL SPENCE, an Iowa Central engineer, who was caught by the falling walls, receiving serious injuries to his back. He is now at the Cottage hospital and is in a very serious condition. Thirteen locomotives, two owned by the Illinois Central, two by the Iowa Central, four by the Toledo, Peoria & Warsaw and five by the Big Four, were almost totally wrecked.
The Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific train which left this city at 11:25 o'clock last night for Chicago ran into a washout just above the city. The engine is buried in sand and mud and the baggage coach turned over. ROBERT ATKINSON, the engineer, was the only person injured.
The roof of the new warehouse at the Corning & Co. distillery was blown off, as was also that of the Clark distillery. The roof of the Harned & Von Maur dry goods store was blown off and damage to the stock of $25,000 was occasioned by water. There was no insurance. Charles Canon & Co., gents furnishings, was wrecked by water. He carried no insurance. Schipper & Block lost considerable on account of water.

People Rescued in Boats.
Shortly after 11 o'clock a report reached the police that the people living in Dry Run, on the Bluff, were in danger of drowning as they had been caught by the flood. Row boats were hauled to the scene at once and the police took twelve people from their homes. They were standing on pianos with the water almost to their necks. Within another hour all would have been lost.
All communication with the outside world was destroyed for over twelve hours and it was almost noon today when a wire was secured between Peoria and Chicago and St. Louis. All street car service was stopped and the fire alarm system was completely knocked out.
A tug boat and a steam launch which have been plying on the river at this point have disappeared since the first storm and it is believed they are now at the bottom of the Peoria lake. Their pilots have not been seen since. The storm was general and extended as far east as Bloomington, where it was even worse than at Peoria.
At Morron, in Taswell county, one man was killed. EDWARD BEEMAN was caught beneath falling timber of MARTIN STOOLER'S barn and was almost instantly killed. Several horses and a number of cattle were killed near there.
Factories throughout the city are completely crippled, as almost every smokestack is down. The stack of the Central railway company, 150 feet in height, was blown down, falling on the roof of the Rhea-Theilans warehouse, damaging it to the extent of $2,000. The entire street railway system was put out of business for several hours, but at noon today operations was partially resumed.

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