Elgin, IL Tornado, Mar 1920 - Cuts Path Through City

Cuts Path Through City

The storm, which swept a path 200 yards wide across the heart of the city, took its greatest toll of life at the Congregational and Baptist churches, where four women were killed and a dozen injured.
The known dead are:
SAM WYRICK, engineer at the state insane asylum.
SAM BEVERLY, actor, Milwaukee.
MRS. ADA BEVERLY, actress, Milwaukee.
The first four were killed when the Congregational Church collapsed.

Services had been completed a few moments before. …Storm struck and the brick edifice collapsed, burying the victims in it wreckage.

MR. and MRS. SAM BEVERLY of Milwaukee were in their dressing room at the Grand theatre preparing for the matinee performance when the stage collapsed. Their presence in the building was forgotten for over two hours. When search finally started the bodies were uncovered. Both apparently had been instantly killed.

The G.W. PECK department store, a three-story brick structure; the Landborg and several of the principal business structures were completely destroyed. They carried no tornado insurance. Fire broke out in three places following the tornado, the flames adding to the terror of thousands who rushed into the streets when houses and stores came tumbling down.

All street car service has been suspended.

The storm struck Elgin from the southwest during a torrential downpour of rain. The windstorm was followed by a terrific hail storm, lasting 15 minutes.

Reports of Looting.

Two reports of looting were received by the police. The window display of a jewelry store was carried away.

Girls were reported to have looted the window of a millinery store, carrying away the display of spring hats.

To prevent looting Mayor PRICE has issued a proclamation declaring the business district under military law.

Stories of the freak stunts of the storm are legion. The families of LOUIS and CHARLES HENNING were seated at dinner when the cyclone lifted the house from over their heads without injuring any member of the party. Ten houses in a space of three blocks in that neighborhood were destroyed.

The first train into Elgin, leaving Chicago at 2:05 p.m., reached here shortly after 4 o’clock and was halted in the outskirts while workmen sawed and chopped away scores of trees which had been thrown across the tracks. It proceeded west after a delay of more than an hour.

The Idaho Daily Statesman, Boise, ID 29 Mar 1920