Wilmette, IL Tornado, Mar 1920

Wilmette, IL Tornado, photo from familyoldphotos.com

The tornado was the first to strike Chicago since 1896, according to Henry J. Fox, weather forecaster for Chicago. The disturbance was a tornado, and not a cyclone, he said, asserting that the peculiar path was characteristic of a tornado. The path was just south of Chicago, ending in Evanston and Wilmette, adjoining Chicago on the shore of Lake Michigan.

A swath 200 yard wide was torn through the main part of Wilmette and property damage was estimated at near a half a million. Among the buildings damaged were the town hall and the Episcopal Church.

The Idaho Daily Statesman, Boise, ID 29 Mar 1920


GEORGE MIX, a watchman at a railroad crossing in Wilmette, was severely injured when the storm lifted his shanty and rolled it for more than three blocks, carrying him as a prisoner.

JAMES IRVING and his son and daughter were blown into an abandoned basement 50 feet away when the storm destroyed a small portable house in which they were eating dinner.

One half of the roof of St. Augustine's Episcopal Church at Wilmette was carried more than three blocks by the wind. The parsonage was not damaged.

Tulsa Daily World, Tulsa, OK 29 Mar 1920


The storm had a spectacular career in Wilmette suburban home of scores of Chicago millionaires.

It cut a path 200 feet wide directly through the heard of the fashionable suburb. The only things it left untouched were a glass conservatory, two churches and the offices of the local weekly newspaper.

"Wilmette's two main streets are a wreck today." said one witness. "The cyclone took everything in its path. Horses, men, women and children were pushed or blown out of the way. There wasn't a building which didn't suffer.

"The storm went past three churches. The roof of one church was blown in and the other two untouched. Beautiful trees in front of the churches were uprooted and swept for some distance."

The Fort Wayne News And Sentinel, Ft Wayne, IN 29 Mar 1920