Alton, IA Tornado, June 1860
Terrible Tornado at Alton.
GREAT STORM OF WIND, RAIN AND HAIL.
Over One Hundred Houses Damaged.
THREE CHURCHES NEARLY RUINED.
In the Alton Courier of the 4th we find full details of a tornado which occurred there last Saturday evening. We make an abstract from the Courier's account.
Suddenly, about a quarter past seven, the wild fury of the tornado broke upon the city. Almost in an instant, even as men said " there it comes," it was here in all its destructiveness. The wind, furious at first, increased momentarily in strength, the rain came down in torrents, doors flew open, shutters were torn off, signs were flying in the air, here and there belated men and boys were hurrying for shelter, limbs clung an instant to the parent tree and then were dashed to the ground, and then in few moments more the hail, like shot from a million muskets and balls from twice a million rifles, came rattling down upon the street and roof, shivering in an instant thousands of panes of glass -- making windows, in a breath, like the walls of a bombarded city; while through all the din and roar of the time, quick ears caught the crash of many a falling building; and in every heart was a kindly and sympathizing feeling for the as yet unknown sufferers. The storm lasted less than half an hour.
In the western part of the city much damage was done by water and hail, and the fruit trees and gardens were badly injured.
The German Catholic Church, corner of Third and Henry streets, built last year at an expense of about $9,000, is almost a complete wreck, the basement and part of a front wall alone standing.
Further up Henry street, opposite the German Protestant Church, a frame story and a half house, about finished, for John Challacombe, was torn completely to pieces.
The steeple was blown off the Episcopal Church. It is said that the Church is almost a total loss, the walls being very much sprung and cracked. The Church cost about $12,000. The organ is ruined.
The steeple was also blown from the Methodist Church. The roof was considerably damaged by its fall, and the interior is also somewhat damaged. The loss can not be less than $3,000.
The house of D. Simms, was also completely crushed by the falling steeple of the Methodist Church. It was worth $1,800.
The Democrat Office -- No loss in the city is commented upon with more and warmer expressions of sympathy than that of the Democrat office. The building was new, yet hardly finished, and Mr. Fitch moved into it only a week ago -- just a week ago on Saturday evening, opening it with a gathering of his friends; and it is now all gone -- the most complete wreck we ever saw.
The building, presses, engine, and stock, and all, is completely wrecked -- the entire loss must be at least $8,000. The [illegible] office was moved into the building on Saturday, as was also the German bindery; and of course the entire stock of these establishments is also a complete loss.
The Courier gives a long list of houses injured and destroyed, but none of the losses were very heavy, although the aggregate was large.
Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, IA 7 Jun 1860