Louisville, KY Tornado, Mar 1890 - 2500 Houses Demolished
At the entrance of the various "death rooms" stand a breathless mob clamoring for admittance, but invariably refused, unless it be to identify some relation or friend.
The telephone wires are all down and it will take days to get them working again.
The search for victims is going steadily on and each hour adds largely to the already long list.
The Carpenter Annear Iron Works, a four story building was blown down and some employes [sic] injured.
The wholesale liquor establishment of Brown & Son fell and instantly caught fire. By hard work the firemen managed to control the blaze.
Buildings adjacent to it were considerably torn up and 'tis quite positive several dead lay beneath the ruins. The great building occupied by S.F. Gunther, tobacco house, H. R. Hoewater and Jas. W. Pratier, was demolished, as was also the immense building occupied by the H. A. Thierman Company, wholesale liquor dealers and distillers. In nearly all the business houses wrecked some one was injured and there are fears that bodies will also be found.
Market street this evening looks like a ruined village. For four blocks not a building escaped partial or total demolition. In many buildings families resided over the stores, and in nearly every case there are reports of broken limbs or severe injuries.
The storm seemed only to have swept Broadway to Fifteenth to Ninth streets; but nearly all the houses between these streets and on intersecting streets are demolished. From Fifteenth and Sixteenth down to Nineteenth, however, the destruction was terrible. In three blocks the houses were larger and of much better quality and nearly every one of them was demolished. The Catholic buildings, five in number, were torn down and SISTER PIUS killed.
Large corps of men have been organized to work on the wreckage unremittingly, the first attention being paid to Falls City Hall.
The weather was very mild.
7:30 P. M. --It is now thought that the deaths will number about one hundred and fifty. A large force of men has been sent out to make a thorough canvass of the devastated district and report the losses of life and property. The property loss is at present estimated at nearly a million dollars. The work on rescuing the mangled goes bravely on.
At Falls City Hall a crowd of ten thousand people block the streets for squares. The bodies of the dead and wounded are being dragged from beneath the ruins all around the district, and men, women and children linger about, filled with dread and anxiety lest thy recognize in shapeless masses the remains of some relative or friend.
During the excavating at Falls City Hall, this morning, a room where children had been dancing was reached. Mrs. Simms was found fatally hurt, and within about fifteen minutes of each other, the three Simms children were recovered. They were unconscious and there is only a faint possibility of their living. While the father, who was present, was imploring the workers to get his other child, a fire broke out and the work was suspended. The last man taken out before the flames started was John Hepden.
George St. Cafits, who was at a meeting of the Knights of Honor in the lodge room on the top floor, says: "The first intimation of danger were two distinct rockings of the building, and a window blown from the casings. A wild rush was mad for the ante-room. I just reached the door when the entire floor gave way, and we were precipitated to the basement, blinded and almost suffocated by a cloud of dust, and crushed and jammed by the falling timbers. I returned over the ruins with several men and extinguished the fire then begun. Rain was falling in torrents. The entire building collapsed in front and rear. Of the east and west side walls nothing is standing above the second story.
There nearly one hundred members at the meeting, fully two-thirds being ladies. Another order was holding a meeting on the same floor with us. A band was rehearsing on the second floor, and a party of decorators were at work in the large hall preparing for an entertainment.
So far as I could judge, there were less than a dozen, all told, who got out unhurt.
The inspection of the water works this afternoon showed the stand pipe to be completely wrecked. Until the repairs are completed no pumping can be done, and there is only about enough water in the reservoir to last five days. At the end of that time the public will have to depend on wells. Crushed and blackened ruins mark the spot where last evening stood the splendid and large Union Depot. When the crash came the Louisville Southern train had just come in and I. & M. were ready to pull out, but both were caught by the falling mass and crushed like shells. About a dozen people were injured, though none fatally.