St. Louis, MO Tornado, May 1896 - Tornado Approaches


St. Louis, May 28. --- Yesterday the weather was oppressive all day and at 4 o'clock in the afternoon the entire western horrizon [sic] was backed with clouds. The growing darkness gave the people the first warning of the coming storm.

Shortly before the tornado reached the city, funnels were observed to shoot down from the clouds. The came the outburst.

Three funnels approached St. Louis while lightning played among them and the thunder was almost incessant. Men, women, horses and everything were picked up and carried hundreds of feet. So irrisistible [sic] was the cyclone that some of the staunchest business blocks in the city went down before it.

Massive stone fronts caved in and iron beams were torn from their festenings [sic] and carried away blocks as if they were feathers. Not once during the passage of the funnels through the city did they rise from the ground, as is usual in the case of small towns.

It is now estimated that 300 were killed in this city and 200 in East St. Louis. It is generally thought that this estimate is under, rather than over the number, as nearly that number of bodies have already been recovered and the search of the ruins has scarcely begun.

The property loss is placed anywhere between ten and thirty millions. Among the prominent buildings destroyed by the cyclone was the great auditorum [sic] where the republican convention was to be held. The East roof of this building was blown off, and the entire interior of the building was flooded by the rain which followed the tornado. It is not believed that the building can be repaired in time for the convention.

Following is the list of the dead so far recovered:
TWENTY EMPLOYES of the LIGGETT & MEYERS Tobacco company.
TWENTY men employed in the St. Louis Wooden Gutter and refirgerator [sic] factory.
JAMES DUNN, janitor of St. Paul's church.
CAPTAIN SEAMAN, WIFE and THREE of the crew of the steamer Libbie Conger.

Aspen Weekly Times Colorado 1896-05-30