Fort Smith, AR Tornado, Jan 1898


Two Scores of Lives Destroyed in an Arkansas City.

Fort Smith, Ark., Jan. 13.---A tornado which burst upon this city a few minutes past 11 o'clock Tuesday night destroyed two score of human lives and upwards of $1,000,000 worth of property. The storm tore its way through the entire territory, leaving its path marked by death and desolation. Men, women and children, asleep in their homes, were, without a moment's notice, awakened to meet death under falling walls, or in the flames which soon wrapped many of the wrecked buildings.

With the first crash of the storm business blocks, handsome mansions, hotels and humble cottages were leveled to the ground and scattered in shapeless masses. Several of the wrecks caught fire, and the inflammable timbers burned furiously. The city was crowded with rural visitors, many of whom were sleeping at boarding houses unregistered, for this reason the number of victims who perished may never be definitely known.

George Carter's house was turned completely over and is now supported on the roof. A half pane of glass was driven through Carter's neck, almost severing the head from the trunk. The National cemetery is a wreck. Hugh trees are uprooted, the lodge demolished and the walls are torn down. Fort Smith's $50,000 high school building was badly wrecked, but it was one of the few buildings upon which there was a tornado insurance. The First Baptist church and the Central Methodist church are now only a scattered pile of kindling wood. The church of the Immaculate Conception and Brown's Memorial church lost their spires and sustained other damage.

Portsmouth Herald, Portsmouth, NH 13 Jan 1898