Little Rock, AR Tornado, Oct 1894

WRECKED BY A TORNADO

THE BUSINESS PART OF LITTLE ROCK DEVASTATED

Four Lives Lost and Many Persons Injured – The State Insane Asylum and the Penitentiary Partly Destroyed – The Loss Will Reach a Million.

A terrific cyclone swept over the business portion of Little Rock, Ark., at 7:30 o'clock p. m., carrying death and destruction in its path. Shortly after dark a heavy storm came from the west, accompanied by vivid flashes of lightning and heavy clashes of thunder. The sky suddenly cleared, and the storm was thought to be over, when suddenly a heavy gale from the southwest appeared, and in three minutes the city was badly damaged. Trees, telegraph, telephone and electric light poles were uprooted and carried 200 yards. The roofs of about thirty of the largest buildings in the city were torn from the houses and hurled against buildings on the opposite side of the street, leaving the occupants at the mercy of the rain, which began to descent in torrents. When the cyclone had ceased it was discovered that the residence portion of the city had entirely escaped, but Main street to Third, Markham street, from Centre to Cumberland, and Second, from Cumberland, was almost a total wreck. This territory covers the principal business portion of the town. The Western Union Office was wrecked and the operators had narrow escapes.

The tornado caused the following fatalities and injuries:
Killed: DR. J. T. INGATE, JACKSON BOYD, son of JACKSON BOYD, and J. F. GRIFFITH. Injured: C. T. MONROE, JOHN EATON, JERRY DONAHUE, S. O. SMITH, WILL WARD, JOHN BROWN, FRITZ, REIS, MRS. L. VOLMER, MRS. J. JANKS, MRS. LULU PREWITT, JOE HALLOWAY, JOE SWLIT (?), JOHN FONTEREAUS, W. D. TROTTER, MISS LUCILLE WEST, W. A. LANGFORD, JOHN BALLAN, TOM FORBES, ______ HOUSER, GEORGE B. GROSS, C. PRATER, J. M. RYAN, J. C. BIGGS, J. D. BOWLIN, DR. LAKELAND, A. HENRY, WILL HARVEY, convict, T. MITCHELL, convict, G. BAKER, convict, G. S. JENKS, convict, LEE HINSON, convict, WILL SINGLETON, convict, J. J. SMITH, guard, JOHN WITT, guard.

Never in the history of Little Rock was there such a scene of wrecked and ruined buildings as was presented on the streets next morning. The streets were almost impassable. The damage will aggregate half a million dollars. The only insurance held by the sufferers amounts to about $2,500.
Almost every building between Markham and Third streets on Main was unroofed, and in several cases entire fronts were leveled. On East Markham street the destruction of property was greater than elsewhere. Several large buildings were demolished and not one escaped injure. Windows and doors were blown out, tin roofs carried away, telephone and electric light wires blown to the ground, and poles twisted off at the curbing.

It was at the insane asylum where the most complete wreck was to be seen. The buildings, built by the State at a cost of $300,000, are on a prominence three miles west of the business part of the city, and offered a splendid target for the fury of the storm. The ruin was not complete, but the damage is estimated at from $75,000 to $100,000.

There was one death there, DR. J. T. INGATE, second assistant physician. He and DR. ROBINSON, the Superintendent, were standing in the hall talking just before the storm struck, and as they separated to go to their rooms, the two towers which crowned the main office portion crashed through the three stories, burying DOCTOR INGATE under the debris of one of them. DR. ROBINSON had a narrow escape, but by pressing up against the wall while bricks and timbers were flying about his head in the dark, the lights having been at once extinguished, he succeeded in getting out without injury.

A heavy force of men worked all night and forenoon in removing the debris to find the body of the unfortunate physician, but his remains were not uncovered until 11 o'clock. He was found under a mass of brick and timbers in the vestibule of the main building, lying on his face. His remains were forwarded to his parents at Mobile, Ala.

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