Alton, IL Tornado, Jun 1860 - Dreadful Storm

June 2, 1860
Dreadful Storm at Alton, (Ill.)

This day, a dreadful storm broke out over the town of Alton, Ill. The Alton "Courier,'describing it, says - The most destructive storm in this section of the country that has occurred within the memory of anyone, broke upon our city Saturday evening and in a matter of minutes destroyed property to the amount of scores of thousands of dollars.

The track of the storm through the business part of the city lies between Belle and Henry streets. On and west of State street the damage done to building is very slight. Confined to the throwing down of two or three chimneys and one or two stables. Here as well as elsewhere the shrubbery, fruit-trees, shade trees, &c (sic) suffered to a considerable extent.

The "Courier" office, for which so much apprehension was felt, escaped uninjured. Our loss is confined to the bindery, and is but slight, occasioned by the tearing open of a trap-door in the roof.

Farther up the street, beyond the Piasa Foundry, was the principal scene of disaster on Belle street. Here, in the creek-bottom, are about twenty small houses, occupied by twenty-five or thirty families, mostly Irish. At sunset there was scarcely enough water in the creek to make a current; when the storm was at it's height the water must have been at least ten to twelve feet deep,-tearing on with almost resistless force. Some three or four of these houses were torn in pieces, three or four more swept from their foundations, and all of them filled with water and mud. The affrighted families fled with what they could carry, in very few cases saving more than three-quarters of their household effects, and in some instances hardly escaping with their lives.

Still farther up the road in the neighborhood of the toll gate, some damage was done by water, but very little done by hail or wind. The road is very much washed in all places, all the way to the Buck Inn.

In Insurance-Office neighborhood the traces of hail first began to be much apparent,-the insurance-office having very many panes of glass broken out, and other houses having suffered in this respect to some extent. We remarked two or three chimneys down, also a stable near the house of Dr. Wood. The main damage hereabouts is upon the shrubbery and fruit and other trees; and it is very severe,-not to be estimated in dollars and cents. Dr. Wood, Mr. Kellenberger, Mr. Moses Atwood, Robert Smith, John Atwood, Judge Billings, Capt. Adams, H.I. Baker, Mr. Wade, Dr. Marsh, Mr. Metcalf,-all these, and, in fact, everybody in this neighborhood, have lost much in this respect. Mr. Smith's yard and garden particularly are very much damaged. The house building for Cashier Caldwell lost it's chimney and part of its roofing.

In Hunterstown, the German Catholic Church, corner of Third and Henry streets, built last year at an expense of about $6000, is almost a complete wreck, the basement and part of the front wall alone standing. From the two story brick building standing directly opposite, belonging to Mr. Coppinger, the roof was partially lifted; and a small frame building near it was damaged by a falling tree.

Farther up Henry Street, opposite the German Protestant Church, a frame story-and-a-half house, about finished, for John Callacombe, was torn completely to pieces. Lower Middleton suffered considerably, both by hail and by wind.