Odell, IL Tornado, May 1886

Destructive Cyclone at Odell, Ill

Joliet, Ill, May 13. - A most destructive cyclone is reported from Odell, a village forty miles south of here on the Chicago & Alton railroad, yesterday afternoon. Passengers on the train arriving at 6pm state that as the train neared Odell they saw the cyclone approaching. At first they saw the roof of an elevator rise and sail off in the air, and the building collapse. Then the hotel and houses raised up, tumbled over and over like feathers, and were shattered to pieces, both brick and frame, and all sizes from shanties to two-story buildings.

The train was stopped, but the wind blowing parallel with the track, it was not upset, through bricks and sticks broke the windows. Considerable time was taken to move the debris from the track before the train could proceed After the cyclone passed over the people busied themselves looking under the ruins of houses for those who were missing. the train resumed its journey without giving the passengers a chance to learn the casualties, but they report that several men, women and children are killed and injured.

Local telegraph agents have been trying to raise Odell all evening, but can not succeed, and the real extent of the loss of life and property can not be ascertained.

Decatur Republican, Decatur, IL 13 May 1886


No Lives Lost

Joliet, Ill, March [sic] 13 - Later details from Odell say that the cyclone which struck that town yesterday afternoon did great damage but no lives were lost. A long, two-story brick building, occupied by S S Cole as a hardware store, was completely destroyed and five persons buried in the ruins. The hotel was unroofed and otherwise greatly damaged Hoke Bros' livery stable was totally destroyed. Three elevators were unroofed and otherwise damaged. A few small residences were turned upside down, and there is hardly a building in town but what shows signs of the cyclone. None were killed outright, but Geo Hoke, of the firm of Hoke Bros, livery stable, is pronounced fatally injured, also Lottie Zwiefel, who was on her way home from school. She was within a few feet of home when the wind picked her up and carried her some distance into a lumber yard. Her skull was fractured. The damage to property is estimated at $50,000

Decatur Republican, Decatur, IL 13 May 1886


The Cyclones Victims

Odell, Ill, May 14.- Lottie Zwiefel, one of the victims of the cyclone, died at 3 o'clock this morning. Rosa Miller is in a precarious condition and the death of George Hoke is feared. All the other injured persons are doing well. The citizens of the town are at work clearing away the ruins and preparing to rebuild where necessary.

Newark Daily Advocate, Newark, OH 14 May 1886