Illinois Storm, Jan 1876

A Centennial Hurricane.

The Lively Breeze that Swept Over the Land on New Year’s Day.

Church Spires Blown Into the Street, Sidewalks Uptorn, and Roofs Uplifted.

The Telegraph Wires Seriously damaged Throughout the Country.

A Series of Disasters Sustained in the City from the Effects of the Windstorm.

In The City.
“The flag that braved a hundred years the battle and the breeze” had to brave a battle with the breeze on Saturday night for which it was not well prepared. In fact, all the bunting which had floated in the spring-like zephyrs of the morning was wrecked and torn to shreds long before midnight. The Centennial of the flag was rudely celebrated before 7 o’clock, at which time the fury of the elements began to be exhibited.

The old year passed out in a stream of mud and a stream of mist. Bootblacks were busy during the early part of the day, and the aggregate amount of youthful profanity expended in restoring blackness and brilliancy to the boots of the multitude was largely in excess of the average. Real estate, too, was livelier than usual, tons of it being removed by the brigade here alluded to. The morning broke beautiful. At 6 o’clock the rain ceased, and as the Catho9lic churches began to fill the mist was dissipated, and a soft warm spring morning resulted. Later on the fashionables began to throng the thoroughfares, and at midday the rare spectacle of New Year’s callers carrying their overcoats on their arms, or dispensing entirely with this superfluous raiment was exhibited. Stranger yet was the sight of receptions with open windows. The sky clouded over during the afternoon, and at nearly 4 o’clock rain fell heavily, dispersing the crowds and filling the street cars. The ceremony of dining on New Year’s Day does not amount to much, but those who strolled out for an appetizing walk before dinner hour returned home moistened from head to foot. Shortly after 6 the wind arose, and in a few minutes reduced all bunting then flying into lint and raveling. Ulsters offered a broadside of resistance to the gale, and the wearers of “the most rational garment” had a hard time facing it. The great and good Klokke and his brethren of the hat trade gloat over the impetus given to it by the gale; beavers, felts, and even fur caps being converted into revolving parachutes or rendered amphibious by too close a relation with the mud. Ladies congratulated themselves on the pull-back which had reduced the amount of sail usually carried, and put them nearer to the condition of a ship scudding under bare poles. The suggestion here thrown out applies rather more literally to some of the unfortunates whose garments were not as tightly pinned back as fashion decreed.

The Effect On Telegraph Wires

was very disastrous. At about 9 o’clock the receipt of telegraphic news from East and South ceased, and an hour later there was scarcely a wire standing over a great area of country. From all indication the storm extended over all the continent. The fire-alarm telegraph wires snapped like thread. With a hurricane blowing, it became of paramount importance to keep up communication between the central office and the fire-alarm boxes. Fortunately the city was pretty thoroughly saturated, but had a fire been allowed to gain headway anywhere, only one result could have followed, namely; the obliteration of the city north of the point at which it started. The repairers were kept busy mending the wires every time they broke. In a short time, however, they found a two-days job before them. Fortunately no fires occurred during the prevalence of the gale.

There Were Numerous Accidents

to record, some of them of a serious nature.

At about 6:30 o’clock a four story brick building, Nos. 319 and 321 South Canal Street, in the process of erection, was blown down. It was built by Ryan & Hagerman, contractors, at a cost of $7,000. It was of the balloon order of architecture and its destruction is not altogether to be deplored.

A Church Spire Gone.

At about 7 o’clock the spire of the German Lutheran Church, corner of Wentworth avenue and Twenty-Fifth Street, was blown down. It fell heavily upon the house adjoining-that pf Mrs. Bridges-which was occupied by her as a dry goods store and dwelling house. By a providential circumstance the family were in the kitchen, otherwise there would have been at least one fatal accident to record. As it was, the heavy spire fell through the roof, demolishing everything in the rooms on the top floor.

Swinging Signs.

One thing was made evident, and that was the fatal facility with which the heavy wire signs hung over the most crowded thoroughfares can be transformed into engines of destruction. That they did not descend upon dozens of vehicles, is due to the hour of the day at which they came down, and to the fact that it was a holiday. Why every person in the city should be subjected to the torture of iron weighing a ton or two-and nobody knows how heavy these wire signs are till he feels or sees them come down-suspended over every street, what accident insurance company ought to remain neutral? One of these modern monstrosities came near depriving the traveler of a most estimable host, in the person of Mr. John B. Drake, of the Grand Pacific. Mr. Drake was driving down Wabash Avenue, when the wire abomination of Giles Bro.s’ came down heavily a few feet in front of his horses. Before he could stop the carriage, the woven wire netting was thrown aside to catch somebody else.

Hotel Disasters.

The Grand Pacific itself suffered somewhat. A gentle zephyr carried the windows of the gentleman’s parlor into the room, and the occupant suddenly remembered they had business outside. The windows of the Turkish bath rooms were also blown in.

The skylight of the Palmer House rotunda was smashed and a hail storm of glass came rattling down, to the dismay of several persons in the vicinity of the place.

Miscellaneous Mishaps.

The great man-trap sign of Charles P. Kellogg & Co., over Field & Leiter’s building on Madison Street, came down with force, but fortunately killed nobody.

Chapin & Gore’s Monroe street establishment lost an enormous plate-glass window, valued at $150.

Mr. Herrick, a West Sider, in a buggy, was thrown out of his vehicle, which was upset by the gale.

The wire man-trap of Solomon Dingee, auctioneer, was blown down, but failed to kill for reasons given above. You can’t always depend upon these death dealers, but they are dead sure in the long run.

The sign of Messrs. Becker & Kopsell, a huge trunk at Nos. 295 and 297 South Clark Street, was blown down, and nearly demolished a little colored boy names Joseph Butler. As it was, the child’s eye was badly cut.

A galvanized iron cornice on the brick building No. 118 Archer Avenue was blown down.

The bridge-tender at Adams Street Bridge had neglected to lock it, and it was blown open.

A fine $150 pane of plate glass in Brunswick’s, No. 44 Dearborn Street was demolished.

The south windows of the Fourth Presbyterian Church were smashed.

The cornice on the row of marble front houses near the corner of West Van Buren and Paulina streets was blown into the middle of the street.

A shed in the rear of a house at the corner of Western Avenue and Harrison Street was demolished by the falling of the roof of the King School.

Several hundred feet of sidewalk were destroyed. About 200 feet at the corner of Jefferson and West Van Buren streets went so to speak, by the board.

The sidewalk on Jefferson Street, near Lake, was similarly disposed of.

About sixty feet of sidewalk on South Clark Street was removed where it would do no good-to the other side of the street.

A heavy twenty-foot sidewalk, 100 feet long, was carried from were it belonged, on the south side of Monroe street, from Dearborn to the American Express Company’s building.

One or two of the brick houses in the course of erection on Fulton Street, just east of Central Park, were blown to the ground.

At Turner Junction, the wind-mill used to elevate water was destroyed by the storm.

About 2 o’clock in the morning a lady living on the South Side perceived something crawling up the front door step. It looked like a big lump of mud, but it proved after all to be the head of the family. He had been out making calls, and he said he hadn’t drank a drop all day. The gale did it. The gale blew his hat off, and the rest followed as a matter of course. That man told his wife that such was the violence of the storm, he had rolled for a block and a half in the gutters before he could regain his feet. Oh, ‘twas a rough night.

While the storm was blowing things around generally on Saturday, the wind got under a sidewalk on Ontario Street, corner of Franklin Street, and blew some fifty feet of it clear across the street. Officer John K. Saller, who had just been appointed on the police force, and who was taking his first official walk, was striding gallantly along the sidewalk as well as the wind would let him at the time the sidewalk took wings. When the officer had time to pick himself up he discovered that the first joint of the second toe of one of his feet was broken and that the second toe of the other foot was mashed to a jelly.

About 9 o’clock on Saturday evening the chimney of Bartholomew & Leicht’s malt house, on the corner of Sedgewick and Sophia streets, was blown down by the wind and broke through the roof and the floor of the top story, finding a resting place in a stock of malt stored beneath. The chimney in its downward course carried away some twenty-five feet of the roof. The damage is reported to be about $500.

While the storm was at its highest, the steeple of Gundrum’s church on the North side was laid low. The steeple is considerably damaged, but no one was near it at the time of the accident, and consequently nobody was hurt.

A large number of gas lamps on the North Side, though well used to gas, couldn’t stand the wind, and went down during the storm.

One of the oldest brick houses in the city, located on the corner of West Van Buren and Sangamon streets, was blown down. This building, 140x90 feet, had its iron roof completely torn off. The anchorage in the walls was torn out and portions of the wall thrown down. The roof of the new machine shop was also destroyed. The loss of the roof falls on the Keystone Roofing Company, of Pittsburg. William Einwalter, of Chicago, superintending the work, was badly injured. His leg was broken in two places and his back hurt. The loss to the roofing company is about $5,000, and to the rolling mill company $1,000. The other damage about the city is not severe.

Special Telegram to the Inter-Ocean.
Mendota, Ill., Jan. 2.-The severest storm we have had for several years raged here last evening with terrible fury for about six hours, blowing down chimneys, injuring roofs, smashing trees and leveling fences to a very large extent. Several minor accidents to persons are reported, but nothing serious.

Special Telegram to the Inter-Ocean.
Aurora, Ill., Jan. 2.-We were visited last night by the hardest wind storm known for years. The zinc cornice of the Opera House was blown in. One of the Pullman car sheds in the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy yard was moved bodily from its foundation several feet. About two-thirds of the roof of the Fox River Railroad bridge was blown off, and the telegraph lines were generally parted.

Special Telegram to the Inter-Ocean.
LaSalle, Ill., Jan. 2.-This vicinity yesterday was deluged with rain, and the generally disagreeable weather weeks past was fittingly climaxed last night by a terrific wind storm which carried everything loosely fastened before it. Fences were destroyed, trees blown down, brick chimneys demolished, and signs, shutters, etc., sent flying from their supports. Very little rain accompanied the storm, which lasted for several hours.

Special Telegram to the Inter-Ocean.
Jacksonville, Ill., Jan. 2.-A terrible wind storm passed over this city last evening, doing considerable damage.

Special Telegram to the Inter-Ocean.
Advices By Telegraph.

Special Telegram to the Inter-Ocean.
Springfield, Ill., Jan. 2.-The gale which struck this city on Saturday assumed almost the proportions of a tornado. Several blocks in this city have more or less chimneys blown down, tin roofs rolled up, and other damage. The beautiful glass grapery and greenhouse of the late Governor Matteson’s estate was blown down and entirely destroyed. Loss, $2,000. The greatest destruction was at the new steel-rail tolling mill.

The Inter Ocean, Chicago, IL 3 Jan 1876