Knoxville & Western PA Wind Storm, Mar 1902

Wind Storm Sweeps Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, PA March 31

One of the fiercest windstorms ever known in this section struck the city yesterday just before noon. Almost incalculable damage was done to property, and many people were injured, some of whom may die. Scores of houses were unroofed, many trees were blown down, mill stacks toppled over and telegraph and telephone wires generally disabled.

The most serious accident was the unroofing of the Presbyterian church in Knoxville, occupied by about 600 persons. While the minister was in the midst of his sermon, the wind blew over the large chimney and lifted a portion of the roof. Bricks from the chimney crashed through the roof and carried a large piece of the hardwood ceiling down upon the worshipers. At least forty persons were caught by the wreckage and were more or less hurt. Of this number five may not recover.

Dr. R. J. PHILLIPS, aged 40, may die
CURTIS RAY MCKNIGHT, aged 40 probably fatal
JOSEPH ADAMS, 21, badly crushed
ALBERT SCHMIDT, 14, both arms broken and head cut
JOHN MEYER, 17, head and face cut
THOMAS MECHLIN, 18, arms and face cut
EVANS JONES, 22, serious
Mrs. RACHEL SCHULTZ, 35, arms broken

The towboat Belle McGowan was blown over on the Ohio river and completely wrecked. Her crew was rescued.

As Rev. J. W. English, pastor of the Robinson Run U.P. church, near McDonald, was raising his arm to pronounce benediction, lightning struck the church spire and it toppled upon the roof, crushing it and injuring a number or worshippers, two of whom will die.

ROBERT PATTERSON, aged 11 years, will die
LEON AVERILL, 11, will die
Mrs. JOHN PATTERSON, mother of Robert
Mrs. AVERILL, mother of Leon

At Jamestown a tornado tore out one end of the United Presbyterian church while Rev. J. M. Jamison was preaching. He was buried under a mass of brick and timbers and fatally injured. The congregation escaped unhurt.

The Noblestown Presbyterian church was also unroofed.

The Forest Oil company had between 200 and 300 derricks blown down in its McDonald region and considerable damage was sustained by its pipeage system.

The offices of the Monongahela Connecting railroad in this city were destroyed by fire during the afternoon because no alarm could be turned in, the wires being down.

The Armstrong Coke company’s plant was unroofed and much damage done to machinery and stock.

All railroads suffered more or less from broken telegraph poles and crippled service.

More than 2,500 lights of glass in the Phipps conservatory in Schenley park were broken and much of the gorgeous Easter flower display ruined.

The Montana apartment house and the Idaho building, which adjoins it, were partly destroyed.

The roof of the big forge plant at Rankin was lifted off and carried many yards away.

The damage in the Monongahela and Turtle creek valleys will reach thousands of dollars.

Belated reports from nearby towns up to midnight show that the wind played havoc at every town in its track.

At Mingo Junction, O., two big structural ore bridges of the National Steel company’s plant, valued at $50,000 were twisted into shapeless masses of iron.

At Belle Vernon, Pa, the American Window Glass company’s plant was unroofed, several blocks of houses belonging to the company were wrecked and other damage was done.

At Greensburg, Pa., nearly 9,000 feet of roof of the Keeley & Jones plant was carried away and the great cupola of the First Presbyterian church was toppled into the street.

At Jeannette, Latrobe and New Alexandria a number of houses were unroofed.

At Washington Pa., the new bar mill of the Griffith Tin Plate company was completely wrecked, entailing a loss of $10,000. Five residences were blown down, the Roman Catholic and the Third U. B. churches were considerably damaged and many private residences lost roofs and windows. It is expected greater losses will be reported tomorrow, when the country districts can be heard from.

Ogden Standard Examiner, Ogden, UT 31 Mar 1902