Llano, TX tornado, Jul 1900


A Large Number of Houses Wrecked, but Not a Single Life Was Lost, and Few Were Injured.


Llano, Tex., July 16. - At 8.05 o'clock yesterday evening a cyclone probably 300 feet weed, passed through this section, doing considerable damage in North Llano.

The rain had been falling pretty steadily during the evening and the clouds while lowering did not appear threatening, and no one expected danger until with a rush, a roar and crash the stream was on us. Houses wrecked and in ruins, barns blown down, orchards devastated and ornamental trees denuded - these attest the fury of yesterday's storm -

About 7.45 o'clock yesterday evening a dark cloud came over from the northeast, passing some miles east of town, while another came up from out of the southeast. No one expected more than a heavy rain. Occasional flashes of lightning with the heavy rolls of thunder warned those who were out to seek shelter, the cloud from the northeast came over and a heavy downpour of rain with it. Those who saw the meeting of clouds soon saw the signs of a storm, yet not many saw it and it was not until it was overhead with its deafening roar and trees were being uprooted, chimenys tumbling, roofs torn off, wellhouses falling and crashing, women and children screaming. In three or four minutes its work was done and some of the cosiest homes in Llano were in ruins.

The storm came from the southeast, striking first the home of Mrs. Brown, in the extreme southeast part of the city, one end of her house being blown in. From there to Mr. J. W. Moore's, a distance of about 600 yards, no damage was done. Mr. Moore's chmney was blown down. As the seething, roaring monster crossed the river, 200 yards below the bridge, as if thirsty, it swooped down and lifted the waters from the river bed to a height of perhaps a hundred feet. On the north side of the river, as with destructive hands the Austin and Northwestern Railroad depot came within its clutches. The southeast corner of the roof was lifted off and sent whirling away.

The force of the wind was such that the depot, about 130 feet long and strongly built, was considerably wrecked. On the left-hand side of the stream the grocery house of M. B. Dabbs & Co. was picked up, slammed down and torn literally to pieces, while an old shed, which had all of one side out and containing nothing of value, was left untouched. Part of the awning in front of the Northwstern Traffic Company's building was blown away. The Algona, a $5,000 hotel, standing a block from the depot, a three-story brick buidling, had its roof entirely blown off. The chimneys, cornices, windows and doors are badly damaged. The damage is estimated at $3,500. A small one-story rock structure, occupied by Mr. Keel, was unroofed and part of the south wall blown in. Two small children were caught under the falling walls and one of them badly crushed, though it is thought it will recover. Another similar structurejust north and adjoining this was badly torn up. A handsome building, built some years ago by the First National Bank of Llano, now owned and occupied by Prof. N. J. Badu, was the next to suffer. The doors and windows in the front and south of the boulding [sic] were blown in. The partitions in the apartments upstairs were blown down. Pieces of scantling, doors, panels, planks and other debris from other ruined buildings were hurled against these partitions with terrific force. No damage was done to the walls. A new barn with rock walls, recently built by Prof. Badu, in which were his horse and surrey, was razed, the surrey smashed to pieces and the horse badly crippled.

Two large warehouses, one belonging to the bank, in which was stored a quantity of wool and salt, were almost ruined. Only the side walls were left standing. Just in front of these were two warehouses, tow-story stone buildings, in one of which lived Mr. Scott, an attache of the Northwestern Traffic Company.

When they saw the storm coming, Mrs. Scott and the children ran upstairs and were near the middle of the house when the roof was carried away. The front of the building fell. The foreward part of the upper front was wrenched out and blown away. Almost everything belonging to the family was gathered by the wind and carried away. The rear walls could not withstand the force and gave way. Mr. Scott was not at home when the storm came, but was soon there with several others, who expected to find the mangled corpses of his wife and babies under the ruins of the fallen walls. With eager hands they began removing the mass of rocks and mortar, when Mrs. Schott with trembling voice called, "Here we are." A ladder was brought and the weeping and frightened children removed from their perilous position, there being only a small section of the upper floor for them to stand on.

Next door live Mr. Finkle. The house was partially ruined and much of his furniture and household effects damaged.

Two of the prettiest houses in Llano have been those of Dr. C. F. Darnall and Ben Johnson, about half a mile from the bridge in North Llano. These pretty houses were almost in the track of the storm. At Dr. Darnall's the east room and gallery, the chimneys, fences, outhouses, except the barn, were considerably damaged. A small building in the rear of the yard, used as a buggy-house, was torn to pieces and parts blown for hundreds of yards. Mr. Johnson's house was possibly the handsomest house in Llano and it is a complete wreck. It was moved from its pillars about five feet, and in setting down the floors and inner walls were torn up and wrenched in inconceivable shape. The house was so completely wrecked as to render it necessary to tear it down and rebuild it.

It is impossible yet to estimate the damage done inside of three minutes. It was the worst storm ever experienced in Llano. The wonder is that with so many women and children in the destroyed houses no lives were lost. Mrs. N. J. Badu received a cut on the left temple. Mr. Keel's children were caught under a falling wall and a little boy hit by a falling stone being the only ones in any manner hurt.

The Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 17 Jul 1900