Milwaukee, WI Great Storm Rips Through City, June 1855


From the Sentinel, June 28.
Our city was visited early yesterday morning with one of the severest thunder storms we ever remember to have seen. There had been one or two showers, attended with thunder and lightning during the night; but the sun rose clear, with the promise of a fair day. Between 6 and 7 o'clock, however, the storm came up in all its wrath and magnificence and for two hours the rain descended, the wind blew, the lightning flashed, and the thunder roared, with scarce a moment's intermission. At times the blast was like a tornado, and the rain came down in perfect floods. Almost at the height of the storm a startingly vivid flash of lightning was followed instantly by a terrific crash of thunder, and this again, almost without a minute's pause, by the fire bells of the city ringing a loud alarm. The firemen turned out promptly at the summons, in spite of the driving tempest, but fortunately their services were not needed. The lightning had struck the machine shop of MESSRS. TALBOT & REEVE, WEST Water street, and set fire to some shavings, but the flames were speedily extinguished without damage to the building.
The force of the wind prostrated trees, fences and chimneys on the American House block was blown down, breaking through the roof, and two on Bichard's Block, without doing any damage. A portion of the battlement and a chimney in the "Law Buildings" were blown over, and went crashing through the roof of the next building east, owned by J. B. CROSS, damaging it to the extent of $200. In several of the lumber yards the plank were whirled about by the wind and carried into the river. The chimney on the rear part of DR. WOLCOTT'S residence, was struck by the lightning and knocked into "smithereens." On Jackson street, near Huron, a hundred feet or more of plank sidewalk was neatly ripped up and carried bodily across the street. Two small houses on Spring street were turned completely round. Any quantity of window lights were blown in by the violence of the tornado. The streets, especially those having a considerable decavity, resembled mountain torrents. After the storm subsided, and throughout the day, the air continued hot and sultry and the clouds at nightfall seemed to promise another storm.

The New York Times New York 1855-07-02