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Wilkes-Barre, PA Tornado, Aug 1890


The following is a dispatch from Wilkesbarre, Pa., dated Aug. 19. -- At 5 o'clock this afternoon the most terrible cyclone that was ever experienced in this locality struck this city. It came up the river, and the suddenness of its coming was one of its awful features. The heavens were as black as night, and the wind blew with most frightful velocity. Whole rows of trees were blown down. Following this, hundreds of houses were unroofed, partially blown over and completely demolished, and worse than all, the visitation of death was sent upon a number of people. Large districts in several sections of the city are in absolute ruin and women and children are in the streets crying and wringing their hands in absolute dismay.
The damage will reach hundreds of thousands of dollars. Passenger trains and locomotives at the depot were blown over, and every wire in the city, electric light, telephone and telegraph, is down. The devastation is to be compared to nothing in the memory of the oldest inhabitant. Everybody is rejoicing that no fires as yet have taken place, for the streets are impassable with trees and fallen buildings, and engines could not be drawn through them.
The total death list so far as ascertained is twelve. Four men are known to have been killed at the HAZARD WIRE ROPE WORKS. A house on Scott street, occupied by miners who had just returned from work, fell. Three of the inmates were killed. The huge stack of the KYTLE PLANING MILL fell on a man and two horses and all were killed.
A little colored girl was killed by a falling building on South Main street. Two men suffered death by the falling of a portion of STEGMAIER'S brewery and a third incurred the same fate through the almost complete demolition of S. S. BROWN'S brick business block on Market street.
There are undoubtedly fifteen or sixteen others killed. Many poor people suffered heavy losses, and it will be months before all the damage can be repaired, fully two hundred buildings being blown down or otherwise damaged. Many of the structures are of large size and great value.
The MURRAY shaft fan-house was blown down and the fan stopped. There are twenty-seven men men in the mine but it is hoped that they can be got out safely.
Later reports come from Sugar Notch, a mining town three miles from here, that the destruction of property was terrible, and fifteen persons were killed at Parsons and Mill Creek, four miles from here. Coal breakers in a directions have been more or less damaged.

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article | by Dr. Radut