Grand Forks Daily Herald Front Page

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Grand Forks Daily Herald Front Page, June 16, 1887
Grand Forks Daily Herald Front Page, June 16, 1887




A Terrible Hurricane Sweeps Over the Country and City – Big Storm.
Three Lives Lost and Others Probably Fatally Injured – Much Destruction.
Houses Blown to Ground and Others Twisted From their Foundation.



We have read about cyclones and of the terrible devastation they cause.  But today we had an awful realization of their destructive power.  For two days the air has been excessively hot and people talked of cyclones without any real fear that we would have one.  When the terrific thunder storms occurred last night it was thought but the worst was over, but when the morning again opened so hot and sultry, fears were entertained that other storms would follow.  About half past two the clouds that were scattered in the sky began to gather in a threatening manner and at three o’clock gusts of wind and rain swept from the east over the town.  A few minutes later the wind changed in the twinkling of an eye and began blowing from the southwest.  Some hail fell and then the wind began blowing with terrible force.  There was no black funnel-shaped cloud.  The whole sky was dark and the wind rattled with damaging force.  For about twenty minutes a wild scene ensued.  Houses were unroofed, and completely demolished.  Many narrow escapes are recorded.  But the saddest news of all is that two or three persons lost their lives.  The first intimation that the HERALD had of anything serious was the sudden unroofing of the block.  The compositors were driven from their cases and all work was stopped at once.


Before the storm was over reporters were on the street searching for news.  Going down Third street the first thing noticed was Wineman’s large plate glass window broken into a thousand pieces.  The roof and front of O’Connor’s saloon was on the sidewalk.  Further the roof of the O’Connor block was off.  Russell & Kennedy’s office was blown out.

McNiven’s smoke house and shed was on the ground.

The Ingalls house was unroofed and damaged by rain.

Finke & Gokey’s block had the roof torn off.

Hunt, Holt and Garner’s machinery hall was twisted out of shape with the roof demolished.

The Cadet ice rink was leveled flat to the ground.

The Baptist church was wrenched from its foundation and considerably damaged.  Part of the roof was taken from Wm. Little’s house, and the barn and buggy shed were nearly ruined.  Geo. Elliott’s house in course of construction on Fourth street was destroyed.

Anderson’s ice house and other buildings on International were badly damaged.

The lunch room at the depot was leveled to the ground.  R. Hill and two or three others were in the building and miraculously escaped serious injury.  Everything here is a complete wreck.

The house of J. S. Mitchell, owned by Ole Moe, was laid flat on the ground.

Mrs. Belle Milne’s house was leveled even with the ground.  Miss. Nelson who was in the house was slightly hurt.

W. L. Dudley’s house was unroofed and quite badly wrecked.

John Cumings house on North Eighth street near the foundry was twisted out of shape.

In this part of the city nearly every house was more or less damaged and it is impossible at this hour to give a detailed list of the damages.

The house owned by Brooks Bros., on DeMers ave., near the depot, and occupied up stairs by R. S. S. Andrews, was bulged out and came near going over.

A house opposite the round house was leveled to the ground.  It was occupied by J. Haley, a railroad man.  Mr. Haley, wife and child had just got outside when the house fell, the little girl was struck on the head and hurt.

Mrs. Campbell’s house, near the depot was blown down, and she was carried by the storm for some distance and was caught between two buildings.  Neighbors came to her rescue and were forced to cut her clothes to extricate her from the position.  She is seriously injured.

The house of L. D. Bissell was twisted out of shape and Mrs. Bissell and one child was quite seriously injured.

Seymour, Sabin Co’s warehouse on south Third was blown over.

Casselman had a plate glass blown in and smashed to pieces.

Part of the roof is blown off the Catholic church and the building is otherwise badly wrecked.  The damage must be large, as the interior was deluged with water.

The smoke stacks of the Walker mill and McDonald’s were blown over.

The house of Mr. Tattan on Eighth street was blown over and Mrs. Tattan was seriously injured.  Her life is despaired.

There is scarcely any damage in the southern part of the city, only two chimneys going over.

The fullest information possible at this hour is given.  The damage is variously estimated at from $40,000 to $80,000.


The storm struck the University early.  The west wing was blown over.  In this part of the building the museum was situated and is a complete wreck, all the contents being buried in the ruins.  The janitor, Jos. Guyot his wife and child had a narrow escape, Mrs. Guyot and child being struck by falling bricks.  The cupola was carried away and all the chimneys.  Seventeen windows were blown in and the rain did much damage to the interior, the library and class rooms suffering most.


Everything is flat at the fair ground.  The fence and buildings are ruined.  M. Bush and W. Cameron were out there at the time, and Bush relates a thrilling experience.  Five horses were in the stables, but he cannot tell where they are now.


The old round house was blown over and six men were inside.  All were hurt, but none so seriously as Charlie Mystrom, whose life is despaired of.  He is receiving careful medical attention.  Lumber was scattered in all directions and great damage resulted.


The saddest lines to be penned are those describing the death of two persons.  While the storm was raging with greatest fury the occupants of the dwelling west of the McClellan house felt the building moving.  Mrs. Starbird rushed from the door to the McClellan house and was being followed by the others when the crash came.  Mrs. S. at once called for help.  Instantly brave men went out in the storm, but it was too late.  J. C. Magee went to the depot and got help.  Going back to the ruins the work of the rescue began.  The rumor reached Third street and soon a host of willing hands were busy cleaning away the debris.  It seemed hours.

Although it was but a short time before the victims were reached.  One by one they were removed.  The cold, silent form of little Cora Starbird was taken into the McClellan house, and was followed by Mrs. Follett whose blanched face and glassy eyes told the story of death.  Mrs. Davis was rescued and although alive was so seriously injured that she is not expected to live. 


The train from Grafton was blown from the track near Pearson station.  Some 10 to 12 passengers were badly injured, some fatally it is feared.  The injured were brought to the city by the relief train and are receiving all possible care and attention.  Edward Anderson of the Scandinavian House was among those seriously hurt.  The names of the others were not obtainable at this time.


The damage done in this city will foot up to $15,000.  Jas. McCaffrey’s saloon building adjoining the COURIER office, was completely demolished.  Jas. McCaffrey and his son, a man named Alex Gumerson, of New York Mills, and J. H. Leslie, were in the building when it went down, Gumerson was killed outright, Leslie’s arm was badly crushed and Mr. McCaffrey was caught in the window sash, a passing stranger assisted Mr. McCaffrey and his son out, when the building sank to the ground.  Part of the roof of the Courier office and the front glass were destroyed.

The Cody building, occupied by Pat. Connelly and a large family of small children, was razed to the ground.  The family escaped just as the building fell, except a 13 year old daughter who was caught in the debris and was found lying in the street, stunned and bleeding.  The little one’s left arm was broken and her right leg badly cut, and perhaps fractured.  She was carried 600 feet in the pelting storm before shelter was found.  The Brooks’ building, diagonally across from the Courier office, was completely demolished as well as the Hemmish building, a two story frame, 24×80 was scattered to the four winds.  C. Madsons store front was blown in, and much damage done internally.  The building was occupied by Chambers & Hoselton, hardware merchants, was completely knocked several feet out of plumb, and though yet standing, is liable to drop at any moment.

Alex Robinson’s blacksmith shop was flattened out like a pan cake.  Frank Church’s team was in the shop at the time, and one of them was seriously injured.

The post office was damaged, and a barn belonging to W. H. Vosberg, of Gilman, IA, was virtually lifted up, turned and dropped, driving the roof into the ground.  Many chimneys and glass in all parts of the city were destroyed.  The building just erected by Messrs. Peasley & Benhkie was carried some ten feet though uninjured.  Everywhere are evidences of the storm.  The loss is most severe.  Hail stones, large as doves eggs, fell.  In some cases the storm’s devastating breath has swept away home, business – everything but life.

Grand Forks Daily Herald
Thursday Evening, June 16, 1887
Volume 11, Number 39, Page 1


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