The original Grand Forks Weekly Plaindealer for June 17, 1887 was a special edition, which no longer exits. Portions of this edition were reprinted in the June 23, 1887 issue, from which this recreation is based. Look below the image for the article text.
A TERRIFIC STORM
Sweeps Over the City Carrying Death and Destruction in its Wake.
Four Persons Killed and Several Others Probably Fatally Injured.
Some Fifty Residences Demolished and the Occupants Homeless.
Business Houses Unroofed and Much Valuable Property is DestroyedThe Grand Forks Roller Mills Damaged to the Extent of $10,000.
New Additions to the University Demolished at a Loss Of $18,000.
Nine Buildings Laid Low and One Man Killed and Others Injured in East Grand Forks.
Total Losses Estimated at $100,000, on Which There is Little or No Insurance.
From Daily of Friday, June 17th.
The most destructive wind and rain storm that ever visited this locality, broke upon the city yesterday afternoon, coming from a northwesterly direction, and leaving death and destruction in its wake. At 3 o’clock the wind began to raise gradually, the sun and sky soon becoming so shrouded with treacherous black clouds as to render necessary the lighting of lamps in business houses and residences in every quarter of the city. The first gust of wind was accompanied by slight hail, which in a few seconds gave place to rain
THAT FELL IN TORRENTS
as though a water spout had broken over the city. At 3:10 the storm had reached its heighth, the wind blowing at the rate of about seventy miles an hour, the din and roar of the storm filling the stoutest heart with the belief that all must be lost – that it was only a question of few minutes when every structure in the city must succumb to the ruthless elements. Men at their places of business, away from their homes and families, were driven wild at the thought of a wrecked home and
DEAR ONES DEAD AND MUTILATED,
and they utterly helpless to go to their rescue. The thoughts that during these few minutes, each of which seemed an hour, took possession of the brain and found sympathetic response in the hearts of fond fathers, brothers, mothers, and sisters, all solicitous for the safety of those they loved, can never be given expression to by human tongue. The scene on the streets was
AWFUL IN THE EXTREME,
the noise occasioned by buildings going before the storm, the crash of breaking glass, the sight of huge and heavy roofs picked up bodily from the buildings and lodging in the center of the streets, teams breaking from their fastenings on the street and running wildly hither and thither to get out of the howling storm, all went to add to the horror of the moment. The storm raged for fully a half hour, the wind and rain never relaxing for a second, to lend the slightest hope or cheer to those inside the
SHAKING, QUIVERING BUILDINGS
during all that time, but the raging elements seemingly getting a new strength and impetus with each succeeding moment. A few minutes before four o’clock a slight light was noticeable, and the clouds began to break away to the northwest of the city, the rain now began to slacken and the wind to lower, and it became evident that the
WORST WAS OVER.
As soon as men could keep their feet on the streets, a general stampede took place from business houses, offices, &c., of men breathlessly hastening to their homes, none allowing themselves to pass the time of day with their neighbor till they ascertained the fate of their loved ones at home. It did not take long to size up the casualties, and the sighs of relief heard on almost every hand betokened a state of affairs vastly less deplorable than any had dared to anticipate.
THE WEIGHT OF THE STORM
seemed not to extend farther south than Kittson avenue, the damage done south of that thoroughfare being trivial, but at several points, especially in the northern and western portions of the city, the effects of the hurricane, if such it can be called, were
The first place visited by the crowd and to which aid was first called was the vacant building next to the McClellan house on International avenue. The building was a two story structure, the first floor vacant and the second occupied by the family of Mr. Starbird, cook on the steamer Alsip. In this apartment were six persons, Mrs. Starbird and her three children, Cora, a bright girl of 12, Albert, a boy of about 15, the third an infant of less than a year, and Mrs. Follet, whose husband is engineer on a steamer at Fargo, with her mother, Mrs. Davis, who was on a visit from her home in Iowa.
TWO INSTANTLY KILLED
The boy made his escape through the rear door before the building collapsed, and Mrs. Starbird, who with her infant in her arms was about fleeing the building, was picked up by the wind and carried into the middle of the street, where she was rescued by a gentleman stopping at the McClellan. Cora Starbird was instantly killed, by being struck on the temple by a falling timber. Mrs. Follet also meeting her death in the ruins and her mother, Mrs. Davis, receiving injuries from which her death is momentarily expected.
SAVED BY A PIT.
In the Manitoba repair shops ten men were at work when the storm broke. The building was formerly used as a round house, and under the floor was a pit where the wipers used to stand in cleaning the lower parts of the engines. Peter Stensit, the boss, at once lowered himself into the hole, and was followed by Edward Larson and Frank McGuire. The other men had not time to get to the opening in the floor before the building fell, and all were caught in the ruins and were more or less injured, one of them, Charles Meinstrum, having his head and side of his face so badly smashed in that
HE CANNOT RECOVER
Several of the others had close calls for their lives, but escaped without serious injury. The building was totally wrecked, not a timber being left standing.
The Manitoba railroad eating house, adjoining the passenger depot, was totally destroyed, the escape of several persons from the structure as it was falling being
Two of the inmates, however, received painful though not fatal injuries. Jerry Sullivan was struck in the side by a flying board and will be laid up for a time, and Russ Hill, whose spine was severely injured by some of the timbers falling on him after he had been knocked down by a blow upon the head with a board that the wind was carrying before it.
During the progress of the storm Mrs. Boardman, of the Griggs house, left her room to search for her daughter who was on another floor of the building. Scarcely had she left the apartment when it was crushed in by a falling chimney and completely wrecked. It was a narrow escape.
The office of Judge DeVoy was badly demoralized, the front being blown in and books and papers of a legal nature were strewn all over.
That little bridge on Third street near the residence of Mr. Caswell was ripped to pieces, and parts of it were found on and near the roller mill.
The smoke stack of the electric light factory was leveled to the ground and fell on the roof, making a good sized hole in it.
The smoke stack of Walker’s big mill was blown down and in its descent broke off a number of branches from the neighboring trees. Lumber was also promiscuously distributed around the neighborhood.
John Lynch’s ice house was unroofed and other damage done to the building.
A little shack which stood a little north of Capt. Griggs’ residence, was blown to pieces and its furniture and bedding distributed all around over about five hundred feet.
Capt. Griggs’ residence sustained some injury, the chimneys being blown down and the iron railing on the top being blown off.
The Catholic church was moved from its foundation and the chimney and part of the walls on all sides blown down, the bricks strewn all through the parsonage yard.
An uncompleted residence on Fourth street, between Broadway and International avenue, was completely demolished, as was another unfurnished house on Fourth, one block south of the above house.
In the north end of town outhouses and barns were blown into the middle of the streets and strewn to pieces over considerable ground.
Mr. Bristol’s house on Fourth street, near John Vandersluis’s store, was moved from its foundation about one half foot.
The shed of Mr. Edmunds, in which he kept his buggies, was blown down and the buggies were somewhat damaged.
Walker’s lumberyard looked as though men had been employed to throw the lumber from the piles and put it in artistic shapes, every board having been moved or disturbed.
The shed on the north side of the Shurmeir wagon house was completely demolished, and pieces were blown through the air like paper.
The Episcopal church and parsonage suffered the loss of chimneys and the trees in front were twisted around in all shapes.
The smokestack on the North Dakota Roller mill, after swaying around in all directions, was forced through the roof, and not much damage other than this was done.
The spire of the Presbyterian church was bent out of shape, but no other damage.
The barn belonging to L. B. Richardson was swayed around and left in a slanting position at about forty five degrees toward the river.
In the vicinity of the brewery several trees were downed and the reporter found part of a sign belonging to John L. Cole, in the branches of a tree which was blown down.
The base ball park was completely demoralized as far as the buildings and fences are concerned. The fence on all sides was nearly completely blown down, and the grand stand and ticket office occupied a large part of the street.
The Belmont school building escaped with the loss of a few panes of glass broken.
Near the depot a farmer was met who said he had seen a number of buildings that had been blown down, among which were two on the farm of Mr. McLaughlin, about a mile and a half west of town.
On the west side of the railroad track, near the depot, the storm seemed to have been at its heighth, as buildings of all descriptions and of every nature were moved from their foundations, and some blown to atoms.
On Eighth street, west of Broadway, the houses were all damaged to some lesser or greater extent. W. L. Dudley’s brick veneered house was wrecked completely, the roof and second story being blown down. The chimney was taken off in one solid piece and safely landed about 300 feet away from the house and parts of the sidewalk from the opposite side of the street were landed in the second story of the house. Mr. Dudley’s family luckily escaped injury, with the exception of his little daughter, who received a severe cut of her wrist.
Mr. Smith’s house was caught by the storm and moved from its foundation, but no injuries were sustained by the occupants.
The residence of Mr. Tattan, on Eighth street was blown down and some very serious injuries were received by Mrs. Tattan, which are feared may prove fatal. His two children were also injured.
Mrs. Campbell’s house was laid low and the force of the storm was so great that the lady was picked up and forced against another building. It is feared she received fatal injuries.
Mrs. Milne’s house was blown down and Mrs. Nelson, who was at the time in the house, was seriously injured, but thought not fatally.
John Cummings house was partially demolished, but no one hurt.
J. Haley’s house, opposite the depot, was forced to the ground. Luckily Mr. Haley had just arrived and having some fears of the building, had just got himself, wife, and child out before it fell, and no injuries were sustained by them.
L.D. Bissell’s residence was badly twisted around and partially blown down, and Mrs. Bissell and child received severe injuries.
The Baptist church was slightly disfigured, but no serious damage was done.
The barn of Sam Johnson, opposite the depot, was leveled and a horse seriously injured.
Krueger’s pop factory was unroofed and part of the roof carried nearly half a block.
On Seventh street, a very peculiar freak of the storm was that on about fifteen houses parts of the shingling was blown out in pieces about one foot square and no other noticeable damage.
The Pioneer club building was partially unroofed and several panes of glass were broken.
S. Furre’s photograph gallery was badly wrecked in front, but no damage done on the inside.
H.T. Forgham’s residence on Eighth street was unroofed and the roof carried to Selkirk avenue, where it was smashed to splinters, some being carried to R.B. Griffith’s residence.
Mr. Steuzith’s new house was also moved about eight feet into the road.
The residence of H.C. Rose on the corner of Seventh and International, was moved six or seven feet from its foundation and the kitchen part was entirely demolished.
John L. Cole’s kitchen was moved from its foundation, but no other damage done.
Mrs. Listoe’s residence on Seventh street was moved three or four feet from its foundation, and received a general shaking up. No one injured.
The addition to the University of North Dakota, in which were the museum, chapel, dining, and carving rooms were blown down and the main building had all the chimneys and seventeen windows and pediment in front destroyed.
The PLAINDEALER office was unroofed, the windows blown in and much valuable stock destroyed by the flood of water that found its way through the open roof.
The Ingalls house was also unroofed in part and sustained other damages.
The row of wooden buildings opposite the PLAINDEALER office were damaged more or less, especially in the roofs.
The Second National bank building was unroofed, many window lights broken, and the building flooded with water.
The farm buildings of S.W. McLaughlin, one-half mile from the city, were completely wrecked.
A woman in a house corner Fourth street and Sheyenne avenue had a narrow escape. Seeing that the building was going, she lay down between two trunks and the timbers and roof fell, the trunks furnishing a support and saving her life.
The Cadet rink was razed to the ground.
Brooks Bros. office building was shifted about a foot, and the building occupied by the firm as a storehouse was forced forward about three feet.
The roof was blown off the Hunt, Holt, & Garner machinery building, and the second story is a total wreck.
The fences and sheds at the fairgrounds were blown down and whisked about in every direction. The Short Horn stock of Mr. Anderson escaped without injury, although the sheds in which they were kept were lifted bodily and torn to pieces.
The Grand Forks roller mill probably sustained a greater loss than any other one institution. The entire building was blown out of plumb, the roof lifted from the floor house and 3,000 sacks of flour destroyed by water. The silks are all covered with dough and the mill generally is in a condition of the utmost demoralization, which it will take weeks to repair. The estimated loss, we are informed by Manager Doheny, is $10,000.
The family of John Andrus exhibit evidences of having been found in the path of the storm. His 12-year-old son has his thigh broken; Clinton, another son, 10 years old, has an arm broken; Tody, a little daughter, was badly cut about the face; Mrs. Andrus is seriously injured; and Johnny Gray, an 8-year-old lad who was in the same building, sustained some ugly cuts and bruises about the forehead.
The barns and outbuildings connected with the Ursuline academy were torn asunder and scattered in every direction, the academy proper suffering only the loss of its chimneys.
The sidewalk in the vicinity of the Catholic church was torn up and planks hurled violently against some of the houses, breaking windows and causing great rends in the woodwork of the buildings.
The granary, stables and sheds on the McKelvy place were reduced to ruins.
The skylight in the Syndicate block was blown in and destroyed. Clara Robinson narrowly escaped death by the falling sash and glass.
The band boys lost all their instruments in the rink wreck.
In Shantytown the damage to the breeds will round up very large. Nearly every shanty has some damage done it, some by being completely blown down and the contents distributed over many different lots and some were seen floating down the river. Large trees on the banks of the river were completely blown off and splintered to pieces suitable for match wood.
PASSENGER TRAIN WRECKED.
The rear coach, smoking car and caboose of the south bound train on the Neche division of the Manitoba road were blown from the track at Pierson, five miles north of here, the passenger coach turning a complete somersault. There were fifteen passengers in the coach, six of whom were women, and four in the smoker. A special was at once sent to the scene. Dr. Van Cleve was taken along, who found that none of them were necessarily fatally injured, but several sustained serious injuries. Among them were Ed Anderson, of this city, shoulder broken and injured internally; Mr. Kennedy, of Minto, two ribs broken and ear nearly torn off; Julius Urhahl, of Reynolds, shoulder and head severely bruised; Donald McKenzie, Morden, Manitoba, injured internally; Mrs. O’Grady, St. Thomas, Dakota, injured about head and body; Mrs. Bobby, slightly bruised about face and head. All the injured were brought here and are receiving every possible attention.
The Demers avenue bridge was picked up and bodily blown away from the supports at either end.
The pontoon bridge on Minnesota avenue was also blown away, shutting off travel to Minnesota.
The high bridge over the Red River is reported to be badly demoralized, the center being blown away from the end supports and it being generally rendered unsafe.
EAST GRAND FORKS
On the east side of the river the storm did much damage.
The west side of Dwyer Bros. barn was blown in.
Peaslee & Bernke’s carpenter shop and a machine shed were blown down.
The Acme hotel barn was demolished.
The west side of elevator B. was blown in.
C. Madson’s grocery store front was forced into the building.
Jim McCaffrey’s saloon was blown down, and W. C. Nash’s vacant store building suffered the same fate.
J. W. Homes’ lumber yard office was strewn over the city in job lots.
The brewery was unroofed and an unknown
in the wreck of the North Star saloon. His head was crushed in and death was instantaneous.
M.A. Robinson’s blacksmith shop was carried before the wind and the city feed mill badly wrecked.
The 12-year-old daughter of Pat Conkey had an arm broken by a flying missile.
The drug store front was blown in, telegraph and telephone poles blown down and the young city thrown into a general state of demoralization.
Fred Hall, residing about four and one-half miles north of East Grand Forks was seen last evening, and says that the storm at his place was terrific. School houses, barns and residences were blown down.
The school house in the Sullivan district, Ben Ingalls teacher, was blown completely to pieces while the teacher and pupils were inside, but by a miracle all escaped uninjured.
Jim Sullivan’s barn was completely destroyed and the timber fell on the horses, but they were rescued without serious damage.
At Cummings’ farm considerable damage was also done. A new barn, which was just receiving the finishing touches on the inside, was completely paralyzed, also his granary.
On Mr. Horkins’ place much damage was done, his barn being blown away.
The buildings on Messrs. Hackney and Nash’s places were blown flat and on Mr. Nash’s place the house was picked up bodily and carried out in the field about 100 feet distant.
On Frank Church’s place part of his house was blown away and the granary was picked up and carried about 100 feet.
At Tim Sullivan’s place much damage was done, the machine shed being blown away and barns wrecked.
The great storm has come and gone, and with a few minor incidents the full and complete list of casualties and other facts connected with it were given in Friday morning’s PLAINDEALER, leaving little or nothing for us to add to what has already been said. The losses can only be estimated, and the estimate of individuals as a general thing in cases of this kind are magnified many times. Individual losses can only be given, with any degree of correctness, from the outlay incurred in cleaning away the debris and the erection of structures equal to those destroyed. The most careful estimates made by the most conservative business men and mechanics in the city, place the losses, including the fair grounds, roller mill damages, university and all, at $100, 000, while on the other hand let a man go to an individual who had a chimney blown down, an outhouse blown over, or a few panes of glass blown in, and inquire of that individual his loss, the figures will in almost every case be put up to $100 or more, whereas any reliable mechanic would gladly put on the repair for from one to ten dollars. How many men are there in the city who now own their own homes, that could ever have built the same if a single chimney cost them $100 to $300, or if an onery looking outhouse cost $150 to $200, or if each pane of glass in their windows cost in proportion? No matter how slight one’s loss is he will put it to you at at least seventy-five dollars, when in many cases, with the aid of a chisel or table knife, seventy-five cents will repair the damages. It is safe to state that the estimate of actual losses given above would fully, if not more than cover the actual losses. Excepting the business houses and the damage to the University and roller mill, the structures destroyed were for the most part of the cheapest class. The work of straightening up partly wrecked buildings and clearing away the debris where other were totally destroyed, was begun yesterday by many of those who were among the unfortunate. Talks had by a PLAINDEALER reporter, with insurance men, place the amount of risks carried as against the losses incurred at about 35 per cent, thus reducing the actual losses to $65,000, and quite likely less.
AT THE HOSPITAL
A PLAINDEALER reporter accompanied Keeper King to the county hospital last evening for the purpose of hearing the experience of several there under treatment for injuries received on the wrecked train at Pierson. The first we encountered was M. Mattson, a young Norsk, who took the train at Attwater, Minn., for Devils Lake, at which latter place he expected to go to work. Mattson presented a sorry spectacle, his face being cut up badly, a deep gash of an inch in length in one side of his nose, and his spine badly injured by being struck in the small of the back by a falling seat as the car turned over. He says the passenger car in which he was turned two complete somersaults. In the next room to Mattson was the family of Emanuel Gusta, who were also in the giddy coach. They had arrived in New York only a few days ago from Breslau, Prussia, and were bound for Menno, on the Manitoba western extension, where Mr. Gusta has an uncle in good circumstances, and where the new arrivals expected to make their future home. The family consists of husband, wife, and two little children, both boys. Gusta was found to be a man of more than ordinary intelligence, and through our interpreter, Mrs. King, he told in a straightforward, unhesitating manner the story of his and his little family’s fearful experience. On arriving at New York, the husband had quite a considerable amount of money, but he fell into the hands of sharpers, who sold him some experience at a high figure, and when he got away from them he found himself with barely funds enough to take himself and family to their destination. Nothing daunted, however, they were speeding along toward their future home when the wreck overtook them and although thankful that his wife and little ones were able to emerge alive from the wrecked coach, yet the injuries received by Mrs. Gusta and their youngest child, Franz Joseph, a bright little lad of sixteen months, must cause him a set-back from which he cannot readily recover. Mrs. Gusta is badly injured in the right side and back, but not seriously, while the little boy, Franz Joseph, had his left leg badly broken at the thigh. When brought to the city from the wreck Wednesday night the strangers found themselves among strangers in a strange country, when Mrs. Gus Hines, whose charitable and Christian act should commend her to the Christian people of the city, threw open her doors and bade the strangers welcome to her hospitality. Dr. Irwin was called, who set the little sufferer’s leg and prescribed for the injuries, received by the mother, and after a good night’s rest and a sumptuous breakfast they were removed to the county hospital, where they are now receiving good medical treatment and the kindest attention.
SHE WILL RECOVER.
Mrs. Davis, one of the victims of the wreck near the McClellan house, whose recovery was reported last night as impossible, is in a fair way for speedy recovery from her injuries. When taken from the ruins of the house she presented an appearance that indicated death near at hand, but a little later she began to rally, and her physician, Dr. Irwin, now pronounces her out of danger, thus reducing the death list as given by one.